ing evolution across the curriculum can help counter the confusion and contention that still hinder the teaching of evolution in many classrooms, especially at the K-12 level, in the United States.

On October 25-26, 2011, the Board on Life Sciences of the National Research Council and the National Academy of Sciences held a national convocation in Washington, DC, to explore the many issues associated with teaching evolution across the curriculum. Titled “Thinking Evolutionarily: Evolution Education Across the Life Sciences,” the convocation brought together people from many sectors, including K-12 education, higher education, museums, publishers, government, philanthropy, international educators, and non-profit organizations, who rarely communicate but need to work collaboratively if evolution is to assume a more prominent role in biology education. The goals of the convocation were to articulate issues, showcase resources that are currently available or under development, and begin to develop a strategic plan for engaging all of the sectors represented at the convocation in future work. It focused specifically on infusing evolutionary science into introductory college courses and into biology courses at the high school level, although participants also discussed learning in earlier grades and life-long learning. In addition, the convocation covered the broader issues associated with learning about the nature, processes, and limits of science, because understanding evolutionary science requires a more general appreciation of how science works.

This summary provides a narrative, rather than a chronological, overview of the presentations and rich discussions that occurred during the convocation. It is organized around the major themes that recurred throughout the event, including the structure and content of curricula, the processes of teaching and learning about evolution, the tensions that can arise in the classroom, and the target audiences for evolution education.

For a much more complete list of resources, see the annotated bibliography that is found in Science, Evolution, and Creationism (National Academy of Sciences and Institute of Medicine, 2008) and the resources found throughout the National Academy of Sciences’ Evolution Resources webpage ( In addition, resources that were suggested prior to and following the convocation by planning committee members and participants can be found at


The convocation was held at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC, which has supported major science initiatives throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. In her welcoming remarks at the convoca-

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement