Metamorphosis—Triggers of Transformation

Connie Wood, Biology, East Mecklenburg High School

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


In this unit you will find a summary of some of the latest research on the evolution
and the mechanisms of metamorphosis. This information provided me with multiple ways to
include metamorphosis in my IB Biology class. This unit incorporates a review of gene
regulation, cell differentiation, and development—which are taught during the first year
of the course—in order to prepare the students for their IB exams. I use examples of the
causes of metamorphosis to review these concepts during new lessons on evolution,
hormones, ecology, and animal behavior. Students don’t always make the connection
between the effects of hormones and environmental factors and the actions of genes, or
how changes in DNA can affect the evolution of a species. With this background
knowledge, students will design experiments testing the effects of some environmental
factor on the transition from larva to pupa: crowding, temperature, food, moisture, or
chemicals in the environment such as BPA. Students will also do an activity involving
modeling of hormones and cell communication.