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ERIC Number: EJ1000758
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Oct
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0887-2376
Natural Selection and Evolution: Using Multimedia Slide Shows to Emphasize the Role of Genetic Variation
Malone, Molly
Science Scope, v36 n2 p26-30 Oct 2012
Most middle school students comprehend that organisms have adaptations that enable their survival and that successful adaptations prevail in a population over time. Yet they often miss that those bird beaks, moth-wing colors, or whatever traits are the result of random, normal genetic variations that just happen to confer a negative, neutral, or positive survival advantage. Instead, many students hold on to the belief that adaptations arise in response to an environmental challenge and that this environmental pressure is what drives evolution. Fortunately, a set of multimedia slide shows developed by the Genetic Science Learning Center at the University of Utah is taking aim at these commonly held misconceptions. By examining natural selection and evolution at the DNA level, they shift the focus from "adaptations" and place it on genetic variation instead. In this context, an organism's traits are the result of normal genetic processes and not a reaction to an environmental challenge. A genetic variation becomes "successful" in a population over time not because it is superior, but simply because individuals who possess it are alive to reproduce. Adding the slide shows as supplements to the activities a teacher already uses in his or her middle school classroom can help reinforce the concept that evolution is a natural process and not a response to a changing world. (Contains 5 figures and 4 online resources.)
National Science Teachers Association. 1840 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201-3000. Tel: 800-722-6782; Fax: 703-243-3924; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Utah