Evolutionary Biology at The Biology Project

Genetic Drift Simulation

Teacher's Notes

Computer Simulation

Learning objectives: The computer version of the simulation is designed to help students:
  1. understand that random events are a driving force of evolution
  2. visualize how genetic drift affects diversity in a population
  3. realize the unpredictable nature of evolution
Classroom time:30-45 minutes
Worksheet: Download and print the Answers Worksheet in PDF format. (If you prefer, have students write their answers on a separate piece of paper)
To read PDF files, you may need to download and install Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Classroom organization: If possible, have students work in pairs or small groups around a computer. If using the Answers Worksheet, print and photocopy worksheets before class. Question 5 of the simulation asks students to compare their answers with classmates. This can be a good opportunity to "wrap-up" the activity and get students to talk about what they've learned.
Supplies: Each group of students needs the Answers Worksheet or a blank piece of paper to write their answers on. Or, you may want to have students work together but turn in separate answer sheets for grading.
System requirements: This simulation is designed to work on 3.x version browsers, but it will likely be a little faster on 4.x browsers. The simulation requires an active hookup to the Internet--it won't work if downloaded for use on a local server.

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The Biology Project
The University of Arizona
April 27, 1999
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