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Lesson summary for:
Investigating Natural Selection

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Overview:
Students experience one mechanism for evolution through a simulation that models the principles of natural selection and helps answer the question: How might biological change have occurred and been reinforced over time?

Author/Source:
National Academy of Sciences

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
Three class periods.

Teaching tips:
After 3 generations, change cloth pattern under petri dish to something that makes dots easier to see, or harder to see. Use this to show that evolution doesn’t lead to one best solution, but responds to the environment.

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

  • Evolution results from selection acting upon genetic variation within a population. (LS4.B)

  • Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • 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. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)

  • There is variation within a population. (LS3.B)

Teacher background:

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