Reflection: Real World Applications The Orange Circle Theory (Day #3 of 3) - Section 3: Instructional Input/Student Activities


The case studies produced by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that are featured in this lesson are simply outstanding. They are short, packed with biological content and concepts, contemporary, and intriguing. I really hope you will check them out. Let's unpack this student's notes regarding the Antarctic Ice Fish Case Study.

I have broken down the prompt, cited the student response(s), then evaluated the response from a teacher POV.

1) Prompt: "...adaptation of populations..." 

Student response: "many mutations though similar to old" & "colorless blood-all white" (lack of hemoglobin gene)

Evaluation of response: Correct! The birth and death of genes is very peculiar and largely relies on deletion and duplication of genes with concordant mutation to "rewrite the code". This student has captured the essence of an old gene being changed but resembling the new gene with the resulting loss of hemoglobin (colorless blood).

2) Prompt: "...effects of changing biotic and abiotic conditions..."

Student response: "other fish with hemoglobin would freeze in such a low temperature

Evaluation of response: Correct! Certainly survival depends, in part, upon favorable environmental conditions. According to geological theory, when Antarctica broke away from S. America, the prevailing currents changed in such a way that the waters surrounding Antarctica dropped to below freezing. This caused resident fish to either adapt, migrate, or die. So it seems, the ice fish adapted!

3) Prompt: "...resulting in changing adaptations among members of a population..."

Student response: "So far away so this species" & "eventually genes die with enough mutations"

Evaluation of response: Partially correct or incomplete (at best)! he links the concepts of variation (genotype) with adaptation (phenotype) in general (clause #2) however mentioning the relative distance of the species to some other reference point seems irrelevant but could prove to be meaningful had he elaborated further.

  Real World Applications: Applying the model to real world situations
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The Orange Circle Theory (Day #3 of 3)

Unit 6: 6) Exploring Change ("The Theory of Natural Selection")
Lesson 12 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!

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