Natural Selection Computer Lab

Follow the path below to complete the entire activity

Part One (Recipe for Evolution)

Go to “Recipe for Evolution: Variation, Selection & Time” from Learn.Genetics. Listen to the dialog as you click through the slides and complete the questions on the handout.

Part Two (Sources of Variation)

Go to “Sources of Variation" from Learn.Genetics. Click through the slides and complete the questions on the handout.

Part Three (Tracking Traits Through Time)

Go to and complete the interactive exploration “Tracking Traits Through Time”. Read the paragraph at the top of the page referring to the animal family tree. This is more commonly known as a phylogenic tree and we will be working with this some more when we cover taxonomy. You can click the gray buttons to learn more about important events in evolution. Pay attention to how some of the animals light up when the cursor is over the gray button. This shows which animals were affected by that evolutionary event. Complete the questions on the handout.

Part Four (Rock Pocket Mice)

Go to the“Rock Pocket Mice” interactive exploration. Read the section at the top of the screen and complete the first two questions on the handout. Complete the activity changing the background rock color to see the effect on population numbers in the mice. Make sure not to change too quickly so you can visualize the full effects of the change in environment. Complete the remaining question.

Part Five (Exploration)

Explore the rest of the activities listed in the evolution section of the learn genetics website and be prepared to discuss some articles or activities you found interesting. Make notes below or on the back of the handout.

It is important to remember the key points of evolution.

  1. There is variation within every species due to mutation and recombination.
  2. Because of this variation, some organisms are more likely to survive in an environment than others.
  3. Those most fit to survive are MORE LIKELY to have offspring and pass on their favorable traits to their offspring.
  4. Over time, those favorable traits accumulate and new species can evolve. (This is a very long process, does not happen within an organisms lifetime… we are talking, hundreds, thousands, millions of years!!!

NOTE: There is NO peppered moth graphing activity for homework.