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Table 5 Conceptual checklist for NS understanding and sample open-ended responses

From: Teaching natural selection in early elementary classrooms: can a storybook intervention reduce teleological misunderstandings?

Level and checklistPartial open-ended responses following the open-ended prompts
Level 1: No isolated facts
Does not meet criteria for isolated facts
Not applicable
Level 2: Isolated facts but no NS understanding
Meets criteria for isolated facts, but one or more of the following is present:
(a) A misconception,
(b) No mention of differential survival,
(c) Inaccurate mention of differential survival or reproduction
Example of a misconception:
The river had the fish swimming on the top of the water so orpeds did not need long arms. 100 years later the sun was always near the river, so the fish were swimming at the bottom. So, the animals grew bigger arms so they can get the food.
Example of inaccurate mention of differential survival:
I think [the long-armed orpeds] didn’t get that much food. Because they didn’t have that much sunlight
Level 3: Foundation for NS understanding
All of the following are present:
(a) Meets criteria for isolated facts,
(b) No misconception,
(c) Accurate mention of differential survival
Example of correct mention of differential survival, but no mention of differential reproduction:
A long time ago orpeds had short arms. They had short arms because it was not too hot so the fish swam on top so the animal could get them. Then 100 years later it was always sunny where the orpeds lived so the fish swam deep in the water. So all the orpeds with short arms could not get the fish. So only the orped with the long arms could live so the orpeds with short arms did not survive.
Level 4: NS Understanding in one generation
All of the following are present:
(a) Meets criteria for isolated facts,
(b) No misconception,
(c) Accurate mention of differential survival,
(d) Accurate mention of differential reproduction in one generation
Example of correct mention of differential survival and differential reproduction in one generation:
When the weather changed the minnows swimmed to the bottom of the water. Then many [orpeds] could not reach the bottom and the ones that have long arms can reach the bottom. The orpeds [that] now had long arms were healthy and had many babies and the short armed orpeds that lived had 1 baby. The orpeds with shorter arms died but some lived and had 1 baby. The orpeds with longer arms lived and had many babies. They got lots of food because they have long arms.
Level 5: NS understanding for multiple generations
All of the following are present:
(a) Meets criteria for isolated facts,
(b) No misconception,
(c) Accurate mention of differential survival,
(d) Accurate mention of differential reproduction in multiple generations
Example of correct mention of differential survival and differential reproduction in multiple generations:
Orpeds have mostly shorter arms many hundreds of years ago because the temperature change made the minnows go farther underwater so the orpeds with short arms had one baby and died but the orpeds with longer arms had more babies and died. The baby orpeds with longer arms had some babies and died. The process went on. Orpeds evolved. Nowadays more orpeds have longer arms than shorter arms!
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