Students model Hardy Weinberg equilibrium using Teddy Graham crackers. Playing the role of a monster, record data on how many of each type of teddy graham is in the population. There are two types: happy bears and sad bears. Monsters prefer the happy bears and will eat those first. After each generation, students calculate frequencies to show change over time using the Hardy-Weinberg equation.
p2 + 2pq + q2 = 1
Students then create a graph that shows how the bear populations change over time and answer analysis questions to summarize what happened during the activity.
This activity is designed for an upper level (AP) biology class and bridges the two Big Ideas of biology: genetics and evolution. It can be a fun way to introduce HW equilibrium, but I also recommend applying the equation to real world data, like those of the rock pocket mouse. I buy individually packaged teddy graham (snack packs) with a box of spares for students to add more bears to the population.
Grade Level: 11-12
Time Required: 20-30 minutes
HS-LS4-3 – Apply concepts of statistics and probability to support explanations that organisms with an advantageous heritable trait tend to increase in proportion to organisms lacking this trait.