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Ecosystems, Natural Selection and Evolution


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology


95 minutes

Regional Focus

Global, Polar Regions


Google Docs, Google Slides


This lesson plan is licensed under Creative Commons.

Creative Commons License

Allele Frequency and Climate Change

Created By Teacher:
Last Updated:
Feb 24, 2024
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In this lesson, students explore the impact of environmental changes on an organism's allele frequency.

Step 1 - Inquire: Students watch a video on peppered moths and identify vocabulary related to allele frequency.

Step 2 - Investigate: Students play a game to understand allele frequency changes that can occur in species impacted by changing environments.

Step 3 - Inspire: Students explore how climate change is impacting native Arctic communities and complete a project describing how climate change is impacting animals in the Arctic.

Accompanying Teaching Materials
Teaching Tips


  • This lesson could be used in an environmental science or biology class.

  • This lesson could be used to supplement a variety of curricular topics such as genetics, population dynamics, or climate change.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have some prior knowledge of genetics.

  • To prepare in advance for the game in the Investigate section: 

    • Print and cut out the organisms cards.

    • Be sure to have on hand one large white sheet of paper or tarp and one large black sheet of paper or tarp.


  • Teacher can make any of the following adjustments to the game in the Investigate section:

    • Use the third slide of the Game Cards to add organisms and allele frequencies

    • Assign different students to be the predator for each round

    • Add additional camouflage to the sheet such as leaves or other decoy organisms

    • Add additional student predators to the activity by having the predator have offspring

  • Higher-level students can investigate further by researching the albedo effect and how albedo is changing as a result of ice melt.

  • Students can explore climate justice and the impact of climate change on people living in the Arctic through this lesson from ACE and this lesson from CLEAN.

  • Students can read this article from Arctic Today in small groups or in a large group or in place of the video.
Scientist Notes

In this lesson, students get to learn about the genetic diversity of species in the Arctic ecosystem and how climate change has upended the region. Additionally, students get to learn about how to compute allele frequencies and percentages and provide explanations on why certain species are less suitable to survive in their habitats taking into account the impact of climate change. This lesson also builds students' capacity to advocate for protecting sensitive ecological hotspots in the Arctic. This lesson has been thoroughly reviewed and is recommended for teaching.


This resource addresses the listed standards. To fully meet standards, search for more related resources.

Supporting Standards

  • Science
    • LS3: Heredity: Inheritance and Variation of Traits
      • HS-LS3-2. Make and defend a claim based on evidence that inheritable genetic variations may result from (1) new genetic combinations through meiosis, (2) viable errors occurring during replication, and/or (3) mutations caused by environmental factors.
      • HS-LS3-3. Apply concepts of statistics and probability to explain the variation and distribution of expressed traits in a population.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
      • HS-LS4-3. Apply concepts of statistics and probability to support explanations that organisms with an advantageous heritable trait tend to increase in proportion to organisms lacking this trait.
      • HS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.
      • HS-LS4-5. Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.

Note On Standards:

This lesson is aligned to SubjectToClimate standards. Review the aligned standards directly in the lesson plan document and teacher slideshow.

Discover more on SubjectToClimate.
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