Work samples


Year 10


The theory of evolution by natural selection

Summary of task

Students were asked to respond to questions about the principles and development of the theory of evolution.

Students had previously completed a unit of work in which early theories of evolution were discussed, as well as the theory of evolution by natural selection according to Charles Darwin and modern ideas about evolution. In this task, students worked individually to demonstrate their understanding of the theory, its development over time and its evidence base. They investigated how improvements in technology have influenced the development of the theory and researched the contribution of a scientist of their choice to the development of the theory.

Students completed a task booklet in response to selected questions. They were required to include a list of sources used in their research.

Achievement standard

By the end of Year 10, students analyse how the periodic table organises elements and use it to make predictions about the properties of elements. They explain how chemical reactions are used to produce particular products and how different factors influence the rate of reactions. They explain the concept of energy conservation and represent energy transfer and transformation within systems. They apply relationships between force, mass and acceleration to predict changes in the motion of objects. Students describe and analyse interactions and cycles within and between Earth’s spheres. They evaluate the evidence for scientific theories that explain the origin of the universe and the diversity of life on Earth. They explain the processes that underpin heredity and evolution. Students analyse how the models and theories they use have developed over time and discuss the factors that prompted their review.

Students develop questions and hypotheses and independently design and improve appropriate methods of investigation, including field work and laboratory experimentation. They explain how they have considered reliability, safety, fairness and ethical actions in their methods and identify where digital technologies can be used to enhance the quality of data. When analysing data, selecting evidence and developing and justifying conclusions, they identify alternative explanations for findings and explain any sources of uncertainty. Students evaluate the validity and reliability of claims made in secondary sources with reference to currently held scientific views, the quality of the methodology and the evidence cited. They construct evidence-based arguments and select appropriate representations and text types to communicate science ideas for specific purposes.

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