# Evolution in Action: Data Analysis

###### Description

These two activities allow students to analyze a data set of measurements taken from two populations of Galápagos finches. The activities support concepts covered in the short film *The Beak of the Finch*.

Students graph and analyze authentic data provided by evolutionary biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant. The data include wing length, body mass, and beak depth, and were taken from a sample of 100 medium ground finches (*Geospiza fortis*) living on the island of Daphne Major in the Galápagos archipelago. The complete data set is available in the accompanying Excel spreadsheet.

In the graphing activity, students are guided through the analysis of this sample of the Grants’ data by constructing and interpreting graphs, and calculating and interpreting descriptive statistics (mean, standard deviation, and 95% confidence interval). In the statistics activity, students analyze the data set using statistical tests, such as the Student’s t-test for independent samples, to help draw conclusions about the role of natural selection on morphological traits based on measurements.

The “Resource Google Folder” link directs to a Google Drive folder of resource documents in the Google Docs format. Not all downloadable documents for the resource may be available in this format. The Google Drive folder is set as “View Only”; to save a copy of a document in this folder to your Google Drive, open that document, then select File → “Make a copy.” These documents can be copied, modified, and distributed online following the Terms of Use listed in the “Details” section below, including crediting BioInteractive.

###### Student Learning Targets

- Graph primary research data using both bar graphs and a scatter plot graph.
- Evaluate the evidence provided in data sets in relation to a particular scientific question.
- Analyze the means between data sets with t-tests to determine the significance between data sets.
- Construct explanations using evidence about the role of natural selection on morphological traits, based on the measurements.
- Propose hypotheses to explain the trends illustrated in the graphs, based on an understanding of natural selection.

##### Details

confidence interval, histogram, mean, sample, standard deviation, trend line, t-test, variability

Grant, Rosemary B., and Peter R. Grant. “What Darwin's Finches Can Teach Us about the Evolutionary Origin and Regulation of Biodiversity.” *BioScience* 53, 10 (2003): 965–975. http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/53/10/965.full.pdf.

Please see the Terms of Use for information on how this resource can be used.

##### Curriculum Connections

HS-LS2-2, HS-LS4-3, HS-LS4-4; SEP4, SEP5, SEP6

1.A.1, 1.A.2, 1.A.4; SP2, SP5, SP6

5.2, C.1, C.5

II.A, II.C, III.A

2.1, 3.2

ELA.RST.9–12.7, ELA.WHST.9–12.1

Math.F-IF.7, Math.S-ID.1, Math.S-ID.2, Math.S-ID.3, Math-S-ID.4, Math.S-IC.1, Math.S-IC.3; MP1, MP2, MP5

CC1, CC5; DP1, DP2