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Students learn about variation, reproductive isolation, natural selection, and adaptation through this version of the bird beak activity.

UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:

One class period

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

  • Evolution results from selection acting upon genetic variation within a population. (LS4.B)

  • Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Depending on environmental conditions, inherited characteristics may be advantageous, neutral, or detrimental.

  • Random factors can affect the survival of individuals and of populations.

  • Natural selection acts on the variation that exists in a population. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Over time, the proportion of individuals with advantageous characteristics may increase (and the proportion with disadvantageous characteristics may decrease) due to their likelihood of surviving and reproducing. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • There is variation within a population. (LS3.B)

  • The number of offspring that survive to reproduce successfully is limited by environmental factors. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • Natural selection is dependent on environmental conditions.

Teacher background:

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