Is it possible to teach biology without mentioning evolution? The answer is yes, but it is not possible for students to understand biology without the evolutionary context on which the meaning and intellectual value of biological concepts depend. Meaningful learning of evolution requires (1) that the students incorporate new knowledge into a cognitive structure linked with higher-order concepts; (2) a well-organized knowledge structure; and (3) a positive emotional attachment and identification (affective commitment) to the subject by the learner. Concept maps are useful tools in meaningful learning. We present a concept map that organizes concepts of history of life and the processes that generate it, and the hierarchical relationships among them. Biological evolution is a compelling account of life on Earth and of human origins. It constitutes a unifying explanatory framework that can generate a powerful affective commitment to the subject. The concept map provided here is tied to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

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