Natural Selection Lab Simulation

Grade Levels
8th - 10th
Resource Type
Formats Included
  • PDF
10 pages
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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!

*NOTE* Do not purchase if you have already purchased my Evolution Unit Bundle or Biology Complete Curriculum Bundle because you already have this product!

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:

  • HS-LS4-2: 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.
  • HS-LS4-4: 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 I’d love to answer any questions you have!

How do I stay updated on new products, sales, blogposts, and freebies?

Follow me on TpT, join my email list, or follow me on Instagram. These are the three best ways to keep up with what’s happening at It’s Not Rocket Science!


You may:

  • Use this item for your own classroom, students, or for your own personal use.
  • Buy additional licenses for others to use this product at a discount by visiting your TpT “My Purchases” page.
  • Review this product to recommend others buy it in blog posts, at professional development workshops, or other venues as long as credit is given to my store with a direct link to my store/product.

You may not:

  • Upload this product to any unsecured website or server that other teachers can access for free.
  • Give this product to others without the purchase of an additional license for them (this includes emailing, printing copies, or sharing through a website, cloud or other network.)
  • Copy or modify any part of this document to offer others for free or for sale.

*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.

Total Pages
10 pages
Answer Key
Teaching Duration
90 minutes
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