Lizards in a Hurricane

If you have used the phenomena from Biointeractive on lizards in a hurricane, this is an activity that was adapted to be viewed in slides for remote learning.

The slides start with an opening statement describing the anoles in the Caribbean and the hurricanes that devastated the islands in 2017. Students are asked what kind of data would need to be gathered to determine if these hurricanes placed a selection pressure on the anoles and if the anoles changed as a result of the extreme weather event.

Embedded in the slides is a gif from the Nature video that describes the study on lizards and hurricanes. Students can watch the whole video at the end of the lesson, but I didn’t want to give too much away at the beginning, so they only watch a clip showing a lizard trying to hang on to a pole while being blasted with a leaf blower. (Students usually find this pretty amusing.)

Still photos are then used to make observations about how the lizards hang on to the pole and to generate questions about why some lizards might be better grippers than others.

The next slides examine actual data from a scientific study on lizards and their toe pads. I set up these slides to use an I2 strategy, where students annotate with what they see, what it means, and then create a caption. In these graphs students should come to the conclusion that after the hurricanes, the average size of lizard toe pads increased. Toe pads are used by the lizards to grip surfaces.

A final slide asks students to restate the question being asked by the research and to summarize the data and conclusions. This assignment could be completed as homework, but I plan to use it as a class discussion activity where we complete the slides together. My students are both in person and remote, so that makes things a little more challenging. I do not have an answer key, mainly because most of the questions are subjective or meant to prompt discussion.

Leave a Reply