Evolution at TMSE

By Kelso Kennedy

This week I taught our group about evolution. As a student and lover of science, I was happy to be able to present this, but I was also challenged by having to condense such a rich and complex topic into a single lecture!

The kids were trying to find the moth in the picture; it's "adaptation" was really effective!
The kids were trying to find the moth in the picture; it’s “adaptation” was really effective!

I decided to keep the lesson simple (or I tried to at least!) and talk about the four forces of evolution: gene flow, genetic drift, mutation, and natural selection. The students were actually quite involved and asked numerous questions; these kids are great to teach because they are very eager, bright, and inquisitive.

 

 

For example, one student asked why in the example I used for genetic drift there were more red marbles in the fourth jar than in the third one, which helped me to explain that genetic drift is random and can favor a change in traits to become more or less frequent.

I tried to use a lot of pictures and examples to really drive home each slide.

The presentation slide I used on genetic drift. See the red marbles in the third and fourth jar.
The presentation slide I used on genetic drift. See the red marbles in the third and fourth jar.

We also learned words like trait and adaptation, and we took our first dive into the subfield of physical anthropology. We ended with why anthropologists study evolution and then moved into our activity.

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My activity was a coloring sheet with three animals: a parrot, and moth, and a rabbit. These were all animals that I used as examples in the PowerPoint. You can view the coloring sheet that I created here: https://indd.adobe.com/view/19c6a0b0-150b-45db-9162-f91a1bd1849e.

 

3I gave each clan really different environments. I really wanted them to understand that the animals’ physical characteristics-their traits-changed in different places to help the animals adapt. I felt the coloring sheets would allow them to come up with some really creative ideas. I think most of the kids enjoyed it.

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