Teaching Primary Biology: Evolution and Inheritance

Develop sound subject knowledge of primary biology and learn how to identify and overcome pupils’ misconceptions around evolution.

Teaching Primary Biology: Evolution and Inheritance
  • Duration2 weeks
  • Weekly study3 hours
  • 100% onlineTry this course for free
  • Extra BenefitsFrom $59Find out more

Learn how to teach evolution and inheritance to primary school pupils

When teaching science in primary school, subject knowledge is essential to help students overcome any misconceptions they may have around biology and evolution.

Through this course, you’ll deep dive into the topic of evolution and inheritance as part of the primary school biology and science national curriculum.

Understand the value of sound subject knowledge when teaching primary school science

Most primary school teachers don’t have a science background and aren’t science experts.

This course will develop your subject knowledge teaching the evolution and inheritance elements of the biology curriculum.

Support your key stage 2 pupils with effective teaching strategies

Key stage 2 pupils (aged 7-11) may have various misconceptions around the subject of biology and especially evolution and inheritance.

These can sometimes be hard to identify, explain and overcome.

You’ll learn how to help pupils who are struggling and ensure they fully understand the information and concepts included in the evolution and inheritance element of the English national curriculum.

Discover fun and practical activities for teaching evolution in school

Identifying and utilising the right teaching strategies is key for primary school teachers’ CPD.

You’ll learn how to keep your students engaged throughout the lesson with practical science activities.

You’ll explore various teaching strategies that will encourage participation in the classroom and give your pupils a thorough grounding in this important topic.


  • Week 1

    Subject knowledge: evolution and inheritance

    • Evolution

      Welcome to the course. This week we'll build your subject knowledge of evolution and inheritance, starting with an overview of evolution, and how the rich variety of life around us came to be.

    • The evidence for evolution

      Fossils can show us how organisms have evolved from common ancestors.

    • Variation and inheritance

      To understand how evolution occurs, it helps to first look at why individuals in a population have slightly different characteristics. We call this ‘variation’.

    • How does evolution occur?

      Darwin proposed the theory of Natural Selection as a process in which evolution can occur, but what do we mean by 'survival of the fittest?'

  • Week 2

    Planning to address misconceptions

    • Planning to address misconceptions

      This week we explore classroom activities to build pupils' understanding of evolution. First, we look at how we can address misconceptions with hands on activities and careful use of language.

    • Eliciting misconceptions

      With your subject knowledge and an idea of the common misconceptions, you can plan to address them with your class. What activities do you use to discover what your pupils think?

    • Reconstructing the learning

      How will you challenge children’s misconceptions about evolution and inheritance and reconstruct incorrect ideas?

    • Reflecting on your professional development

      Review your professional development and plan your next steps to sustain and develop the way you teach primary science. How has your practice and thinking changed during this course?

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify the importance of good subject knowledge when teaching primary science.
  • Develop personal subject knowledge of evolution and inheritance to teach this topic as part of the biology primary science curriculum.
  • Apply subject knowledge of biology to class teaching of pupils aged 5-11 years old.
  • Explore practical activities to teach scientific concepts in the primary curriculum.
  • Identify common misconceptions children may have in primary science concepts.
  • Develop teaching strategies to identify and overcome children’s misconceptions.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for teachers, trainee teachers as well as teaching assistants for primary education.

The English National Curriculum will be referred to, but you’ll be able to apply subject knowledge to your own curricula.

Who will you learn with?

I spent 10 years working as a primary classroom teacher, 7 as a science subject leader. I’ve also supported schools as a leading science teacher before joining STEM learning as a primary specialist.

I have been a primary school teacher for 13 years and work at Clifton With Rawcliffe Primary, York. Currently, I also work 3 days a week at the National STEM Learning Centre in the Primary PDL Team.

I am currently a Professional Development Leader at the National STEM Learning Centre in Primary STEM. I have been a teacher for 14 years, teaching classes from FS2 to Year 6.

Hello! I’m Gemma, and I work as a Year 6 teacher at a primary school in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. My subject specialisms are Primary Science and Working Scientifically.

Who developed the course?

National STEM Learning Centre

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.

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