Evolutionary experiments are usually difficult to perform in the classroom because of the large sizes and long timescales of experiments testing evolutionary hypotheses. Computer applications give students a window to observe evolution in action, allowing them to gain comfort with the process of natural selection and facilitating inquiry experimentation. The lesson described here uses a free online program, BoxCar2D, to demonstrate evolution by natural selection in a virtual population of cars. Students will be introduced to the principles of evolution and conduct independent inquiry projects on key predictions from evolution – including convergence, local adaptation, and the role of mutation in adaptation.
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