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WS_Science By You Activity_Evolution of Finches

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Page 2 + ward ' s science 5100 West Henrietta Road • PO Box 92912 • Rochester, New York 14692-9012 • p: 800 962-2660 • wardsci.com Find materials for this activity at wardsci.com. Discover more free activities at wardsworld.wardsci.com Step-by-Step Procedure: Summary: Students will compete within their group to identify the best evolutionary adaptations of finch beaks using a wide variety of food sources. Objectives: • Students will be able to identify adaptations to environments • Students will be able to identify generalists and specialists • Students will be able to graph different types of data Materials: • Birds (Students) – 1 pair of tweezers – 2 forks with a rubber band – 2 popsicle sticks – 2 toothpicks – 1 clothes pin – 5 cups Background: Charles Darwin observed that different islands had different finches with varying beak sizes. Darwin hypothesized that birds adapted to their environment by beak size. The evolution of the beak size led to survival of the fittest. Darwin's theory of evolution states that the fittest organisms survive and reproduce to pass their genes onto future generations. Warm up: • Who is Charles Darwin? • Can organisms with different adaptations successfully cohabitate? • What is meant by the term "survival of the fittest?" The Activity • Students are going to play the role of five different birds on an island • Scatter the bag of food randomly on the lab table. • Students will set a timer for 45 seconds as they attempt to "eat", move the food from the table to their cup, as much food off of the table. • At the end of 45 seconds, have each student count the number of different foods in their cup. Record these numbers on the data table. • Place all food back on the table randomly. • Switch the beak type of each student, then continue hunting 4 more times swapping beak types each time. • Record how much food was eaten each time. Expected Results: Results may vary based on materials used, setup, procedure, and other factors, however, here are a few examples on what to expect: Students should be able to see that different beak sizes and techniques allow for different beak sizes to prosper depending on the environment. Teaching Notes: Remind students to eat only one food at a time to get more realistic results. Evolution of Finches (continued) • Foods (Plastic Bag) – White Beans (Larvae) – Black Beans (Ants) – Cut up rubber bands (Worms) – Pipe Cleaners (Caterpillars) – Cotton Balls (Berries)

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