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Utah Science

Curriculum Consortium

Tyson Grover 

tgrover@dsdmail.net

Annette Nielson

afonnesbeck@dsdmail.net

Standard 7.5.1: Construct an explanation that describes how the genetic variation of traits in a population can affect some individuals' probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment. Over time, specific traits may increase or decrease in populations. Emphasize the use of proportional reasoning to support explanations of trends in changes to populations over time. Examples could include camouflage, variation of body shape, speed and agility, or drought tolerance.

Student Friendly Objective: I can explain how some traits can increase or decrease an organism's chance of survival in a specific environment.

Anchor Phenomenon: Why do your fingers get wrinkled in water?

Big Idea: Certain traits can affect an organism’s probability of survival.

Students are engaged by looking at pictures of natural phenomena. Students are to see if they can find organisms that appear to be camouflaged or well blended into their environment.  Students are to look for patterns of adaptations. Students will try to explain what caused the changes in the organisms they observed. The teacher will lead a discussion explaining how organisms of a single species in different environments will change over time and a new species be developed.

 

Students will explore the phenomena of the Rock Pocket Mice.  They will obtain information and gather data about the mice and the two different environments that they live in.  Students will evaluate and communicate how the environmental backgrounds can affect the organism's ability to survive and reproduce thus passing on their fur traits to the next generation. students will communicate their data by creating graphs which explain surviving populations.

 

Students continue to explore adaptations due to environmental backgrounds and how populations can change over time.  They will look for patterns by experimenting with an online interactive activity that allows them to choose the environment, the organism coloration, and act as the predator of the Pepper Moths.  Students will gather data and understand the cause and effects of the moths changing appearance.

 

Next, students will plan and carry out an investigation to see how camouflage enables organisms to survive.  They will be cutting out a butterfly pattern and coloring it to create a camouflaged organism that will blend into the classroom environment. The students will try to decide where in the  room to tape it so it blends well enough that other students would not notice it.  Students will then be given an opportunity to locate or “Hunt” one butterfly of other students.  Seeing those that “Survive” will lead into a discussion of traits that allowed some to be found quickly while others were camouflaged beyond recognition.

 

As  a means of explaining how Adaptations occur students will be researching one Biome throughout the world. They will obtain information about the animals and plants that live their and the adaptations that have allowed them to survive.  After researching and obtaining information on one Biome, students will teach the other students in their group what they have learned.  The  focus on the teaching should be on the adaptations that affected the organism's ability to survival and to reproduce.

 

To elaborate on what they students have learned, they will do an activity where they create an organism.  Students are allowed to choose the traits of their organism which they feel will give it the best chance for survival in an unknown environment.  The teacher reads the scenario of the climate, the predator situation, and the necessary body adaptations needed for survival.  The students are able to see if their organism was successful. The entire class is of  the same population, but different traits. This will allow them to see that adaptations occur in a population instead of in individual organisms.

 

Finally, students will evaluate their understanding of organisms living in different environments and the need for adaptations to occur. The traits that the  organisms have will determine whether it will be able to adapt and survive in specific environment or die off. If it survives the environment then the traits will be passed on to the next generation of offspring.  Students will also be able to show their understanding of mutations and elaborate on whether the mutation is helpful or detrimental to the organism's survival.

Storyline Narrative 7.5.1

Conceptual Understandings

Organisms have adapted to their environment to escape predators.

Do adaptations occur in a population or individual organisms?

Snapshot

Students look at pictures to try and locate the camouflaged organisms and see if they can identify them. Students watch a video on animals once of the same species that have adapted to survive in different environments.

Episode 1

Question

Why have organisms become camouflaged to blend into their environment?

 

Episode 2

Question

What traits can affect an organism’s survival?

Snapshot

Students will obtain information and gather data about Rock Pocket Mice and the environments in which they live.  They will look at two locations with different colored rock and mice that are two colors and see how the environment affects survival.

Conceptual Understandings

The color of fur against the rocks of the environment can affect the population of mice that survived.

What traits can affect an organism’s survival?

 

Conceptual Understandings

An organism's traits can help them survive better in certain habitats.

What changes in an environment can have an effect on the organisms who live there?

Snapshot

Students will obtain information and gather data about Rock Pocket Mice and the environments in which they live. They will look at two locations with different colored rock and mice that are two colors and see how the environment affects survival.

Episode 3a

Question

What traits can affect an organism’s survival?

 

Episode 3b

Question

What traits can affect an organism’s survival?

Snapshot

Students will obtain information and gather evidence as they learn about a variety of organisms and their environments.

Conceptual Understandings

An organism's traits can help them survive better in certain habitats.

What changes in an environment can have an effect on the organisms who live there?

 

Episode 4

Question

What changes in an environment can have an effect on the organisms who live there?

Snapshot

Students will do an on-line simulation about the Pepper Moths. They will obtain information and look for patterns to understand the rise and fall of their populations.

Conceptual Understandings

Tree bark color tainted by pollution affected the population of Pepper Moths and their ability to hide from birds.

How does camouflage affect the ability of predators to see their prey?

 

Conceptual Understandings

Camouflage allows organisms to blend into the environment and thus not be seen by predators. Survival is the result.

Do all environments have the same requirements for survival of a species?

Snapshot

Students will plan and carry out an investigation on the ability to camouflage an organism by coloring a butterfly to blend into the classroom environment. Students will then be allowed to “hunt” for one butterfly within the room. A discussion will follow about those that were not found and that in real life they would pass on those beneficial traits to their offspring.

Episode 4: Extension Activity

Question

How does camouflage affect the ability of predators to see their prey?

 

Episode 5

Question

Do all environments have the same requirements for survival of a species? What adaptations are required for the survival on a species in different environments?

Snapshot

Students will participate in a jigsaw activity to see how living organisms have adapted to living in different environments all over the world.

Conceptual Understandings

Every Biome or environment requires different traits for survival of the organisms that live there.