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Exploring Selection with Wisconsin Fast Plants® and Cotyledons

$9.95 - $95.00 Quantity Discount Available

This hands-on lab allows students to explore selection by observing, collecting, and analyzing phenotype data from 2 plant generations. It is appropriate for high school students and provides enough materials for 10 lab groups. Supports NGSS and 3-dimensional instruction.

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Grades 9–12. Starting with the hands-on portion of the lab, students grow Wisconsin Fast Plants® seedlings that can be dicots (having 2 cotyledons) or polycots (having more than 2 cotyledons). Students grow a first generation and are asked to note what traits they see as varying among the seedlings. Through discussion, students' attention is gradually focused on the difference in cotyledon number. They are asked to develop an experiment to help determine why the seedlings vary in cotyledon number. Is the trait genetically or environmentally determined? In the second investigation, students germinate second generation seeds that were produced by a cross of 2 parents that both exhibited the polycot trait. Students then observe whether the percentage of polycots in the 2 generations differs and determine the statistical significance of any observed difference.

Time Requirement
Approximately six 50-minute class periods over the course of 9 to 10 days.

Digital Resources
Includes 1-year access to digital resources that support 3-dimensional instruction for NGSS. Digital resources may include a teacher manual and student guide, pre-lab activities and setup videos, phenomenon videos, simulations, and post-lab analysis and assessments.

Performance Expectation(s)

Crosscutting Concepts
Stability and Change

Disciplinary Core Ideas
Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

Science and Engineering Practices
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Constructing Explanations

Learning Objectives
Apply concepts of statistics and probability to support explanations that organisms with an advantageous heritable trait tend to increase in proportion to organisms lacking this trait. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.

Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills

  • Basic knowledge of gene inheritance, including Mendelian inheritance
  • Understanding of genes, mRNA, and protein and how they are related
  • Introductory familiarity with natural selection
  • Basic math skills (addition, division, squaring, ratios, graphing, etc.)