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Resource library Teaching materials Evolution 101

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Teaching materials database

Found 42 resources for the concept: Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism’s survival and reproduction

imageBreeding Bunnies
Students simulate breeding bunnies to show the impact that genetics can have on the evolution of a population of organisms.

Audience: 13-16

Source: WGBH

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageWhy Sex is Good
This case study is based on a 2005 journal article that deals with the issue of sexual vs. asexual reproduction and their relative merits—a question that has bedeviled biologists for more than a century. The article serves as the final stage of this case focusing on why sex is useful (at least in some circumstances).

Audience: 13-16

Source: Herreid, Clyde Freeman

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageInvestigating Natural Selection
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?

Audience: 13-16

Source: National Academy of Sciences

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageEvolution and Antibiotic Resistance
Students learn why evolution is at the heart of a world health threat by investigating the increasing problem of antibiotic resistance in such menacing diseases as tuberculosis.

Audience: 13-16

Source: WGBH

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageArtificially Selecting Dogs
Students learn how artificial selection can be used to develop new dog breeds with characteristics that make the dogs capable of performing a desirable task.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Collins, Jennifer

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageEye Evolution
This worksheet guides students through an interactive online module entitled Why the Eye? on the Understanding Evolution website. Students gain a better understanding of the different types of animal eyes and how natural selection can account for the evolution of a complex organ.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Online activity or lab

imageEvo in the news: "Superweed" discovered in Britain?
This news brief, from October of 2005, describes the discovery of an herbicide resistant weed in Britain and illustrates the relationship between genetic engineering and evolution.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: A fish of a different color
This news brief, from February 2006, describes how a mutated zebrafish gene may help us understand human evolution and the genes underlying human skin color. Humans and zebrafish both inherited the same pigmentation gene from their common ancestor.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Warming to evolution
Global warming increasingly affects many aspects of our environment, from the sea level to tropical storm strength. But that's far from the full story. This news brief from July 2006 describes how global warming has already begun to affect the evolution of several species on Earth.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Quick evolution leads to quiet crickets
The tropical island of Kauai has always been a quiet place, but now it may be getting even more quiet. This news brief, from December 2006, reveals how Kauai's cricket population has evolved into a "chirpless" variety in just a few years.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Got lactase?
The ability to digest milk is a recent evolutionary innovation that has spread through some human populations. This news brief from April 2007 describes how evolution has allowed different human populations to take advantage of the nutritional possibilities of dairying and links evolution with the prevalence of lactose tolerance among people of different ethnicities.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Cheating cheetahs prosper
Biologists have discovered that female cheetahs consistently seek out multiple mates. This news brief, from July 2007, explains how the evolutionary implications of this behavior may help conservation efforts targeting these endangered animals.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Another perspective on cancer
This news brief, from October of 2007, describes the evolutionary underpinnings of cancer. Recognizing cancer as a form of cellular evolution helps explain why a cure remains elusive and points the way toward new treatments.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Evolution from a virus's view
This news brief from December 2007 describes a new virulent strain of the common cold and examines how and why virulence evolves.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Evolution's dating and mating game
This news brief from May of 2008 describes new research on octopus mating and reveals how evolution can favor some surprising courtship behaviors.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Better biofuels through evolution
This news brief from April 2009 describes how synthetic biologists are using the process of directed evolution to improve the efficiency of biofuel production.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Bed bugs bite back thanks to evolution
This news brief of September 2010 examines the resurgence of bed bugs throughout the country, and the real bad news is that those bed bugs have evolved resistance to the chemicals most commonly used for eradication.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Toxic river means rapid evolution for one fish species
This news brief from March 2011 examines the genetic basis for the evolution of resistance to PCBs in the Hudson River tomcod. Though this is great for the tomcod, what might it mean for other organisms in the ecosystem?

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageAloha, spider style! The work of Rosemary Gillespie
This research profile follows Dr. Rosemary Gillespie to Hawaii as she evaluates hypotheses about the evolution of the colorful happy-face spider.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageBattling bacterial evolution: The work of Carl Bergstrom
This research profile examines how the scientist Carl Bergstrom uses computer modeling to understand and control the evolution of antibiotic resistant bacteria in hospitals.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageAngling for evolutionary answers: The work of David O. Conover
Human activity has certainly affected our physical environment - but it is also changing the course of evolution. This research profile follows scientist David O. Conover as he investigates the impact of our fishing practices on fish evolution and discovers what happened to the big ones that got away.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageBiological warfare and the coevolutionary arms race
The rough-skinned newt looks harmless enough but is, in fact, packed full of one of the most potent neurotoxins known to man. Find out how an evolutionary arms race has pushed these mild-mannered critters to the extremes of toxicity and how evolutionary biologists have unraveled their fascinating story.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

imageEvolution connection: Proteins, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids
This short slide set weaves basic information about carbohydrates, proteins, and nucleic acids into one evolutionary story regarding the evolution of lactose tolerance, which relates to students’ everyday lives. Save the slide set to your computer to view the explanation and notes that go along with each slide.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo Connection slide set

imageFire ants invade and evolve
Understanding the evolution of fire ants may help scientists control the spread of these pests, which have already taken over much of the U.S.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

imageWhy the eye?
Eyes are something of an icon of evolution. How did such an integrated, multi-part adaptation evolve? While many different animals have complex eyes, untangling their evolutionary history reveals both remarkable diversity and surprising similarity.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Article

imageVariability and Selection in Natural Populations of Wood Lice
In this lab, students measure the amount of variation in a natural population of terrestrial wood lice and then determine which traits are subject to selection by predators by performing a simulated predation experiment.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Berkelhamer, Rudi

