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ERIC Number: EJ1069978
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014-Dec
Pages: 3
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1539-2422
Which Beak Fits the Bill? An Activity Examining Adaptation, Natural Selection and Evolution
Darling, Randi
Bioscene: Journal of College Biology Teaching, v40 n2 p31-33 Dec 2014
Evolution is a unifying concept within biology. In fact, Dobzhansky, a noted evolutionary biologist, argued, "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution" (Dobzhansky, 1973). However, often students have misconceptions about evolution. There are a number of available activities where students use tools (representing bird beaks) to collect different food items. These activities enable students to see how various beaks are adapted to feeding on certain types of food. This article describes an inquiry-based activity that takes the process several steps further. In this inquiry-based activity, students not only examine adaptations that birds have for capturing prey, and changes in a bird population over time, but also hypothesize what would happen to the bird population if relative seed abundances change over time. Students then model an environmental change recorded by researchers when observing Darwin's Finches. The Grant's observed a severe drought in 1977 resulting in a drastic decline in seed production with small seeds being particularly affected (Grant, 1999; Boag & Grant 1981). Students then test their hypothesis and compare their findings to those observed by the Grants. This activity is well suited for students in general biology, ecology or evolution classes.
Association of College and Biology Educators. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A