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Lesson summary for:
Using evolution to understand influenza

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Overview:
This lesson is driven by the question: Why is a new flu vaccine needed every few years? Students answer this question and gather other information about evolution and influenza as they create an outline of a brochure for a biotechnology company.

Author/Source:
National Institutes of Health

Grade level:
13-16

Time:
1.5 hours

Teaching tips:
The exercise does a good job addressing the process of genetic sequence change, but it’s short on making the role of natural selection clear. Supplement with additional discussion or a short video on natural selection.

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

  • Evolution is still continuing today.

  • Evolution results from natural selection acting upon genetic variation within a population.

  • Traits that confer an advantage may persist in the population and are called adaptations.

  • Natural selection can act on the variation in a population in different ways.

  • As with other scientific disciplines, evolutionary biology has applications that factor into everyday life, for example in agriculture, biodiversity and conservation biology, and medicine and health.

Teacher background:

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