Not your Grandma's Armadillo

Natural Selection
Natural Selection; adaptation, fossil, extinction, stratum, superposition, paleontology, traits, survival advantage
90 minutes (6 15-minute quests)

Unfamiliar animal remains have been found on the Island. How did they get there, and do these animals still exist? Students will learn about how the ways life has changed over the last several millennia, and why different traits thrive or go extinct under various environmental pressures. Students use rock strata to understand the chronology of long-ago events and compare fossils to extant animals to see what changes have--or haven't--survived.

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Standards Covered

MS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence that describes how genetic variations of traits in a population increase some individuals’ probability of surviving and reproducing in a specific environment. MS-LS4-6. Use mathematical representations to support explanations of how natural selection may lead to increases and decreases of specific traits in populations over time.

Anchoring Phenomena & Topics Covered

Natural Selection; adaptation, fossil, extinction, stratum, superposition, paleontology, traits, survival advantage

Real World Connections

This story emulates scientific discoveries with adaptation and species discovery such as with the Rock Pocket Mice and Olinguitos. Students can explore how animals within their own communities adapt to the environments to survive.

Teacher Guide

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Digging In

Paleontologist Jacques discovered some interesting remains at a fossil dig site that don't look like any Ovonian animal he has seen before. He asks students to help him identify the animal these remains belong to. Do these animals still exist on the island? How did they get here? How did they survive? 

Searching Near and Far(madillo)

Once students identify the mystery remains, Jacques wants to explore the island to see if these animals still populate it! First, students research how to track Armadillos so they know what to look for. Students also explore what may have happened to the other mystery species and why it may not have survived.

A 'Dillo of a Different Color

Students learn that there are in fact Armadillos populating the island. However, not all of these armadillos look the same. Students investigate why these color changes may have occurred. Students also interpret data collected to predict what will happen to the different colored armadillos in the future.

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