Today's class was all about Natural selection. Students spent the period as "ClipBirds" trying to survie on the island of New ClipLand. Clip Birds only sources of food are popcorn kernels, Lima beans, or marbles. The goal of the game is survive and to reproduce. The more food you eat the better chances you have of survival and having offspring. However, the more ClipBirds enter the game, the more competition there will be for the limited resources. There are three types of ClipBirds, Big Beaked, Medium Beaked, and Small Beaked. Every time a ClipBird Reproduces there's a 1/3 chance a mutation occurs, which causes the offspring beak to either be bigger or smaller than their parents. This game highlights a lot of different concepts in ecology and evolution including natural selection, limiting factors, carrying capacity, as well as positive, negative, and neutral mutations. A version of ClipBird Island is attached below:
Bonus Gold Tape Question: Anyone that emails or gives Mr. Powell a written response to this Question by neat Friday, October 20, by the end of class will get a piece of Gold Tape:
Explain how our game ClipBird Island demonstrated all three ecology and evolution concepts of natural selection, limiting factors, and carrying capacity.
Today we finished up our study of fossils. Some of the conclusions we came to are that fossil teeth tell us a lot about not only what an animal ate but also about the type of environment it may have lived in. In fact, a famous french scientist, Georges Cuvier, even once declared that given a single tooth, he could describe an animals entire skeleton. Teeth are among some of the most important fossils paleontologists can study and tell us enormous amounts of information about the past history of earth.
After wrapping up our discussion of fossils, we played "The Chaos Game." In the chaos game students use dice to randomly place dots on a triangle and after many many trials, a pattern will emerge. The triangle they create is called a Sierpinski Triangle and is a great metaphor for evolution, or simply, given a definite set of rules, random events over time will create patterns. Below you can watch a video of a computer simulation creating a Sierpinski Triangle the same way we did in class.
We have finally finished our genetics unit and are moving on to Evolution. Today students took an evolution pretest to see what they know and what they remember about natural selection, adaptations, and evolution. And then we really started our unit with a webquest about geologic time and the history of life on earth from the University of California Museum of Paleontology. Click the picture to the right to go to the webquest. If you need the worksheet that goes with this activity you can download the file below.
Students presented their posters today. If you did not turn in a poster, you have until next Friday (October 13) to turn one in for credit. Check out the finished posters in the slideshow below!
Ethics in Genetics Posters are due at the beginning of class tomorrow. We will hang them around the room and take turns presenting our findings to the class.
In class we are continuing to do research on our Ethics in Genetics topics. Also, all this week Mr.Powell is teaching how to make DNA bracelets during lunch, all materials are provided! If you've already started your bracelet, here's a video to show you how to complete it.
This week we are working on an Ethics in Genetics project. attached are the project description, rubric, and planning guide. Below is an example poster.
Mr. Powell is a High School Science Teacher in Western Colorado.