Evolution & Genetics Project

How this project will work

Instead of having you write down answers to all of the questions on the ConnectedBio site, I will post 1-2 more general questions on the forum to make sure everyone is understanding the material. Monday will be our forum day, as well as the deadline to post at least one answer or comment on the question. You should have a post under each forum topic, I’ve made one for each lesson (more if needed).

I’ll be on the forum Monday afternoons from 3-8 pm if that works for everyone, but if it doesn’t, you can post Sunday, earlier on Monday, or whatever works for you. Please check weekly for the new forum topics! I will put the date in the title along with the lesson number so you have your assignments (I’ll also email these).

Using the ConnectedBio class on Concord Consortium

Go to https://learn.concord.org/

  • Click on”Register”
  • Hit “I am a student”in the pop-up, complete the form
  • Click ​”Next”, and then Enter the unique ​Class Word​ for our class (this is a public page, so please see the email I sent) and click “​Sign Up”.
  • You should then see “Deer Mouse Fur Color” on the page.
  • Hit “Run”, and you will see the list of activities and the different units we will be doing. There are a total of 5 units, and I’ll try to break up the units to be a reasonable amount of work for each week. Since meetings will not be the core of this project, but your individual work, you can put the number of hours you worked on this (an estimate is fine) in your record book for the APR for this project.

I can see the answers you type into the boxes, but there’s no way to discuss things together or make comments on each other’s thinking. You should definitely think about the questions and write down your answers in a document or in a notebook (the program might not allow you to progress without typing in something, just keep it short), but I am not going to copy all of the questions verbatim for work on here. Instead, I’ll write a more general question (or two) for your forum posts to check understanding and generate discussion.

For each forum topic with a new lesson, I’ve outlined any helpful information or outside resources, and will also be using this page to keep everything in one place.

The Driving Question Document

Our WordPress site allows for collaboration on documents, and so I made a Driving Question document for all of us. What is a Driving Question?

Well, in short, it is a Big Question, or the underlying answer you are trying to find when learning about a topic or field. For this project, we will tend to have one Driving Question per project, and for the Deer Mouse Fur Color part, the driving question is; “Why do different mouse subspecies have different fur colors in different habitats?

As we move through the material, I’ll ask you to contribute thoughts and ideas to the Driving Question document. Don’t worry about coming up with the “right” answer to this question, as the history of science sometimes shows, it is about asking the right questions. Many, many scientists have believed that they had the “right” answer to a topic of the day, but history proved them wrong, and that happens still today. Learning how to be fearless in your questioning and brainstorming will serve you well later on, and being fearless means not being afraid of being wrong.

Use the Student Field Notebook #1

Either print out this document or use a digital copy to serve as your notebook to take notes and answer questions as you work through the lessons above. Some of the questions are duplicated on the webpage, but the notebook has space to copy data and serves as a nice hard copy for you.


Walkthrough of the lessons and additional resources (copied to forum topics)

Lesson 1.1: Natural History

  • Learn about deer mice (some reading and a video)
  • Answer question inside the lesson (they’ll be saved so we can use them as a class)
  • Look at some actual data collected on field studies
  • Introduction to CODAP, a graphing program we’ll use to analyze data.
  • Using CODAP, analyze the data. Don’t worry if you have some problems with this! Use the forums to ask me questions (or even email). We’ll also use the October meeting to discuss what the data are showing us – it is perfectly okay to feel a little unsure of what you are supposed to see, we’ll figure it out together.

Lesson 1.2: Ecology

  • Use the simulation to see what happens when predators enter the equation with deer mice. This is fun to do, so play with the settings and experiment.
  • Collect some of your own data using the simulation.
  • Use the simulation to figure out what happens where there are no predators.
  • Create your own model of what is happening with the deer mice and predators. Answer the questions.

Use the Student Field Notebook for Unit #1 to keep track of the data:

Unit 1 Summary

  • You can do this on your own, but we’ll probably work on this together during our meeting. It is short and sweet, just a summary of what we’ve done so far.