Beaks as Tools: Selective Advantage in Changing Environments

How does nature select some adaptations over others? Scholars experiment picking up seeds with two different types of tools simulating beaks. After practicing, they experience a drought where one type of seed suddenly isn't available. They learn the importance of having the right tool for the right type of food. Data collection, discussion, and analysis connect the concepts to natural selection.

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CCSS: Designed
NGSS: Designed
Additional Tags
Instructional Ideas
  • Borrow a few tools to have on hand in case pupils don't bring any in from home, as the lesson requests
Classroom Considerations
  • Specifically designed for advanced high school and introductory college biology courses
  • Relies on prior knowledge of evolution, natural selection, variations, adaptations, survival of the fittest, and alleles
  • Designed for seven different sets of educational standards including NGSS, Common Core, IB, AP, and others
  • Includes many tips for setting up the experiment for success and helping pupils transfer their understanding to a larger context
  • None