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Scavenger Hunt: Simulating Natural Selection

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.

Grade Level: High School (9-12)
Curriculum Topic Benchmarks: S9.2.1, S9.3.3, S9.4.5
Subject Keywords: Natural Selection, Evolution, Adaptation, Mutation

Author(s): Paul Narguizian
PUMAS ID: 09_17_03_1
Date Received: 2003-09-17
Date Revised: 2003-11-08
Date Accepted: 2003-11-10

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