Peppered Moth Simulation

This is a paper and pencil activity, or “dry lab,” that simulates the iconic evolutionary phenomenon of the Peppered Moth.  Students mimic the light and dark colorings of the Peppered Moth by using white paper and newspaper.  Students collect data on the number of moths collected by a predator in 15 seconds from a light background and a dark background.  Student questions, data tables, etc. are included. In this activity, students are asked to describe the importance of coloration in avoiding predation, relate environmental change to changes in organisms, and explain how natural selection causes populations to change.  This activity directly relates to the learning expectation of explaining how genetic variation and changing environment can cause a species to show new adaptations.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CLE 3002.2.5
Understand strategies for expressing ideas clearly and effectively in a variety of oral contexts.
CLE 3210.5.3
Explain how genetic variation in a population and changing environmental conditions are associated with adaptation and the emergence of new species.
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
Learning objectives: 


  • Describe the importance of coloration in avoiding predation.
  • Relate environmental change to changes in organisms.
  • Explain how natural selection causes populations to change.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 

Helpful Hints


  • Sheet of white paper and newspaper
  • Forceps
  • Clock with Second Hand
  • 30 newspaper circles 30 white circles (made with hole punch)