How Can We Explain Evolutionary Relationships among Species?
In this inquiry-based activity, students engage in science practices to figure out ways environmental factors drive the natural selection and adaptation of Galápagos finches.
This activity is based on content covered in the short film The Origin of Species: The Beak of the Finch. Instead of front-loading information from the film, the activity guides students through “figuring out” the key concepts first. Students make observations, analyze data, search for patterns and cause-and-effect relationships, construct arguments, and make predictions about the evolution of finch populations.
The “Card Images” ZIP file contains individual image files for the cards used in this activity that can be used in the classroom, particularly in online courses. A document within the ZIP file contains suggestions for their use. These card images are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) license. We would ask that you attribute these to BioInteractive and not use them for commercial purposes.
Student Learning Targets
- Use evidence from observations to make claims and construct arguments about the evolution of Galápagos finches.
- Use data to make predictions about the evolutionary relationships among finch species.
- Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information regarding how evidence can change thinking about scientific phenomena.
adaptation, DNA sequencing, evolutionary tree, finch, reproduction, selective pressure, spectrogram, survival, trait, variation
The resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license. No rights are granted to use HHMI’s or BioInteractive’s names or logos independent from this Resource or in any derivative works.
Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS-1, HS-LS4-4, HS-LS4-5; SEP6, SEP7
AP Biology 2019
EVO-1.C, EVO-1.D, EVO-1.G, EVO-3.B, EVO-3.D; SP1, SP3, SP6
IB Biology 2016
AP Environmental Science 2020
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-2.H; SP1
IB Environmental Systems and Societies 2017
Common Core 2010
Vision and Change 2009
CC1, CC3, CC4; DP1