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MUSE | Natural Selection | Unit Overview and Materials | Section 4: Extending the Natural Selection Model... | 4A: Monarch/Viceroy Case


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4A: Monarch/Viceroy Case:

During the days that students will work with the case materials presented here, they will have an opportunity to use their understanding of the natural selection model to explain phenomena. For this case they will be asked to account for the bright coloration of and the similarity between monarch and viceroy butterflies. In order to do this they will work in groups to develop a Darwinian explanation using the narrative structure developed in material 3B. They will then present their ideas to their peers and discuss the different explanations in a round table forum.

Successful completion of this material includes:

  • Working with a group to develop a Darwinian explanation for the bright coloration of monarch and viceroy butterflies and the similarity in color patterns seen between the two species

  • Explicitly connecting the data from the case to the explanation

  • Participating in a class discussion around the case

  • Reading and answering questions about the scientific debate over mimicry and warning coloration


Each group will turn in a written Darwinian explanation and a second essay that details how they used the data in the case in developing their explanation. They will also provide written answers to questions about the mimicry and warning coloration readings.