Reflection: Student Ownership The Orange Circle Theory (Day #1 of 3) - Section 3: Instructional Input/Student Activities


This reflection is brought to you by the letters V, A, S, R and the number 5.*

Let's return to the original standards that are driving this little bus along the pathway of understanding.

1. students will construct an explanation based on the evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors# (HS-LS4-2):

  • the potential for a species to increase in number (survival/selection then reproduction)
  • the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, among other factors (variation and reproduction)
  • competition for limited resources (variation and selection), and
  • the proliferation (reproduction) of those organisms that are better able to survive (variation and selection) and reproduce in an environment

2. students will construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations, including effect(s) of changing biotic and abiotic conditions on resulting in changing adaptations among members of a population. (HS-LS4-4)

 I have taken the liberty to highlight the concepts embodied in the Orange Circle mental model. What is important for me to clearly communicate is the meaning of each individual concept but moreover how these concepts are intertwined. Certainly, any model (physical, mental, mathematical, or otherwise) will break down when pushed to the "nth" degree of scrutiny. What I hope other educators (such as yourself) will see is the merit in linking these concepts in somewhat of a linear way. That is one gives rise to the other and so forth. And we are considering scales of populations of organisms and many generational cycles over great amounts of time to be clear.

It will be evident to all that this student's Orange Circle Theory Notes represents the basic flow of the mental model.

V is for "variation" which is the product of genetics (largely).

A is for "adaptation" which is the largely inherited phenotype produced by the varied genotype (thus linking genetics to natural selection).

S is for "selection" which is how the environment and its inhabitants tries to kill each other. For a good laugh about the allegedly "homey" environment that Earth provides life forms, check out this Neil deGrasse Tyson clip.

R is for "reproduction" which is about the birds and the bees and how the search for mates essentially breaks down to Disney's Beauty & the Beast; think peacock and bull elks for example rather than Belle and Beast.

S is for "speciation" which attempts to describe the nature of the tree of life and how branches are formed from the main trunk. It is about preventing the birds and bees from happening among some members of the population.

*For those readers who didn't get the reference and homage to Sesame Street, 1) you make me feel too old and 2) you need to binge watch some on Netflix or Hulu.

#BTW: In my mental model, I stretch four into five factors.

  Student Ownership: Evolution is a shape?
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The Orange Circle Theory (Day #1 of 3)

Unit 6: 6) Exploring Change ("The Theory of Natural Selection")
Lesson 10 of 15

Objective: 1. Construct an explanation based on the evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors, including reproductive potential, heritable variation, scarcity of resources, and survival of the fittest. (HS-LS4-2) 2. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations. (HS-LS4-4)

Big Idea: The Theory of Natural Selection can be thought of an on-going cycle whereby generations of populations encounter an ever changing environment that selects winners and losers. To the winners go the spoils!

  Print Lesson
Science, natural selection (Evolution), variation (Evolution), reproductive potential, Speciation, theory (Scientific Method), case study, mental model, adaptation, reproduction, selection, Charles Darwin, finches, generations, species, Survival of the Fittest
  55 minutes
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