How do mutations to DNA drive evolution? What role does the environment play in the natural selection of living things?
In Islands of Adaptation, students learn about evolution and natural selection through a modified version of Hungry-Hungry Hippos. Using Darwin’s Galapagos finches as a starting point, we substitute beaks for office supplies and seeds for craft objects. The aim of the game is for students to (calmly) collect as many ‘seeds’ as they can with their ‘beak’. Students quickly realize which tools work best, leading to a discussion about the relationship between the distibutions of food source and physical adaptations. This experience serves as a good platform to build an understanding of natural selection, mutation as a driver of evolution and other more advanced aspects of evolutionary biology.