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In this set of sequenced lessons, students learn how to devise an experiment to test the difference between acclimation and adaptation; investigate how scientific arguments show support for natural selection in Tibetans; design an investigation using a simulation based on the Hardy-Weinberg principle to explore mechanisms of evolution; and devise a test for whether other groups of people have adapted to living at high altitudes.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
8 50 minute class periods
These lessons were developed for AP biology students, but the level of the material is appropriate for college students.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Biological evolution accounts for diversity over long periods of time.
- Present-day species evolved from earlier species; the relatedness of organisms is the result of common ancestry.
- There is a fit between organisms and their environments, though not always a perfect fit.
- An organism's features reflect its evolutionary history.
- Evolution results from natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.
- Natural selection and genetic drift act on the variation that exists in a population.
- Natural selection acts on phenotype as an expression of genotype.
- Organisms cannot intentionally produce adaptive mutations in response to environmental influences.
- Inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction.
- 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.
- Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations.
- Random factors can affect the survival of individuals and of populations.
- A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.
- Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.
- Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data.
- Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.
- Scientists use experimental evidence to study evolutionary processes.