Creation and Science Lesson for Middle School Biology
This is the 10th lesson in a series of 32 hands-on Christian lessons covering middle school biology. This lesson focuses on Creation Science, Evolution, and Worldviews. I used this plan while teaching a 55 minute middle school biology class. Each lesson plan includes homework assignments and a variety of hands-on activities to make each lesson engaging & memorable. Use these fun lessons with your classroom, homeschool, after-school program, or co-op!
These lessons are written for a class that meets once a week. If your class meets 5 days a week, simply do this lesson one day a week and use the homework assignments (at the bottom of the page) for the work for the other days of the week.
1. Go over the homework questions from the book. (I give out tickets for students who volunteer to answer the questions.) Have students each quickly share about the scientist they researched. (Pass out a ticket to each student who shares.
2. [Before class lay a watch on the ground.] Compare a watch with the design in nature as evidence of God's existence.
- Ask one of the students to pick up the watch on the ground.
- Ask the class: Where did it come from? How you do think it got there? Do you think someone designed this watch or do you think some of the stuff fell off my table and poof, the watch appeared? How do you know?
- In 1802 William Paley said that if someone picked up a watch, they'd know immediately it was designed. Why? [It has purpose & order.]
- Have a student read the paragraph on pp. 133-134 from A Beka Science Order & Design about how William Paley compared a watch with the design in nature as evidence of God's existence. The human eye & DNA show evidence of our amazing Creator.
- [Pull out a second watch that is by the same brand but not the same watch.] Are these the same watch? (No) How are they different? How are they similar?Why do you think they are similar? (Same type; same designer)
- George Cuvier studied comparative anatomy. He noticed the similarities and differences between living organisms and discovered homology. Who knows what homology means? (They have a similar design). That would either mean that all living organisms either have a common Designer (the position held by Creationists) or a common ancestor (the position held by evolutionists).
You will need:
- 2 watches that are similar but not the same in design, preferably ones made by the same company
Genesis 1 & Creation
3. Quickly discuss Creation in Genesis 1.
- If you hold to a Creation view, who do we believe created the world? (God)
- Everyone quote Genesis 1:1 together.
- When it says that "God created," the Hebrew verb used for "create" (bara) is only used for God creating. It's never used to when talking about people creating something. In Latin it's described as "ex nihilo", which means "out of nothing." God created the world out of nothing.
- Something that I thought was neat about the pattern of creation is how God separated "homes" the first 3 days and then adorned/filled those places the next 3 days.
- Ask the students what God created each day & create the above chart on the board for them to copy in their notebooks.
- Doesn't there sure seem to be order & purpose to all of that?
Creation vs. Evolution Views on Creation
4. Quickly compare creation from the views of the Biblical account of Creation and of Evolution.
- Go through the chart I have posted in the above picture, filling in the boxes as we discuss each line.
- I didn't fill in the boxes ahead of time. With each line, I asked the students how each worldview answers the questions about the creation of each of the universe, earth, plants & animals, etc.
- Both views require faith, either a faith in God & His Word or faith in a materialistic explanation for life.
5. Pass out Post-it notes, each with one of the below vocabulary words or situations.
- Each student or pairs of students should look up the word in the book and define it.
- If they got a situation, they should write a few notes on why it doesn't show evolution.
- After 3 minutes, they will each share the information they found. As each student shares, write the word on the board and explain a bit more for clarification if needed.
You will need:
- a Post-it sticky note for each student. Each note should have one of the following words or situations on it: specified complexity (p. 136), mutations (p. 136), natural selection (p. 137), kind (p. 137), specification (p. 137), Macroevolution (pp. 137-138), Rock pocket mouse (p. 139), DDT-resistant insects (p.139), Antibiotic-resistant bacteria (p. 140), Mysterious Moths (p.140) *The page numbers refer to the pages in our class textbook, A Beka's Science Order & Design.
Charles Darwin & His Evolutionary Worldview
6. Introduce Charles Darwin, his beliefs, and his interpretations.
- Specification & natural selection are observed in nature. Remember that involve the loss or redistribution of existing info that God placed in the DNA of the various kinds of plants and animals. They don't generate any new information that wasn't already there from God's design.
