In 1835 Charles Darwin traveled to the Galapagos Islands in South America. On this small island chain he noticed that different birds had different shaped beaks that were perfectly designed for the kinds of food the birds ate. This sparked his idea of Natural Selection and The Theory of Evolution. Darwin theorized that the birds slowly changed over hundreds of thousands of years to develop beaks that best suited their environment. It happens so slowly because only when birds are born with random mutations that helped them did a small change occur, and those mutations are very very rare. Eventually, enough small changes led to birds that were completely different species from one another.
In this activity you will determine the best kind of beak for birds that have different foods available!
Watch as Miss Kate demonstrates how to collect foods using different “beaks”.
For more information on this topic, check out the following websites:
“Darwin and the Evolution of the Finch”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42CMDoNuce4
“The Origin of Species: The Beak of the Finch”: http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/origin-species-beak-finch
Bird Beak Gallery from PBS: https://pbslm-contrib.s3.amazonaws.com/WGBH/conv19/tdc02-int-birdfood/index.html
Classroom Teachers! Download the student worksheet and instructor guide to complete activity with your students.