Investigation: What Factors Influence Evolution

screen shotThe Evolution Lab at Biologyinmotion.com is used to allow students to explore the relationship between mutation, selection strength and the rate of evolution.  The simulation shows a population of creatures that have grabbing arms, and prey that they can grab.  Mutations change the length of those arms, which then improves the survival rate of those with the longer arms.   Selection strength adjusts how the prey moves.

Worksheet includes a data table and instructions on how to use the simulator.  Analysis questions require students to explain how and why these factors influence the rate of evolution.

Grade Level:  9-12  |  Time:  1 hr

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HS- LS4-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment

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