- Specification & natural selection were observed by Charles Darwin when he took his famous voyage in the HMS Beagle from 1831-1836. While on the voyage, he read books from men who were moving away from the idea that God created the world and that the Bible is true. While on his journey, he saw amazing testaments to God's creativity and might works. Instead of praising God, he sought other interpretations, which would later lay the foundations for Macro-evolution.
- Flip through the pictures from What Darwin Saw: The Journey That Changed the World by Rosalyn Schanzer while summarizing his adventures and observations while on the HMS Beagle. As you summarize, point out some of the times when he makes assumptions from his worldview that contradict a Christian worldview.
- Despite what Darwin is well-known for, he did believe in God, though not in Jesus or the Bible. He did really struggle with how complex many of the designs of nature are and how they do seem to point to a Designer, but he'd then ultimately conclude that everything evolved by chance.
You will need:
- the book What Darwin Saw: The Journey That Changed the World by Rosalyn Schanzer
We read through a number of children's picture books on Charles Darwin. This was our favorite. The illustrations are beautiful and capture the attention of both younger and older children (even teens). I love that the text actually comes from Darwin's journals and letters. This book does mention "millions of years" and includes evolutionary ideas.
Mystery Item Identification & Worldviews
7. Mystery item identification: In order to demonstrate the importance of worldviews when drawing conclusions about the world around us, have the students attempt to identify an item based on what they can observe.
- Before class I smashed an old cassette tape with a small sledge hammer. I then took less than half of the smashed pieces. I separated the pieces into a small pile so that each table would have some.
- Tell the class that I want them to figure out what these items were from. They are smaller pieces from a bigger object.
- What did this look like before it was destroyed? It was a piece from something. What do you think it was from?
- How old was this? What year was it made?
- Where did this come from originally? Where was it made? Was it made in China? In Thailand? At my house?
- How was the object used? Was it a rope I used to tie up bales of hay? Was it a cup that I used to plant plants in?
- What color was the original object?
- How was the object destroyed?
- Draw what it was. Have the students draw a picture of what they think the original item looked like. [Most of my students drew a car.]
- Reveal to them the true answers to all these questions.
- If you used a cassette tape (or a VHS tape) as your mystery item and the students ask, "What's that?", it will be a great opportunity to discuss how scientists sometimes have to piece together parts of an animal that they've never seen & is now extinct.
- Explain: Scientists often try to determine the answers to questions about the past using just a tiny piece of evidence from the present. For example, they may take a tooth and some bones and come up with their idea of how an animal or person looked and what it was like. But they cannot know for sure what the creature or person looked like, how it behaved, or how or where it lived. The bones could have been transported by a flood from their original location to the location where they were found, for example. They cannot determine skin color, or even how old the bones are without making lots of assumptions. They also cannot determine exactly how the creature died. Perhaps it was already dead before it was buried. Perhaps it died in a flood. Perhaps another animal killed it. The worldview a scientist has chosen will influence his/her interpretation of the evidence. We can only know the truth if there was an eyewitness. The Bible records an eyewitness account of what happened in the beginning. God created all things and tells us about it in His Word!
You will need:
- pieces of a multi-colored mystery item that has been seriously destroyed: Find an object you don't mind destroying (a cassette tape; a cup; a piece of hardware; etc. The more obscure or unusual the object, the better). Break (or tear) the object into pieces in a creative way (cut it with a saw; crush it with pliers; drop it out a window; drive the car over it). Select less than half of the pieces of the broken object to show to the students. Be certain there is no way the students could know what the original object looked like.
(This object lesson came from https://answersingenesis.org/dinosaurs/when-did-dinosaurs-live/the-great-dinosaur-mystery-solved-object-lesson-1/ .)
Worldview & Search for the Missing Link
8. Show students a picture of the bones found of Lucy in Ethiopia and a recreated museum model.
- In order to try to prove that Evolution is true, scientists continue to search for missing links or transitional fossils which are fossils that show one kind of life-form transforming into another kind life-form.
