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Natural Selection
Susan Koba
Science




Unit created on 6/10/1999 EST.
Last modified 11/12/1999 3:03:17 PM EST.


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Fundamental Understandings (help)


a. Tremendous variety exists among members of a species. b. Species have an unlimited capacity to reproduce, however resources in a habitat are limited. c. Some members of a species are more able to compete for limited resources, therefore have a greater chance of survival and reproduction. d. Those species members who survive to reproduce pass on genes for favorable traits in that environment. e. As the environment changes, different genetic traits may be more favorable for survival.


Technology ISTE Standards (info) 


Technology Communication Tools: Routinely and efficiently use online information resources to meet needs for collaboration, research, publications, communications, and productivity. Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis, problem-solving, and decision-making in content learning. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others to contribute to a content related knowledge base by using technology to compile, synthesize, produce, and disseminate information, models, and other creative works. Research Tools: Routinely and efficiently use online information resources to meet needs for collaboration, research, publications, communications, and productivity. Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis, problem-solving, and decision-making in content learning. Collaborate with peers, experts, and others to contribute to a content related knowledge base by using technology to compile, synthesize, produce, and disseminate information, models, and other creative works.

Information Literacy Standards (info) 


*Accesses information efficiently and effectively. *Evaluates information *Uses information accurately and creatively. *Participates effectively in groups to pursue and generate information.

Relevance (help)


Reside at the heart of the discipline: Evolution is the major theory which accounts for the relatedness of organisms (the similarity among living things), the diversity of life on Earth, and the role that life has in terms of impacting the planet's physical environment. These are central concepts to biological science. Represents a big idea having enduring value beyond the classroom: Since evolution is such a controversial subject, sometimes appearing to be in conflict with belief systems, it is an ongoing part of the lay person's dialog. It is therefore all the more important that students understand the difference between beliefs and theories. Require uncoverage, meaning that misconceptions need to be identified and clarified: While students often understand that there is genetic diversity among members of a species, they struggle more with understanding selection. Many students (as well as adults) interpret evolutionary selection as Lamarkian rather than selection among species members for inherent genetic traits which favor survival. This requires thorough investigation of the concepts and opportunity for student dialog to unearth their misconceptions. Offer potential for engaging students: The nature of the concept of biological evolution, a controversial concept, is itself engaging.

Assessment (help)


a. Students will use learning logs to record information and internalize concepts related to natural selection. b. Given pictures of various environments in which segments of a population are placed (and isolated), students will identify which members (with given variations) will have selective advantage and describe what might happen given enough time in isolation. c. Given a scenario, students will apply their understandings of natural selection to determine whether natural selection has occurred in the description. Students will be given the option of verbal or written responses.

Components (help)


a. Variation Everywhere: This exploratory activity will have cooperative groups of students select a human trait and measure that trait across the classroom. They will determine a way in which to represent their data graphically, and, based on that graphic representation, derive a statement about the trait to share with the class. As each cooperative group shares their findings, class members will use their double entry journal to record findings (note-taking) and to look at commonalities among the groups' findings (note-making). Finally, a whole-class discussion will focus on: 1) variation among a variety of species and 2) the advantages/disadvantages of variation among a members of a species. b. Population Pressure: Students are asked to briefly put their understandings of variation within a species "on the back burner" as they explore population growth. They are presented with a variety of population curves from various species (electronic versions). Their task is to develop a model that explains the population cycles. They then test their model by designing and conducting an experiment with selected species. Students share their models with two other teams and select the model (or merger of models) they think best explains population dynamics and submits to the teacher (assessment). Whole class discussion of submitted models consolidates classroom understandings of population dynamics. c. Expanding the Model: Students are asked to add the concept of variation among members of a species to this model. They are asked to predict how variety impacts survivorship in this model. They will then test the model through a series of traditional classroom activities on adaptive advantage (e.g., tools representing bird beaks, etc.). They use these activities to test the feasibility of their model. The "labels" of competitive advantage and natural selection are layered into the models. d. A Question of the Future: Students develop a product that describes how their model would predict future generations of this species. How would "competitive advantage" and "natural selection" influence the gene pool? They are given a choice of product: poem, mind map, skit or video commercial. In addition, students will complete a reading assignment that overviews these concepts and discuss their reading in small groups. In these small groups, they will summarize what they know and questions they still have. As a whole class, their knowledge and questions will be discussed. e. A Problem of Environment: Students will be posed with a problem. They will create a creature designed to best survive and reproduce in a given environment. Each group will be given a different environment. Students record in their double entry journals the reasons for their creature design (note-taking). Then groups will switch environments and check survival advantage. As they move their creature from environment to environment, they record their findings in their double entry journals (note taking). Students will then be asked to individually make sense of their findings (note making) and submit their journal responses to the teacher. As a group, they expand their model to include their learnings from the entire unit, and they resubmit their model to the teacher.

URLs (help)


http://


Workforce Competencies (info) (help)


Information Manager, Effective Communicator, Creative and Critical Thinker, Ethical and Responsible Worker, Resource Manger, Cooperative Worker, Effective Leader
Lessons


Variation Everywhere





Copyright 1997-2003
Career Connection to Teaching with Technology
USDOE Technology Innovation Challenge Grant
Marshall Ransom, Project Manager
All rights reserved.

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