This series of short films has been crafted to engage students with memorable examples of the evolutionary process in action.
After the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago, populations of marine stickleback fish became stranded in freshwater lakes dotted throughout the Northern Hemisphere in places of natural beauty like Alaska and British Columbia. These remarkable little fish have adapted and thrive, living...
Scientists have pieced together the evolutionary history of the Antarctic icefish. The icefish makes an excellent case study for genetic evolution as both the gain and loss of genes have led to key adaptations.
In some parts of the world, there is an intimate connection between the infectious parasitic disease malaria and the genetic disease sickle cell anemia.
This virtual lab teaches skills of data collection and analysis to study evolutionary processes using stickleback fish and fossil specimens.
These classroom-ready resources complement the short film Evolving Switches, Evolving Bodies, which tells the story of the dramatic transformation of stickleback fish as they adapted to living in freshwater habitats drastically different from the ocean.
A worksheet that guides students through The Stickleback Evolution Virtual Lab. The virtual lab lets students learn firsthand the methods for analyzing body structure in stickleback collected from lakes and fossils recovered from a quarry. Students measure, record, and...
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation, which describes the physical and genetic evolutionary changes in rock pocket mouse populations.
A data collection and analysis lesson that examines selection for coat color in pocket mouse populations on different color substrates over time.
A lesson that uses real rock pocket mouse data collected by Dr. Michael Nachman and his colleagues to illustrate the Hardy-Weinberg principle.
A lesson that requires students to transcribe and translate portions of the wild-type and mutant rock pocket mouse Mc1r genes and compare sequences to identify the locations and types of mutations responsible for the coat color variation described in the film.
An advanced lesson that requires students to analyze partial DNA sequences of the Mc1r gene and identify the effects of mutations on the MC1R protein pathway.
An activity in which students analyze amino acid data and draw conclusions about the evolution of coat color phenotypes in different rock pocket mouse populations.
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: The Birth and Death of Genes, which describes how scientists have pieced together the evolutionary history of the Antarctic icefish. The icefish makes an excellent case study for genetic evolution as...
A simple activity that investigates the importance of antifreeze proteins to icefish survival.
An advanced lesson that describes the role of mutations in the birth and death of genes. It includes background information, examples, video clips, and animations.
A simple demonstration that uses readily-available materials to simulate how blood pumps through the circulatory system of icefish and other fish.
A dramatic demonstration that simulates how tiny ice crystals would form and grow in the blood of most fish if they ventured into the icy waters of the Antarctic.
The following classroom-ready resources complement The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection in Humans, which describes the connection between malaria and sickle cell anemia—one of the best-understood examples of natural selection in humans.
A worksheet designed to show students how scientists make their discoveries. It provides students with background information about how Dr. Allison's work built upon the contributions made by other scientists.
A worksheet designed to actively engage students as they watch the film. Students are asked to answer questions pertaining to the information provided in the film.
A hands-on activity in which students construct models of sickle-cell hemoglobin fibers inside red blood cells to illustrate how changes in the structure of a protein can affect cell shape. Students are then asked to relate these changes to disease symptoms.
A hands-on activity that uses simulations with beads to teach students about population genetics, the Hardy-Weinberg principle, and how natural selection alters the frequency distribution of heritable traits.
The following classroom-ready resources complement Got Lactase? The Co-evolution of Genes and Culture, which tells the story of the evolution of the ability to digest lactose, a genetic trait that arose in humans within the last 10,000 years in some pastoralist cultures.
Follow human geneticist Spencer Wells, Director of the Genographic Project of the National Geographic Society, as he tracks down the genetic changes associated with the ability to digest lactose as adults, tracing the origin of the trait to less than 10,000 years ago, a time when some human...