Resource type: Lab activity

imageInducing Evolution in Bean Beetles
In this lab, students design and conduct experiments to evaluate whether evolution by natural selection (or alternatively, genetic drift) may be induced in laboratory populations.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Morehouse College and Emory University

Resource type: Lab activity

imageMouse fur color
This case study in the form of a set of PowerPoint slides examines the evolution of light fur in beach mice from the molecular level up to the population genetics level.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Evo-Ed

Resource type: Case study

imageThe Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans
This 14-minute film describes the connection between the infectious parasitic disease malaria and the genetic disease sickle cell anemia - one of the best-understood examples of natural selection in humans.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Video

imageStabilization of the fig-pollinator mutualism
Students read a 2008 paper on the role of parasites in stabilizing the fig-pollinator mutualism alongside an interactive guide that explains each section of the paper and draws the reader's attention to important points in the article.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Annotated journal article

imageMate choice and fitness consequences
Students read a 2005 paper on the fitness consequences of mate choice alongside an interactive guide that asks the reader to answer key questions about each section of the article.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Annotated journal article

imageProblem-based discussion: Natural selection in Darwin's finches
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.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Slide set

imageHigh altitude adaptations: The work of Emilia Huerta-Sánchez
This research profile follows statistician and population geneticist Emilia Huerta-Sánchez as she studies the adaptations that allow Tibetan highlanders to live 13,000 feet above sea level without developing altitude sickness.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Research profile

imageThe Meaning of Genetic Variation
Students investigate variation in the beta globin gene by identifying base changes that do and do not alter function, and by using several internet-based resources to consider the significance in different environments of the base change associated with sickle cell disease.

Audience: 13-16

Source: National Institutes of Health

Resource type: Classroom activity

imageEvo in the News: When fighting leukemia, evolutionary history matters
This news brief, from December 2011, describes how evolutionary history can factor into the success of a bone marrow transplant.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the News: Evolutionary history in a tiny package
This news brief, from March 2012, describes the discovery four new species—all miniature chameleons—and explores the concept of island dwarfism.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Image

imageJuego evolutivo de citas y apareamiento
Largamente asumidos como solitarios, al menos una especie de pulpo lleva una compleja vida amorosa. El mes pasado, los biólogos Christine Huffard, Roy Caldwell y Farnis Boneka reportaron los resultados de los primeros estudios a largo plazo sobre el comportamiento de apareamiento de pulpos en la naturaleza...

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageMejores biocombustibles gracias a la evolución
Actualmente, la mayoría de nosotros llenamos nuestro tanque de gasolina con combustibles fósiles, es decir, restos de plantas y animales que murieron muchos millones de años atrás y eventualmente se convirtieron en petróleo — pero, por supuesto, esto no puede perdurar para siempre. El petróleo es un recurso limitado y en algún momento se va a terminar. Para ayudar a solucionar este problema, muchos científicos, políticos, gente de negocios y ciudadanos preocupados han puesto sus esperanzas en los biocombustibles...

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageLas chinches de cama pican de nuevo gracias a la evolución
Las chinches de cama puede parecer un viejo problema pasado de moda, sin embargo ahora están de vuelta — y con venganza. Hace cincuenta años, estas plagas chupadoras de sangre estaban casi erradicadas en los Estados Unidos gracias, en parte, al uso de pesticidas como el DDT. Hoy, se arrastran entre las sabanas — y atormentan a los desgraciados soñadores — en todo el país...

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageThe Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaption
This 10-minute film describes the research of Dr. Michael Nachman and colleagues, whose work in the field and in the lab has documented and quantified physical and genetic evolutionary changes in rock pocket mouse populations.

Audience: 13-16

Source: Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Resource type: Video

imageEvo in the news: No more mystery meat
This news brief from April 2013 describes new research on the origin of American cattle breeds. The story told by the cows' genes crisscrosses the trajectory of human evolutionary history — from wild aurochs that lived alongside Neanderthals, to Christopher Columbus and, ultimately, the American West …

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

imageEvo in the news: Antibiotic resistant bacteria at the meat counter
This news brief from May 2013 describes research showing that a large percentage of the meat in supermarkets is contaminated with antibiotic resistant bacteria. An evolutionary perspective explains how antibiotic resistance arises in the first place and why the prevalence of resistant bugs in livestock has health professionals and scientists worried.

Audience: 13-16

Source: UC Museum of Paleontology

Resource type: Evo in the News article

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