Students will investigate the effect of natural selection on finches with different beaks. Students are given a tool to use as their beak. They will have to collect food (sunflower seeds) in order to survive and hopefully reproduce. Each round we will record how many of each beak type survive and reproduce. After 4 rounds students will use the data to graph, analyze, and write a conclusion from. This lab is a great opportunity to have your students write a formal lab report if that is a skill you wish to practice with them. This is an excellent lab to help your students understand how evolution is caused by natural selection, and is great to use in a classroom with limited space and materials, because you don’t need much!
How can I use this?
- Practice for understanding of evolution by natural selection
- As an inquiry investigation before providing any instruction on natural selection
What is included?
A PDF document with:
- 3 pages of teacher implementation notes
- 3 pages of student handouts
- Answer Key
- Checklist and rubric (if you choose to have students write this up formally)
How much class time will this take?
This lab tends to takes approximately 45 minutes to complete set-up and data collection, and then an additional 30-45 minutes to complete the graph, analysis and conclusion, which can be done in class or at home.
How does this connect to NGSS*?
This lab simulation addresses the following standards:
- : Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.
- : Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.
It also incorporates the following science and engineering practices:
- Develop and use models
- Plan and carry out investigations
- Analyze and interpret data
- Use mathematics and computational thinking
Lastly, it connects to the following crosscutting concepts:
- Cause and effect
- Stability and change
What if I want more?
This product is part of my Evolution Unit bundle. Be sure to check it out by clicking HERE!
What if I have a question?
Email me at email@example.com I’d love to answer any questions you have!
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*Note: NGSS is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.