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Lesson summary for:
Big Beans, Little Beans


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Students measure and note the variation in the lengths of lima beans. Students then compare the growth rate of different sized beans.

UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:


Teaching tips:
Prior to this activity, students should know that seeds germinate to produce the next generation of the plant and that the cotyledon provides both protection and food for the growing plant embryo. Class discussion will help students understand that there may be an advantage to individual variation within populations and that scientists perform experiments to test their ideas.

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

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

  • Individual organisms with advantageous traits are more likely to survive and have offspring. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

  • A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)

  • Science focuses on natural phenomena and processes. (NOS8)

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

  • Science is a human endeavor. (NOS7)

Teacher background:

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