Key Content Areas: Living Environment, Genetics, Heredity, Evolution, Natural Variation
Contributors: Kelley Mackey, Islip High School
Grade Level: 7-12; Undergraduate
Time Needed: 240 minutes; 7-8 weeks
Mutated Brachypodium plants illustrate the evolutionary concepts of random mutation, variety, and the adaptive value of new traits. By directly observing new traits, students can relate how the appearance of random mutations may be of adaptive value. It should be taught after students already have been exposed to the topics of genetics, gene expression, and mutation. Ideally it should be started early on in the Evolution Unit, to allow time for the plants to grow as students explore the concepts of evolution, classification, and the diversity of life.