Part of Lesson Plan: Genetic Mutations
Activity Overview / Details
Have students close their eyes and being to tell them the following scenario:
Ladies and gentlemen we as a group have been transported to a beautiful and pristine island, with loads of trees, vegetation, and varieties of wildlife surrounding us. We are no longer people however - we are now all birds on this island, and we have some differences. We have all evolved from one bird species over the course of several hundred thousand years. We have evolved three distinct beaks, tailored to the specific type of food found in our environment. Our beaks have three different shapes. Open your eyes and focus your attention to the front of the room. The three beak types include the tweezertweeters (do a hand motion with your index and middle finger together, opening and closing against your thumb) , the woodpickers (do a hand motion with your index finger, middle finger and thumb are pressed together at the tip, and move your hand back and forth) , and the spoonbills (do a hand motion where it looks like you are scooping up something with a spoon and putting it into your mouth) . Have the students mimic the motions that you are doing, and then ask them to repeat the three shapes.
Each bird group has a beak that fits a particular food item on our island. The foods on this island are rubber worms, brass bugs, and silver slugs (show students the food iteams: i.e. rubber bands, brass brads, and paper clips). Ask the students to predict which beak they think is best suited for each of the three food items.
Today, we are going to take an indepth look at evolution by competeing agaisnt each other for food resrources. By the time we leave class today we will know why some genetic mutations are not advantageous, we will know why some species out live others, and we will see just exactly how changes in the environment cause changes in species.