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EDUC 2220- Educational Technology Lesson Plan Template

Artificial Selection: Why are dogs so cute


Noah McKnight
(8th grade biology)

Common Core Standards:


List the standards your lesson will address It is fine to copy and paste the standards.
Explain how variations in structure, behavior or physiology allow some organisms to enhance their
reproductive success and survival in a particular environment. (ORC Resources)
Explain that diversity of species is developed through gradual processes over many generations (e.g.,
fossil record)
Students should understand the difference between Natural Selection and Artificial Selection.

Lesson Summary:
By examining the non-autonomous evolutionary processes such as selective breeding and artificial selection,
students should come to the conclusion that, since it only took humans a short amount of time to selectively
breed all of the diverse types of dogs that exist today, natural selection over billions of years would only result
in even more diverse types of organisms including those that make up earths animal kingdom.

Estimated Duration:
100 minutes
2 class periods

Commentary:
Evolutionary theory is not something that students can witness 1st hand. But there is an overwhelming amount
of evidence for it if they know where to look. So in order to show how evolution works over billions of years I
want to show my students what artificial evolution can do over only a few thousand years. I anticipate that
some students will have trouble comprehending the large amounts of time it takes for evolution to be evident

so I will most likely represent these numbers as a proportion so that students can compare them easier.

Instructional Procedures: (This will be one of the most detailed sections of this assignment).

1. The first day of class is all about data collection and examination. Begin by assigning each student the task
of responding to a class wide poll at Polleverywhere.com. Keep the results private until the whole class
has submitted responses. (10 minutes)
Question 1: Are you a dog or a cat person?
Question 2: Why do dogs/cats often make such good pets? (open ended)
Question 3. Why does one type of dogs look and act so different than other types even though they can
reproduce together as a species. (open ended with an I dont know option)
Question 4. Did modern dogs and cats evolve entirely by natural selection? (Yes/No)

2. Show the results of the polls as visual charts on Polleverywhere.com. Point out patterns in the data and
discuss why these patterns might exist. Referance the scientific method throughout this time. For example a
lot of students will probably discuss cuteness and loyalty in Question 2, so what might this say about
human preference for pet characteristics. (20 minutes)
3. Have the class watch de2635s video Evolution 1: Natural Selection vs. Artificial Selection
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhkYc7fHcR0). Answer any questions regarding the movie.
(20 minutes)

4. At the next class begin by discussing how artificial selection pertains to modern dogs and cats. Allow
for students to interrupt and ask for clarification. Display the results of the poll questions throughout
the class period.
(20-30 minutes)
Dogs are the descendants of wolves who fed off of human scraps to survive. Those who were too aggressive
were hunted down by humans thus limiting the reproductive opportunity for those aggressive traits to be
passed down while less aggressive traits continued to be passed down. The wolves eventually developed less
aggressive instincts towards humans as this behavior rewarded them with more food and protection round
human settlements. Early humans also discovered that these friendlier breeds of wolves could be domesticated
in return for food and protection. Over time these wolves were bred selectively for traits, such a higher
understanding of human speech, friendliness, cuteness, and non-aggressive protective instincts. Over the
course of 10,000 years this process of artificial selection has produced all of the different breeds of dogs that

exist today.
5. Towards the end of class ask the class what can be determined about the diversity of natural selection
over billions of years based on what artificial selection has done to produce dogs in only 10,000 years. For
homework have students submit a new response for questions 3 and 4 on the class wide poll. Answers for
question 3 should include an accurate description of artificial selection/selective breeding and students should
answer No for question 4. Go over the correct answers and explain why they are correct. (20-30 minutes)

Pre-Assessment:
By having students submit to the questions on polleverywhere.com this will allow me to get to know a little
more about each student on a personal level and it also prepares me to teach in accordance with what students
already know about evolutionary theory and artificial selection.
Scoring Guidelines:
The submissions to polleverywhere.com will be graded based on completion, however, students will receive a
fair warning that a form of questions 3 and 4 will be on an upcoming test/quiz.
Post-Assessment:
Questions 3 and 4 will appear on an upcoming quiz or test as well as the question proposed in step 5.
Scoring Guidelines:
For full credit students should show a clear understanding of the differences between artificial and natural
selection and what one demonstrates about the other

Differentiated Instructional Support


Those who have difficulty using polleverywhere.com will have me there for support. For those having trouble
with the concepts themselves, Carl Sagan does a great segment on artificial selection in this documentary
series Cosmos. I will give all students the opportunity to receive some extra credit if they can give me a good
summary of the craps that Sagan discusses in his segment. Higher acheiveing students will have a challenge
and lower preforming students will have another point of reference. I will watch the segment with the student
if necessary for clarification. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5ztOEFoyw4)

Extension
http://evolution.about.com/od/Evolution-Glossary/g/Artificial-Selection.htm
About.com offers easy to understand informational material on a variety of different topics for students. All of

the sites sources are credentialed and the scientific concepts discussed are peer reviewed.

Homework Options and Home Connections


I would much rather have all of the work for this lesson done in class under my supervision in order to reduce
bias in the polls by making sure no one is looking up answers.

Interdisciplinary Connections
Students practice the scientific method by having students examine polled data and discussing patterns. The
steps of the scientific method are used in pretty much every subject that requires analysis including reading
comprehension and mathematics.

Materials and Resources:

For teachers

A projector in order to display poll results in real time


Laptop computers with internet access in order for students to log into and use
polleverywhere.com and to display youtube.com

For students

Students might have the option of responding to the poll via smart phone if they have
one otherwise the lesson requires each student to have a laptop computer in class to
respond to the polls.

Key Vocabulary
Traits
Species
Breed
Artificial selection/selective breeding

Additional Notes