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Do You Have What it Takes to Survive? A Lesson on Natural Selection and Evolution

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Portable Document Format
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Description This teaching resource was developed by a K-12 science teacher in the American Physiological Society's 2006 Frontiers in Physiology Program. For more information on this program, please visit www.frontiersinphys.org. The purpose of this lesson is to teach students about natural selection and evolution by developing a model of an ocean organism’s feeding apparatus (beak) and see if the organism can survive/adapt if environmental conditions change. Students should have background knowledge about environmental changes that occur quickly (forest fires) and those that occur more slowly (succession). Upon completion of this activity, students will be able to investigate how an organism can adapt to a particular environment or it will become extinct.
Type of Resource Laboratory or Hands-On Activity
Format Portable Document Format - PDF
Melissa Parsons, Norwood Middle School
Development Date August 1, 2006
Grade/Age Level Middle School (Grades 6-8)
National Science
Educational Standards
Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry (K-12), Change, constancy, and measurement (K-12), Diversity and adaptations of organisms (5-8), Earth's history (5-8), Evidence, models, and explanation (K-12), Evolution and equilibrium (K-12), Form and function (K-12), Populations and ecosystems (5-8), Reproduction and heredity (5-8), Systems, order, and organization (K-12), Understandings about scientific inquiry (K-12)
Learning Time 4-6 hours
Language English
Type of Review Reviewed By LifeSciTRC Board
Review Date December 6, 2010
Suggested Use

This resource would also be excellent for an introductory biology class that has never been exposed to the concept of natural selection.  It is a fun activity, but also has inquiry and student-led experimental design.  I will be incorporating this into my intro Bio class this fall.

Cathia Acton, The Burlington School

Fun exercise that should emphasize concepts of evolution and adaptation
Thomas Schmidt, UIowa

Robert Hester, University of Mississippi Medical Center


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