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Evolutionstechnik or Selection and Variation in the Egyptian Origami Bird
This activity has students build, evolve, and modify paper-and-straw birds to simulate natural selection acting on random mutations and discover that: all organisms, including humans, retain evidence of their evolutionary history; form is often linked to function; mutations are random, but selection is not; and selection is dependent on many factors. In addition, they will realize that adaptations often persist in a population because they are in some way advantageous and are preserved in a population by natural selection. Also, students should see that inherited characteristics affect the likelihood of an organism's survival and reproduction, natural selection acts on individuals and populations in a nonrandom way, organisms cannot purposely produce adaptive mutations in response to environmental influences, and species have evolved as a result of natural selection acting upon inherited traits in changing environments. This site contains a list of materials and all information needed to complete this activity.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Lab activity
    • Guide for instructor
  • Biology
  • Geological Sciences:
    • Paleontology
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
All material on this website is protected by copyright, Copyright 1994-2004 by Access Excellence (AE) @ the National Health Museum (NHM). This website also contains material copyrighted by contributors (3rd parties). The access to and use of documents in the AE forum on the World Wide Web sponsored by NHM, is subject to the following terms and conditions: Lesson activities, articles and other documents are made available on the WWW for non-commercial, educational use by teachers and students. The copying or redistribution of these documents in any manner for personal or corporate gain is prohibited. Graphics, activities, or other materials from AE may not be copied onto any other web site for any purpose. Users may download these documents for their own use, subject to these and any additional terms or restrictions which may be provided with an individual document. Graphics must be accompanied by their complete legends. All downloaded material must be accompanied by the complete legend and by the URL of the page from which the material was downloaded and AE and NHM cited.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-005-643
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • C - Life science:
        • Diversity and adaptations of organisms
        • Reproduction and heredity
        • Structure and function in living systems
    • 9-12:
      • Unifying concepts and processes:
        • Evidence, models, and explanation
      • C - Life science:
        • Biological evolution
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Author: Karin Westerling
Matthew Gage Middle School

Publisher: Access Excellence, National Health Museum