- Lucy, the "ape-man," was one attempt. They found these fossils and insisted they came from an ape that was starting to become like a man by walking upright and having human-like eyes.
- Look at how few bones were found. Now look at the model they created from those bones. That certainly took lots of creativity, didn't it? Does it remind you of try to figure out what my smashed cassette tape had originally looked like?
- Actually lots of skeletons that are found (even the dinosaur ones) are quite incomplete and require plenty of creativity in determining what the original creature looked like.
- Scientists have studied the fossils a bit more and realized the hip bone actually wouldn't have allowed Lucy to walk upright like a man. Lucy is a set of bones from an ape. All the "ape-man" fossils that have been found have either ultimately been shown to be fully ape or fully human. The transitional fossils to prove Evolution still haven't been found. The missing links are still missing.
You will need:
- a picture of the bones found of Lucy in Ethiopia and a recreated museum model (I used the photos found in the Apologia book Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology by Jeannie K. Fulbright.)
9. So why is all of this happening? The Bible tells us!
- Hand out copies of Romans 1 and have students take turns, each reading a verse from Romans 1:15-25.
- Through creation, every single person can plainly see that God exists, that He's divine & has eternal power. People are without excuse, but some people choose to suppress the truth. Instead of worshiping God, they worship what He's created. Thankfully we know the gospel, which brings us salvation as we will live by faith in God and His Word.
You will need:
- a copy of Romans 1:15-25 for each student
Looking for More?
Are you looking for more resources to dig further into a Christian worldview of science? These are my favorite options for middle school aged children:
- At home my children have been reading through It Couldn't Just Happen: Knowing the Truth About God's Awesome Creation by Lawrence O. Richards. Each chapter goes through an aspects of creation and discusses how amazing the design is that it couldn't have happened by random chance. The more recent edition (shown above) is full of photographs that really capture your eye. We have been learning quite a bit through reading this as it is so interesting!
- The Jonathan Park audio adventure series is one of the favorite science resources for my entire family. They have done a wonderful job sharing creation science in a fun, memorable manner as you follow a couple families & their friends on numerous adventures. Volume VI: The Journey Never Taken is particularly pertinent to this section on Creation Science & Evolution as the adventure in the CD is about a scavenger hunt that follows the path of science away from Christian views and where the flaws are in those theories. This particular audio CD has had 3 different covers, so don't get concerned if the one you get has a different illustration on the front.
Page numbers refer to the pages in A Beka's Science: Order & Design.
- Friday: Science: Founded on Faith: Read pp. 157-163 (only glancing over the timeline & creation scientist names) & answer 5 questions of your choice on p. 163.
- Monday: Evolution: A Retreat from Science: Read pp. 163-172 & answer 5 questions of your choice on p. 172.
- Tuesday: Pioneers in Classification: Read pp. 174-178 & answer 3 questions of your choice on p. 178.
- Wednesday: Read Seeing is Believing: The Design of the Human Eye. Underline or highlight what you think are the 5 most interesting or important ideas from the article.
- Extra Credit: Select a creation scientist from p. 159 & find out a bit more about him. Either write a short paper (less than a page) or make a poster (on a sheet of computer paper) that shares about his life, ideas, and work. Include at least one quote for him that includes a reference to God or the Bible.
Looking for all my lessons?
- First Day of Class & Plant Identifications
- Parts of a Flower
- Amazing Plants (Horticulturist Guest Speaker)
- Seeds and Flower Families
- Photosynthesis and Plant Parts
- Cardiovascular, Respiratory, & Digestive Systems
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- Endocrine & Nervous Systems and Healthy Living
- Human Baby Fetal Development (Pregnancy Care Center Guest Speaker)
- Creation and Science
- Creation, Evolution, & the Eyes of Faith
- Classifying Plants & Animals
- Amazing Mammals
- Mammal Dissection
- Semester Review & Winter Party
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- Bird Features
- Bird Watching (Birding Guide Guest Speaker)
- Fish Anatomy and Dissection
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- Arthropods (Crayfish & Grasshopper) Anatomy and Dissections
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- Protozoa and Bacteria
- Semester Review & End of Year Party
- My Middle School American History Lessons
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