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Grade: Senior
Subject: Science

#4382. Evolutionary Biology

Science, level: Senior
Posted Wed Apr 29 14:52:16 PDT 2009 by Abhinav Krishnan (Abhinav Krishnan).
Wayne State University, Detroit, MI
Materials Required: Different Types of Gloves, Fruit, Cups,
Activity Time: 1 class period
Concepts Taught: Darwinism

Evolutionary Biology has been deeply impacted by the discoveries of Charles Darwin and Edward Spencer, with their ideas of natural selection and evolution.
By creating a concept map about natural selection, students will form associations between concepts and therefore reinforce understanding and allow them to develop questions that can be answered/understood with the following experiment.


Provide students with a context to aid in their ideological understanding of evolution and therefore allow students the capacity to describe what natural selection is and develop their own questions based on their knowledge.

Learning Resources and Materials
1) Inspiration Software
2) Primates diagram template
3) Latex fingers, Over-Sized Gloves, and two-fingered mittens
4) Different size fruit, (small enough for a cup, 4 different fruit)
5) 10 + cups depending on class size

Development of Lesson

Students will be in a group environment, and will first engage in an activity and then lecture for the material. The result of natural selection acting upon variation within a population is known as evolution. What is most important to understand is that being with an advantage in one situation may not be advantageous in another situation. Primates/other organisms with favored traits within a given set of environmental factors will have advantage over others whose traits are different. In basketball being taller does aid in playing the game, similarly, Primates, one will see that different types of fruits favor different hand sizes, in addition, after the lecture, students will discover not just hands but other demographics like area and size play a part in evolution.


First 20 minutes of class

1) Lecture for 5-8 min about Biological Evolution, and the origin of species written by Charles Darwin, and the writings of Edward Spencer. Also, describe the scopes monkey trial, and what that meant for the teaching of evolution in the classroom.

2) Then describe to them Inspiration and encourage groups of students to share notes and record information from the lecture in an Inspiration diagram. Go around the class and check for understanding.

3) Give take-home questions about what happened in class including, what is natural selection and how does it form a basis for evolution allow them to answer these questions in the following experiment.

Second 30 minutes of class

1) Start the experiment by showing a picture of a rainforest and then begin a tale about a slue of primates that reside in that rainforest then tell of an earth quake that happened and broke a dam that now separates the forest in two halves.

2) Begin showing a slide show of different primates, from monkeys to gorillas, to sloths and underscore their differences between them and how their needs are different, as is their ability to get food with their hands, their overall size, and their speed.

3) Select 8 students to be from the north side of the jungle and 8 students to be from the south side of the jungle. In each group, give them different types of gloves, latex, mitten (two fingers), and two obstacle gloves: latex/mitten but you need to hold two pieces of fruit, only then eat the third piece fruit. A cup shall be given to act like their stomachs.

4) Then underscore how much each of the 4 gloves needs a different amount of food to survive. (Show slide with energy amount in each fruit, next).

5) Place the different size fruit on table and give 10 seconds to eat their fill. The people with that satisfied their quota can get another partner those that did not should turn in their gloves.

6) Now there should be one glove gone and the others should have two partners, food should be laid out again for the second year.

7) Repeat steps 4-6 till the fourth year and see the results. Ideally there should only be 1 or two left

8) Now discuss with the classes what happened. And what called for the change in the amount of primates from the first year the fourth year.

Last 10 minutes of Class:

1) Discuss the lab and the lecture and discuss any theories or questions that arised from doing the lecture and lab.


1) For students with disabilities, participation should still be encouraged especially in the group activity with students or other instructors available.
2) Also for the younger students try using only two seasons instead of the four and use rounded numbers that are similar to the actual values instead of real unrounded numbers.
3) Different obstacles can be given for the north/south halves of the jungle.
4) Based on the Inspiration diagrams as well as the questions understanding of the benchmarks will be obtained.
5) For ELL students allow participation in activity and then prescribe online activities to help underscore the topic.


1) Gauge student participation in activity by checking questions from lecture
2) Evaluate each inspiration diagram to check for accurate understanding of natural selection.
3) Assess student group cooperation and team work as they conduct the natural selection activities and as they build the inspiration diagrams.


Once, the students bring back the questions and they are answered, one entire class day will be held where a movie regarding Charles Darwin or some other derivative be shown and the instructor will then answer questions and give feedback that was found in the process of grading the diagrams and questions. In-class participation can also be taken into account.

Based on the general feedback of the class, the instructor will then determine if this experiment will be used in the future or some other derivative may be used in the not just teaching this unit but other curriculum bench marks.

Teacher Reflection

I feel that the benchmarks will be supported by the results of the experiment. To allow students to generate questions that can be solved in the laboratory or field was the benchmark for this experiment. Depending on circumstances accommodations were made based on the situation. I learned many things about incorporating this experiment and feel that this experiment should be used, but results vary, and should be used depending on the year/students.