This practical lesson describes how students in six eighth grade science classes participated in a lesson combining the National Core Arts Standards with the Next Generation Science Standards. The goal of the lesson was to provide visual representations of finch beak form and function so students could better understand genetic variation and how environmental pressures influence natural selection. Students sketched a finch with a large, medium, or small beak, corresponding to an experiment they had conducted with picking up different sizes of seeds with different sizes of binder clips. Using modeling with a variety of media, students created bird beaks based on information from online and text research. Students identified how each beak was related to the bird’s diet and made comparisons with the beaks of the other birds in the environment. In addition to their increased knowledge of natural selection, students voiced their enjoyment of the inclusion of art.
Pittman, P. J. Z., & Teske, J. K. (2017). Examining natural selection by sketching and making models of the finches of the Galapagos Islands. Journal of STEM Arts, Crafts, and Constructions, 2(2), 66-73