Variation Lesson: The Great Jellybean Hunt

 Author: Thierra Nalley

AreaLife Sciences 

 Grade Level: 7-9


The goal of the game is to demonstrate how natural selection can act on populations to “fine tune” traits and characteristics. One specific purpose is to address a Lamarckian misconception of adaptation acquisition, being that organisms “acquire” traits out of “need.” This game reveals how natural selection and other evolutionary forces act on the variation already present to produce the animals we see today and in the fossil record. 

National Science Education Standards: Teaching Standards

This activity will address Arizona Science Standard Strand 1: Inquiry Process

  • Concept 1
    • PO 1. Formulate questions based on observations that lead to the development of a hypothesis
    • PO 3. Explain the role of a hypothesis in a scientific inquiry
  • Concept 2
    • PO 1. Demonstrate safe behavior and appropriate procedure
    • Po 3. Conduct a controlled investigation, utilizing multiple trials, to test a hypothesis using scientific processes.
    • PO 5. Keep a record of observations, notes, sketches, questions, and ideas using tools such as written and/or computer logs.
  • Concept 3
    • PO 1. Analyze data obtained in a scientific investigation to identify trends.
    • PO 2. Form a logical argument about a correlation between a variable and sequence of events.
    • PO 3. Analyze results of data collection in order to accept or reject the hypothesis
    • PO 5. Formulate a conclusion based on data analysis
    • PO 6. Refine hypothesis based on results from investigations.
    • PO 7. Formulate new questions based on the results of the previous investigation
  • Concept 4
    • PO1. Graphic representation of data
    • PO 2. Display data
    • PO 3. Communicate the results of an investigation with appropriate use of qualitative and quantitative information.
    • PO 5. Communicate the results and conclusion of the investigation.

The National Science Standards that are will be address include the concepts of

  • Reproduction and Heredity
    • The characteristics of an organism can be described in terms of a combination of traits. Some traits are inherited and others result from interactions with the environment.
  • Populations and Ecosystems
    • A population consists of all individuals of a species that occur together at a given place and time.
    • Populations of organisms can be categorized by the function they serve in an ecosystem.
  • Diversity and Adaptations of Organisms
    • Millions of species of animals, plants and microorganisms are alive today. Although different species might look similar, the unity among organisms becomes apparent from an analysis of internal structures, chemical processes, and the evidence of common ancestry.
    • Biological evolution accounts for the diversity of species developed through gradual processes over many generations. Species acquire many of their unique characteristics through biological adaptation, which involves selection of naturally occurring variations in populations. Extinction of a species occurs when the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics of a species are insufficient to allow its survival. Fossils indicate that many organisms that lived long ago are extinct. Extinction of species is common; most of the species that have lived on the earth no longer exist


 Keywords: Population, Predation, Ecosystem, Traits, Extinction



 Lesson Plan (pdf / doc)
 Handout (pdf / doc)