HomeHHMI's BioInteractiveFilm Guides: Natural Selection and Adaptation


Free Resources for Science Education

Film Guides
Film Guides: Natural Selection and Adaptation


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.

Note: The In-Depth Guide was updated October 2014 to incorporate pause points and discussion questions for the film.

These guides and quiz support the short film The Making of the Fittest: Natural Selection and Adaptation. The “At a Glance Film Guide” provides a short summary of the film, along with key concepts and ties to selected curricula and textbooks. The “In-Depth Film Guide for Teachers” includes a more detailed summary and background information, discussion points, lists of related resources and references, and answers to the accompanying student “Quiz.” The "Quiz" is designed as a summative assessment that probes student understanding of the key concepts addressed in the film. These documents are updated as new information and resources become available.

Curriculum Connections:

NGSS (April 2013)

AP Biology (2012–13)
1.A.1, 1.A.2, 1.C.3, 3.C.1, 3.C.2

IB Biology (2009)
4.1, 5.4, D2

APES: Themes and Topics (2013)
Themes: 1, 3 Topics: II.A, II.C

Supporting Materials (7)

Short Film
The rock pocket mouse is a living example of Darwin’s process of natural selection.
Interactive Video
Embedded quiz modules test students’ understanding as they watch the short film on the rock pocket mouse—a living example of Darwin’s process of natural selection.
Classroom Resource
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.
Classroom Resource
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.
Classroom Resource
A lesson that uses real rock pocket mouse data collected by Dr. Michael Nachman and his colleagues to illustrate the Hardy-Weinberg principle.
Classroom Resource
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.
Classroom Resource
A data collection and analysis lesson that examines selection for coat color in pocket mouse populations on different color substrates over time.

Download this item