What You Need:
- Slotted spoons
- Salad tongs
- Shredded wheat (slightly wetted with water)
- Cooked noodles
- Sunflower seeds
What Do You Do?
- Get different types of “food” ready in bowls.
- Assign each student in a group of 4 one type of “beak”.
- In a given amount of time, have each student use their beak to collect as much food as possible.
- Rotate the types of food between the groups, as well as the beaks within the groups, and tally up the collections.
- Which beak worked best for each type of food?
Darwin was amazed by the variation in the characteristics of plants and animals he encountered on his journey. In any habitat, food is limited and the types of foods available may vary. Animals that have variations that enable them to take advantage of available foods will be more likely to survive. We call beneficial inherited variations adaptations. Adaptations are inherited characteristics that increase an organism’s chance of survival. Those with the most helpful adaptations will be the most likely to live long enough to pass on their genes to the next generation. This process ensures that beneficial adaptations will continue in future generations, while disadvantageous characteristics will not.