Artificial Selection

This Artificial Selection activity & project also includes:

Give young biologists a firsthand look at the process of evolution with this engaging student-centered science investigation. Taking advantage of the rapid life cycle of the Wisconsin Fast Plant, this experiment involves students growing one generation of plants and then artificially selecting a specific trait to see if they can influence the characteristics of subsequent generations. A great opportunity for students to practice using the scientific method in a meaningful context.

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CCSS: Adaptable
NGSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Perform this experiment over the course of a high school biology unit on evolution
  • Create lab manuals out of pages 12-18 in this resource to support the class with carrying out the investigation
  • Depending on the abilities of your students, you can either allow them to design their own artificial selection experiments, or you can perform the same one as a whole class
Classroom Considerations

  • The timing of this experiment is lengthy, so be sure to plan ahead and take into account any school holidays or special events
  • Lesson calls for a supply of Wisconsin Fast Plant seeds and scientific equipment for growing plants, which may need to be purchased depending on the supplies available at your school

  • A step-by-step procedure is provided with photographs that visually demonstrate how to perform the experiment
  • A teacher's guide that includes background knowledge and tips for implementing this inquiry-based lesson is included

  • The instructor will need to create lab sheets for recording data and observations during the experiment