HS-LS4-2: Four Factors of Natural Selection

Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment. (Cause and Effect)

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using evidence to explain the influence each of the four factors has on number of organisms, behaviors, morphology, or physiology in terms of ability to compete for limited resources and subsequent survival of individuals and adaptation of species. Examples of evidence could include mathematical models such as simple distribution graphs and proportional reasoning.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include other mechanisms of evolution, such as genetic drift, gene flow through migration, and co-evolution.


The following assessments were created by science teachers hoping to better understand the NGSS. In most cases teachers went from standard to assessment in around an hour.  These are drafts and should be used accordingly. Feel free to improve these assessments or contribute to the collection. Learn more about assessment design here.



Anchor Charts



Biological evolution
Natural selection
Four factors
 1) Reproduction
 2) Genetic variation
 3) Selection
 4) Variation in fitness
Limited resources
Cause and Effect

Learning Plans

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