This worksheet was modified from the HHMI Activity on color variation in the rock pocket mouse. It has been simplified from the original activity so that it is suitable for beginner biology students.
Students look at cards showing light and dark mice on different substrates. (Cards can be printed and laminated for multiple uses.) Students collect data on the number of mice phenotypes in each location and develop a hypothesis about the order of the cards. Students also graph the color differences at each location to show how the dark variation increased over time in response to an environmental change. Students then watch the HHMI Video on pocket mice and answer discussion questions.
Throughout the activity, students learn concepts such as fitness, natural selection, mutation, and phenotype.
Grade Level: 8-10 | Time Required: 45-60 minutes
HS-LS4-1 Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence
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