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Lesson summary for:
Problem-based discussion: Natural selection in Darwin's finches

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Overview:
This set of two PowerPoint slides featuring questions for problem-based discussion (i.e., open-ended questions that engage students with each other and with course material) can be easily incorporated into lectures on natural selection.

Author/Source:
UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:
13-16

Time:
5-20 minutes

Teaching tips:
With increased experience, the instructor will be able to develop additional problem-based discussion questions, optimizing them for particular applications and topics. To learn more about how problem-based discussion and other types of active-learning activities can be easily incorporated into lecture (and for more downloadable slides!), visit our guide to active learning in the undergraduate classroom.

Concepts:
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Evolution can sometimes be directly observed.

  • Evolution occurs through multiple mechanisms.

  • Evolution results from natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.

  • Evolution results from genetic drift acting upon genetic variation within a population.

  • Natural selection and genetic drift act on the variation that exists in a population.

  • Variation of a character within a population may be discrete or continuous.

  • Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism’s survival and reproduction.

  • Over time, the proportion of individuals with advantageous characteristics may increase (and the proportion with disadvantageous characteristics may decrease) due to their likelihood of surviving and reproducing.

  • Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations.

  • The number of offspring that survive to reproduce successfully is limited by environmental factors.

  • Natural selection can act on the variation in a population in different ways.

  • Natural selection may favor individuals with one extreme value for a trait, shifting the average value of that trait in one direction over the course of many generations.

Teacher background:

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