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Lesson summary for:
Color variation over time in rock pocket mouse populations

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Overview:
Students watch a short film and complete a worksheet and graphing exercise that reinforces the concepts of variation and natural selection.

Author/Source:
Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Grade level:
9-12

Time:
50 minutes

Teaching tips:
Answers to the worksheets are readily available online, so if this is a concern, you may wish to have students complete those in class.

Concepts:
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)

  • Mutations are random.

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • Natural selection is dependent on environmental conditions.

  • Environmental changes may provide opportunities that can influence natural selection. (LS4.B, LS4.C)

Teacher background:

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