PUMAS (poo' • mas) -- is a collection of brief examples showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes can be used in interesting settings, including every day life.
The examples are written primarily by scientists, engineers, and other content experts having practical experience with the material. They are aimed mainly at classroom teachers, and are available to all interested parties via the PUMAS web site.
Our goal is to capture, for the benefit of pre-college education, the flavor of the vast experience that working scientists have with interesting and practical uses of math and science.
- Ralph Kahn
Pumas Editor and Founder
Scavenger Hunt: Simulating Natural Selection by Paul Narguizian
To help students learn, in a more concrete way, how natural selection operates, I came up with an activity that simulates evolution by natural selection. In this simulation, students take on the roles of crab-like predators that have variations in the shape of their "claws." These feeding appendages catch prey (pinto beans), and come in four variants: spoons, forks, knives, and chopsticks. Groups of students go hunting/scavenging for beans on grass lawns with their feeding appendages. The hunt continues for three rounds or "generations," with extinction and reproduction occurring between generations. To study evolution by natural selection in this predator population, the class will track the frequency of each appendage type through three generations.
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We are always looking for neat examples of Practical Uses of Math And Science.