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Life Science: About the Course

Teacher-Talk Life

[Teacher-talklife] Session 5: Variation, Adaptation, and Natural Selection

From: Joan Edgar <jedgar_at_hanoverschools.org>
Date: Tue, 26 Jun 2012 16:21:37 -0400

Hello fellow learners--
     Using dogs and cats and the artificial selection that has occurred for
a very long time now to get the traits that breeders want in the animals
would be fascinating for students. My 6th graders love their pets and
would be fascinated to hear how their dog's breed had been manipulated and
what purposes it was manipulated for. I know when my family was choosing
our dog, a corgi, we looked into different breeds and their traits and why
they were developed, and we all found it so interesting. We have also been
able to notice, as our little corgi Harry has grown up, which of his traits
seem very "corgi-like" and in what ways he seems his own little individual
     I believe this would be useful in understanding artificial selection,
but also in understanding how species' and breeds' traits affect their
behavior as well as their physical looks. This would be a great
jumping-off point, also, for looking at us humans as part of the animal
world, with traits we inherit that are specific to our own
family/race/etc., and traits that are human traits, just as there are dog,
cat or elephant traits.
     Getting to know the terms of variation, adaptation, mutation, natural
selection and evolution would be a good way to start the conversation, and
then letting them research their particular favorite breed of cat or dog
and catalog their traits and why they were developed and then applying the
terms used to those animals would give a good context for the students.
 The conversation could then move to humans and how they relate to the cat
and dog examples the students have just studied.
     I love the subject of variation, adaptation and natural
selection--humans and all other successful species rely on a great amount
of variation for their success!
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Received on Wed Jun 27 2012 - 10:12:03 EDT



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