In this activity, students simulate bird feeding with "beaks" that differ in size. The proportion of big-, medium-, and small-beaked birds changes in response to available types of food. This is a lesson on evolution, but suggestions on how to incorporate the nature and process of science are included.
One class period
This lesson can be modified to make the nature and process of science more explicit by emphasizing the importance of sharing and analyzing data and by connecting the activity to the actual research of Peter and Rosemary Grant. Suggestions for how to do this are included at the end of the lesson.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Science aims to build explanations of the natural world. (P3, P6)
- Scientists strive to test their ideas with evidence from the natural world; a hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7, NOS2)
- Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as new ideas surface and new evidence is discovered. (P6, NOS3)
- Scientists look for patterns in their observations and data. (P4, P5)
- Different scientists may interpret the same data in different ways. (P7)