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Grade 6-8

Natural Selection and Adaptations: Darwin’s Finches

by Payton M. | Science

Learning Standards: MS.LS4.6 MS.LS4.6;
4 Lessons 14:30
  1. 1. Background on Darwin’s Finches 3:11
  2. 2. Setup and Hypothesis 4:33
  3. 3. Beak Experiment 4:31
  4. 4. Conclusions 2:15

Grade 6-8


NGSS Standards

About the course

"Simulate the process of natural selection, where individuals in a species survive over those less suited to their environments. Mimic Charles Darwin's fundamental discoveries by examining how birds with different beaks are better suited to different foods.

Examine the process of natural selection and how evolution plays a role in marginalizing endangered animals."


Beak Simulation Experiment

Course overview


Background on Darwin’s Finches

Students will appreciate the context of Charles Darwin’s groundbreaking observations of Galapagos Finches.


Setup and Hypothesis

Gather the materials needed for our activity and develop a hypothesis as to which simulated beak will find the most success in terms of "predation."


Beak Experiment

Figure out which beak is best suited for grabbing food.



Compare findings with hypothesis.

See more


  • adaptation
  • camouflauge
  • Natural Selection
  • Peppered Moths
  • survival of the fittest

Recommended Materials

1-3 additional scientists to join in their experiment (or enough materials to repeat the experiment on their own), a large bowl, an assortment of non-perishable foodstuffs of various sizes and shapes (I’d suggest cheerios, uncooked pasta, marshmallows, and a small grain like lentils or barley), one simulated beak for each scientist. The simulated beaks can include a pair of chopsticks, tweezers, tongs, needle nose pliers, etc.


Payton is a composer and orchestrator who recently graduated with High Honors in music from Wesleyan University. His passion for environmental advocacy, education, and activism is spurred by a love of nature and burning hate for climate change denialism.

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