These two activities support the film The Origin of Species: The Beak of the Finch. They provide students with the opportunity to analyze data collected by Princeton University evolutionary biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant.
The Grants have provided morphological measurements, including wing length, body mass, and beak depth, taken from a sample of 100 medium ground finches (Geospiza fortis) living on the island of Daphne Major in the Galápagos archipelago. The complete data set is available in the accompanying Excel spreadsheet.
In one activity, entitled “Evolution in Action: Graphing and Statistics,” students are guided through the analysis of this sample of the Grants’ data by constructing and interpreting graphs, and calculating and interpreting descriptive statistics. The second activity. “Evolution in Action: Statistical Analysis,” provides an example of how the data set can be analyzed using statistical tests, in particular the Student’s t-Test for independent samples, to help draw conclusions about the role of natural selection on morphological traits based on measurements.
NGSS (April 2013)
HS-LS4-2, HS-LS4-3, HS-LS4-4, HS-LS4-5, HS-LS4.B, HS-LS4.C, Science and Engineering Practices 4-7
1.A.1, 1.A.4, 1.C.1, 1.C.2, Science Practice 5
Topic 1, 5.1, 5.4, D2