Metamorphosis: A Biological Process with Human Implications

Alan Vitale, U.S. History, East Mecklenburg High School

Final Unit (PDF)  Implementing Common Core Standards (PDF)


This unit links human behavior to biology using historical examples drawn
from the North Carolina Standard Course of Study for American History I and II. It is
designed around 3 instructional segments covering 2 weeks of instructional time. During
that time, we will focus on 3 processes which can be applied to a variety of historical
examples, namely nation building, colonization and adaptation to the environment. The
initial lessons will introduce key biological terms and concepts which will be applied to
make comparisons between the biology and history disciplines. Students will debate
whether a political entity can be considered “alive”. This will be followed by an analysis
of colonization efforts by several European nations. The unit will conclude with an
analysis of Prof. Turner’s Frontier Thesis and ask students to debate whether the
character of the United States has metamorphosed over its history to become a more
rugged, individualistic nation thanks to its interaction with a receding frontier.