Not your average bird beak lab! Students will start with a hands on activity to collect data, then USE that data to predict the future of two island populations in 500 years after mutations arise. Middle school students often have a hard time understanding the difference between the mutations that create new traits and the natural selection that “chooses” the helpful ones. This powerful activity can generate that “aha” moment where it all becomes clear.
On day one, student use three different beak types to collect two types of food. They record data and then do some basic analysis to decide which beak would be best adapted to eat each type of food.
On day two, students are presented with a scenario where a bird population has been split into two groups by a mountain range. The two populations have different food sources and experience different mutations. The handout describes the new traits created by mutations and students have to use their data from day one to decide if the new traits would be helpful, harmful, or have no effect. Finally, students combine all this work to predict what the two bird populations will look like after 500 years and they use a detailed, labeled drawing to explain and justify their predictions.
Easy to follow teacher directions, student handouts, and student work examples from my own classroom are included.
The right experiential activity is worth many days of notes as far as student understanding is concerned. Boost your middle school students’ understanding of these complex topics with this hands-on, engaging activity.
Purchase this product on its own, or check out my Evolution Unit BUNDLE
to get this product and much more! Bundle includes 9+ days of exciting activities and assessments to incorporate authentic science as students learn about the theory of evolution by natural selection.
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Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria: An evolutionary mystery
Evolution mix and match game
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Bird Beak Island: Evolution Scenario by Katie MacDiarmid is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Active-Brain-Science.