This product makes Natural Selection engaging with the use of phenomena and a computer simulation, but it also includes a total of 9 lessons to reach ALL LEARNING STYLES in the form of a 5e and using the NGSS Three Dimensions of learning! It’s mainly geared towards the new middle school NGSS science standards.
Reading: First students read a brief 3 paragraph description of Natural selection and the following vocabulary words- traits, offspring, Natural Selection, genes, DNA, adapt, negative mutation, positive mutations, limiting factors, biotic factors, abiotic factors and predators. I do a “read-around” with this and discuss with the class.
Engage/Phenomena: Using the 2nd page and the PowerPoint presentation, students fill out what they observe in the first slide, what trait they think the picture represents and how that trait would help that animal survive. After each slide, we discuss as a class and the students fill in the table.
Explore/Explain: There are three “Explore/Explain” sections. In the first Explore the students first become familiar with the simulation. It’s important that students use “Internet Explorer”, it seems to work better than “Google Chrome”. Once the students feel comfortable with the simulation they are asked to attempt to get the white rabbit population over 70 individuals by changing the environment, biotic factors, abiotic factors and mutations. They are then to write a paragraph applying the vocabulary to the simulation and the writing prompt reads as follows, “Explain why the white rabbit population was able to reach 70 individuals. Use the terms biotic, abiotic, limiting factor, predator, offspring and positive mutation in your explanation:”
Explore/Explain: On the 2nd “Explore/Explain”, students are asked to make the white rabbit population decline by changing the environment, biotic factors, abiotic factors and mutations. Again they apply the vocabulary to the simulation and the writing prompt reads as follows, “Explain why the white rabbit population declined. Use the terms biotic, abiotic, limiting factor, predator, offspring and negative mutation in your explanation:”
Explore/Explain: In the 3rd “Explore/Explain”, students then make the brown rabbit population take over the white rabbit population by changing the environment, biotic factors, abiotic factors and mutations. And for a 3rd time they write a paragraph explaining and applying the vocabulary, “Explain why the white rabbit population was taken over by the brown rabbits. Use the terms biotic, abiotic, limiting factor, predator, offspring, positive and negative mutation in your explanation:”
Extend: There are two “Extends”, in the first “Extend” students read a Scientific American article that talks about how humans impact natural selection and then they fill in the Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning graphic organizer. The second “Extend” has the students do research online which reads as follows, “In artificial selection, humans have the ability to influence certain characteristics of organisms by selective breeding. One can choose desired parental traits determined by genes, which are then passed on to offspring.
Do some online research and find 3 examples of artificial selection and describe how it has happened.” This is word for word NGSS DCI LS4.B: Natural Selection.
Evaluate: In the “Evaluate” section there are 10 questions about how the simulation applies to natural selection. The 2nd part of “Evaluate” has the students do online research which reads as follows, “Do some online research and find an example of Natural Selection (besides rabbits) and answer the question below in the form of a complete paragraph. “How does Natural Selection lead to the dominance of certain traits in a population, and the suppression of others?” This is again NGSS DCI LS4.B: Natural Selection.
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This Activity covers NGSS Standards:
LS4.B: Natural Selection
• Natural selection leads to the predominance of certain traits in a population, and the suppression of others. (MS-LS4-4)
• Adaptation by natural selection acting over generations is one important process by which species change over time in response to changes in environmental conditions. Traits that support successful survival and reproduction in the new environment become more common; those that do not become less common. Thus, the distribution of traits in a population changes.(MS-LS4-6)
ESS3.C: Human Impacts on Earth Systems
• Human activities have significantly altered the biosphere, sometimes damaging or destroying natural habitats and causing the extinction of other species. But changes to Earth’s environments can have different impacts (negative and positive) for different living things.(MS-ESS3-3)
• Typically as human populations and per-capita consumption of natural resources increase, so do the negative impacts on Earth unless the activities and technologies involved are engineered otherwise. (MS-ESS3-3), (MS-ESS3-4)
Cross Cutting Concepts
• Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data. (MS-LS4-1), (MS-LS4-3)
• Patterns can be used to identify cause-and-effect relationships. (MS-LS4-2)
Cause and Effect
• Phenomena may have more than one cause, and some cause and effect relationships in systems can only be described using probability.(MS-LS4-4), (MS-LS4-6)
Science and Engineering Practices
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis.
• Analyze displays of data to identify linear and nonlinear relationships. (MS-LS4-3)
• Analyze and interpret data to determine similarities and differences in findings. (MS-LS4-1)
This activity includes the following vocabulary:
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