Epic of Evolution  

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mystical. It is the source of all true art and science."
~ Albert Einstein


Natural Selection Scarf Tag

Summary: Students play a fun game similar to tag, except that instead of tagging someone to be it, all the students try to grab scarf "tails" off of all the other students to demonstrate natural selection.

Age level: 7 to playful adult.

Time: 20 minutes

Student Learning Outcomes:

  • Students learn about natural selection.
  • Students learn that genes are passed down from one generation to the next.


Students engage their minds and bodies in an aerobic game that illustrates how natural selection affects the survival of particular organisms and their genes.


At least 12 students. If more than 23 students, this game may be divided into 2 games.

Per student:

  • 1"x2" Patch of Velcro loops with safety pin.
  • Scarf fabric with 1/4" x 1" patch of Velcro "hooks". 1 long scarf and 1 short scarf per student.


  • Each student pins on a patch of Velcro to shirt or pants.
  • Half the students each attach a long scarf and half attach a short scarf.
  • Students then run around trying to pull off the scarves. Before the last 1/4 of scarves have been pulled off, the game is stopped.
  • For each type of scarf remaining, a proportional mix of the remaining scarf lengths are added. So, for example, if 12 students play the game, six will wear long scarves and six will wear short scarves. Play begins continues until 8 scarves have been pulled off and 4 remain attached. If one remaining scarf is long, then additional long scarves will be given to each of two students. If three remaining scarves are short, then additional short scarves will be given to each of 6 students. Now there are 12 scarf-tailed kids, three with short tails and 9 with long tails.
  • The game of tag resumes as before. As before, when the last 1/4 of scarves have been pulled off, the game is stopped.



Focus on the Fundamentals of Evolution - Understanding Evolution for Teachers web site by the University of California


This page last updated July 27, 2006.
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