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Lesson summary for:
Studying Living Organisms: Estimation of Population Growth by Counting Offspring: Seed Multiplication


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This simple activity allows students to discover or reason through a portion of Darwin's theory of natural selection. Students use seeds from common fruits (e.g. apple seeds) to hypothesize/calculate the reproductive rate of a population, realize that such large populations do not exist, and conclude that organisms face a constant struggle to survive.

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Grade level:

15-30 minutes

Teaching tips:
Students should have simple graphing skills. For large classes, use a document camera to display a fruit with seeds.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • An individual’s fitness (or relative fitness) is the contribution that individual makes to the gene pool of the next generation relative to other individuals in the population.

  • An organism’s fitness depends on both its survival and its reproduction.

  • Fitness is often measured using proxies like mass, number of matings, and survival because it is difficult to measure reproductive success.

Teacher background:

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