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Variation Teacher Resources
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How many rainforests are there, where are they, and do global factors effect their locations? These are great questions that have great answers. Children in grades four through eight use several different maps to determine why rainforests occur where they do and what environmental factors cause them to grow. They examine biodiversity, soil, temperature, and precipitation maps to draw conclusions about rainforest ecosystems, then they mark all of the world's rainforests on a blank map. The lesson will lend itself well to a deep discussion on the environment, biodiversity, and habitat. Tip: This is a great research topic!
How many of your students know that even today new species are being found all over the globe? Introduce them to the amazing diversity our planet houses with a creative activity about animal variation and classification. They'll use a dichotomous key to classify nine newly discovered species, and then they'll construct their own dichotomous key based on a series of animal pictures, showcasing key animal features. Tip: Have each child create a new species of their own, and then have the whole class use the dichotomous key to classify them.
Here is yet another variation of the classic activity in which lab groups use different tools to imitate different bird beaks as a demonstration of one of the factors in natural selection. What makes this one unique is that it is on a brightly colored worksheet and is followed by an assignment to write a paragraph about the occurrence of natural selection. Genetic variation and mutation are mentioned as part of the lesson.
You will get much mileage out of this resource. It is three presentations in one! Standard general ecology information is included within these 69 slides. The first segment deals with levels of organization, biotic and abiotic factors, biomes, biodiversity, and the flow of energy. The second section focuses on nutrient cycles. The final installation examines population dynamics with an emphasis on problems accompanying overpopulation. The font may be considered "cute." This is easily altered if this is not to your liking. Otherwise, this is a terrific resource!
Teens experience natural selection firsthand (or first beak) in an activity that has them act as finches foraging for food. Using different household items (tweezers, chopsticks, plastic spoons, etc.) to act as different beak styles, your little finches will collect as much food as they can from the sources available. After a storm limits the food supply and isolates the finches on different islands, they will have to see if their adaptations prove to be an asset or a death sentence. Throughout the activity, the finches will double as field biologists, recording data and reporting it out to the class.
Students comprehend the importance of wildlife conservation by behaving like conservation biologists. They define biodiversity and study biodiversity of a local habitat. Students analyze difficult choices involved in protecting biodiversity. They write a fictional story from the perspective of an endangered animal.
Students analyze marine sites to include in a biodiversity protection reserve and choose sites that provide the most efficient reserve system. In this protecting marine areas lesson plan, students study the species richness and diversity index of species in 8 different sites and determine which combination of sites are the most efficient to make a successful biodiversity protection reserve.
Students explore biodiversity and populations using Alaska's wildlife as their focus. In this environmental statistics lesson, students examine the concept of exponential growth in a population and calculate the change in population. Students compare reproductive rates to rates of population. They describe their graphs and three factors that affect the rate of population growth.
Matching and fill-in-the-blank exercises give biology whizzes a chance to practice vocabulary associated with evolution. Terms to be reviewed focus on evidence for evolution, natural selection concepts, and some genetics words. You could use this as a quiz at the end of your introduction to natural selection.
Students practice skills essential to all scientific investigation: carefully observing and collecting data. They become field biologists in a series of hands-on activities to collect and identify specimens, and survey and calculate the diversity of plant species in their local environment.
Students examine the influence genes have on the survival of an organism and describe biodiversity. Students simulate the relationship between healthy populations and healthy gene diversity of deers, and complete a "Bottleneck Genes" activity that demonstrates random assortments of genes using different colored jelly beans in a bottle.