This activity provides an introduction to natural selection and the role of genetic variation by asking students to analyze illustrations of rock pocket mouse populations (dark/light fur) on different color substrates in the Sonoran Desert (light/dark) over time. Based on this evidence, and what they learn about variation and natural selection in the accompanying short film, students use this evidence to explain the change in the rock pocket mouse populations on the lava flow (dark substrate) over time. This is one of several classroom activities, focusing on related topics and varying in complexity, built around the short film. This ten minute film shows adaptive changes in rock pocket mouse populations, demonstrating the process of natural selection and can be accessed at http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/making-fittest-natural-selection-and-adaptation. The film is also available as an interactive video with embedded questions, which test students understanding as they watch the film.
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This three-act film tells the story of the detective work that solved the mystery of what caused the disappearance of the dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous period. Shot on location in Italy, Spain, Texas, Colorado, and North Dakota, the film traces the uncovering of key clues that led to the discovery that an asteroid struck the Earth 66 million years ago, triggering a mass extinction of animals, plants, and microorganisms. Science practices in geology, physics, biology, chemistry and paleontology all contributed to the solution to this compelling mystery. Lesson plans are included that have students identify evidence and construct an explanation to tie it together. Summary questions are included at the end and a class discussion is recommended. (This activity will be the only one evaluated in this review.) Another resource is Finding the Crater where students visit different K-T boundary sites. There are also lessons where students analyze various characteristics of the asteroid such as its size and energy, chemical data about the asteroid, and the iridium fallout from an asteroid impact. A hands-on activity where students study the differences in foraminifera fossils below and above the K-T boundary is also included as well as an article that outlines more details about each of the discoveries covered in the film. You can view the film on the website or HHMI will send you a free DVD. Lesson plans including teacher notes and a student handout can be found at http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/following-trail-evidence.
In this activity students analyze a familys pedigrees to make a claim based on evidence about mode of inheritance of a lactose intolerance trait, determine the most likely inheritance pattern of a trait, and analyze variations in DNA to make a claim about which variants are associated with specific traits. This activity serves as a supplement to the film Got Lactose? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture (http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/making-fittest-got-lactase-co-evolution-genes-and-culture). The film shows a scientist as he tracks down the genetic changes associated with the ability to digest lactose as adults. A detailed teachers guide that includes curriculum connections, teaching tips, time requirements, answer key and a student guide can be downloaded at http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/pedigrees-and-inheritance-lactose-intolerance. Six supporting resource and two click and learn activities are also found on the link.