Monday, 28 January 2013

Hands on Theory: Natural Selection Simulation

This simulation is an idea of a colleague who I work with this year in the Science Department. The simulation worked really well and look forward to using it again! It is to simulate Natural Selection

The students used forks, knives and spoons to pick up Smarties (beans, M&M's etc could be used also) to simulate trait variation and differential survival within a population. Each student also got a plastic cup to act as their "stomach". Individuals competed using only their utensil to get as much "food" in a given time. After each round students look at what happened and what repercussions it would have in the environment. Who will die out? Who will have greatest success to produce offspring for the next generation?

The utensil that dies out will come back in the next round (or generation) as the offspring of the most successful utensil.  Continue for a few more generations and observed how natural selection can alter the frequency of  different traits over time within a population, leading to the survival of the fittest.

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