Science
Strand III
Use Scientific Knowledge from the Life Sciences in Real-World Contexts

 

Science/Strand III
Content Standard 4
All students will explain how scientists construct and scientifically test theories concerning the origin of life and evolution of species; compare ways that living organisms are adapted (suited) to survive and reproduce in their environments; and analyze how species change through time. (Evolution)

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 4
Middle School

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 4/Middle School
Benchmark 2
Explain how new traits might become established in a population and how species become extinct.

Benchmark Clarification

The world is constantly changing and species must adapt in order to survive. Natural selection will determine which new traits are successfully passed on to the next generation. A new trait may allow an individual to survive long enough to reproduce and pass on the new trait to its offspring. This adaptation ensures the reproductive success of the species.

Students will:

  • Debate the possible reasons why a given species might become extinct, such as an organism fails to adapt, human impact on the environment, or asteroids
  • Hypothesize the possible changes species may undergo, such as behavioral changes (mating rituals, migratory patterns) or physical changes (color, height, structure)

Key Concept / Real World Context / Instructional Example / Assessment Example / Resources

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 4/Middle School/Benchmark 2
Key Concept

  • environmental change
  • variation in populations
  • reproductive success

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 4/Middle School/Benchmark 2
Real World Context
Examples of inheritable and non-inheritable variations, such as:

  • white-eyed fruit fly
  • scars

Examples of variations due to new gene combinations, such as:

  • hybrid organisms

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 4/Middle School/Benchmark 2
Instructional Example

Benchmark Question: How do species change through time?

Focus Question: How can new traits become established in a population?

Begin by finding out what students know about moths. With a partner, students will brainstorm at least ten questions they have about moths. The partners will share their questions with the class and organize their questions into common categories. Then, the teacher will ask students to think about how moths may adapt to survive. Look at the class list of questions. The teacher will ask students to focus on the questions related to successful moth adaptations.

Next, share the scenario of a real-world occurrence that happened with the peppered moth in England:

In the early 1800s, the majority of the moths were light-colored, allowing them to blend into the light-colored tree bark. By the late 1800s, the peppered moth population had adapted their coloring to a darker color. With an expansion of local industries, air pollution covered tree bark with dark soot. Moths adapted their coloring to a darker hue in order to survive. As clean-up began and pollution was reduced, the light colored moth population began increasing.

Students will cut out equal numbers of black, red, white, and newspaper moths and glue them down on a piece of newspaper. Students will review each other’s pictures to see which color moths are most easily seen.

Students will create their own models of moth species they think would best survive in this newspaper environment. Students will present their models and explain the traits the moths have acquired.

Constructing: (SCI.I.1.MS.1).

Reflecting: (SCI.II.1.MS.1), (SCI.II.1.MS.2), (SCI.II.1.MS.3), (SCI.II.1.MS.5).

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 4/Middle School/Benchmark 2
Assessment Example

The teacher will give the students the following imaginary newspaper article:

Scientists Discover New Organisms Living in a Student’s Bedroom

Scientists believe the new organism was first introduced when the student was attending elementary school. Over time, scientists noticed that newer generations of offspring appeared to have developed/adapted several new traits*. It is felt that these traits developed as a result of the changing bedroom environment.

Students should work in pairs and imagine that they are the student in the scenario. They should select an organism they think might be found in one of their bedrooms after they graduate from 8th grade. They should construct a model of the organism and present it to the class. They should explain which new traits were acquired and the reasons for these adaptations.

* Possible traits: heavier outer layer/coating, changes in coloring, loss of hearing, longer legs, change in diet, change in sleeping pattern.

(Give students rubric before activity.)

Scoring Rubric

Criteria

Apprentice

Basic

Meets

Exceeds

Completeness of model

Develops a model that lacks adaptive traits.

Develops a model that shows one adaptive trait.

Develops an accurate model that clearly shows one to three logical adaptive traits.

Develops an in-depth model that clearly shows numerous logical adaptive traits.

Completeness of explanation

Proposes a sketchy explanation for the acquisition of new traits.

Proposes a brief explanation for the acquisition of new traits.

Formulates a clear explanation for the acquisition of new traits.

Formulates a detailed explanation for the acquisition of new traits.

Completeness of presentation

Presents information in an incomplete, difficult to understand manner.

Presents information in a fairly interesting, easy to understand, creative manner.

Presents information in an interesting, easy to understand, creative manner.

Presents information in an interesting, easy to understand, creative manner with additional visuals.

 

Science/Strand III/Content Standard 4/Middle School/Benchmark 2
Resources

Webliography.
http://mtn.merit.edu/mcf/SCI.III.4.MS.2.html

Critters. AIMS.
http://wwws.aimsedu.org/aimscatalog/default.tpl

Stein, Sara. The Evolution Book. Workman Publishing, 1986.

“Where Have All the Condors Gone?” Breakthroughs: Strategies for Thinking,
Zaner-Bloser, Inc.,1990.