Activity: Students will track the evolution of a fictitious creature called a mollie (much like a mollusk) over multiple generations. Students must complete Punnett Squares (to determine the genotype) and draw the phenotype of the different mollies through each generation. The environment changes between generations resulting in favorable conditions for some mollies over others (shell variations and foot variations). The genetic frequency of some genes will reflect this – students will track genotypic and phenotypic frequencies from generation-to-generation. This is a great activity to open up discussions/introduce new concepts and vocabulary in evolution from middle school through high school while tapping into student curiosity with an engaging story.
Warm-up: This is a multiple day activity. You can start each day with an Animal of the Day power point to introduce students to mollusks with one, two or no shells (as well as the variety of feet that mollusks have). These are the traits you will be following in the Making Mollies Activity. Students copy down the facts as they are presented in the power point on the animal of the day sheets; they guess the common name of the animal as the facts are given (it’s a competition). At the end of the power point the common name will be given. The students are given 2-3 pictures of the animal to glue on the animal of the day sheet, making their own field guide of marine animals.