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MUSE | Natural Selection | Unit Overview and Materials | Section 4: Extending the Natural Selection Model... | 4B: The Pheasant Case


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4B: The Pheasant Case

In this final material in the natural selection unit, students will develop a Darwinian explanation for the sexual dimorphism seen in coloration between the male and female ring-necked pheasant. This will be the culminating activity of the unit and will give students an opportunity to showcase their understanding of the natural selection model. During these instructional days, students will work in groups to develop their explanation and then they will also craft a research proposal to bolster some part of their explanation. On the last few days of the unit, students will participate in a grant funding competition in which they will present their explanations and proposals to their peers who will serve as the funding committee.

Successful completion of this material involves:

  • Working with a group to develop a Darwinian explanation for the bright coloration of male ring-necked pheasants

  • Developing a research proposal to investigate some aspect of their explanation

  • Presenting proposals to peers in a grant funding competition

  • Critiquing the proposals of other groups


By the end of these few days, students will have a written Darwinian explanation for the pheasant scenario and a written research proposal. They will also complete a critique of their classmate's proposals.