A Concept map of evolutionary biology to promote meaningful learning in biology

María José Apodaca, Joseph D. McInerney, Osvaldo Sala, Liliana Katinas, Jorge V. Crisci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Is it possible to teach biology without mentioning evolution? The answer is yes, but it is not possible for students to understand biology without the evolutionary context on which the meaning and intellectual value of biological concepts depend. Meaningful learning of evolution requires (1) that the students incorporate new knowledge into a cognitive structure linked with higher-order concepts; (2) a well-organized knowledge structure; and (3) a positive emotional attachment and identification (affective commitment) to the subject by the learner. Concept maps are useful tools in meaningful learning. We present a concept map that organizes concepts of history of life and the processes that generate it, and the hierarchical relationships among them. Biological evolution is a compelling account of life on Earth and of human origins. It constitutes a unifying explanatory framework that can generate a powerful affective commitment to the subject. The concept map provided here is tied to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-87
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Biology Teacher
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2019


  • Evolution
  • biology teaching
  • concept maps
  • evolutionary processes
  • tree of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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