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.
Appropriate for: high school biology (all levels), introductory college biology.
This lesson serves as an extension to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute short film The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation. It provides an opportunity for students to analyze amino acid data and draw conclusions about the evolution of coat-color phenotypes in the rock pocket mouse. Students review key concepts and mechanisms of evolution, including mutation, gene flow (or migration), genetic drift, and natural selection. Students should come to understand that evolution can and does repeat itself.
NGSS (April 2013)
HS-LS1-1, HS-LS3-1, HS-LS4-2, HS-LS4-4, HS-LS4-5, HS.LS1.A, HS.LS4.B, HS.LS4.C
Common Core (2010)
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.9-10.2, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.3, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.4, CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RST.9-10.7
AP Biology (2012–13)
1.A.1, 1.A.2, 1.C.3, 3.C.1, 4.A.1, 4.B.1
IB Biology (2009)
4.1, 4.3, 5.4, D.2, G.1