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Animals Through Time    Mystery 5

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In this Mystery, students will play a simulation based on a real-life experiment called “Lizard Island.” The simulation shows an example of how nature, not human beings, can slowly change the appearance of an animal using the process of selection.

Can selection happen without people?

Beginning Exploration (1 of 5)
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Beginning Exploration (2 of 5)

Predict 1 of 2: What do you think might have happened to the green anoles, once the brown anoles arrived in Florida and started to get hungry?




Predict 2 of 2: Not all of the green anoles are exactly the same. Which green anoles do you think the brown anoles are most likely to catch?

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Beginning Exploration (3 of 5)
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Beginning Activity Prep
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Activity Prep

Step 1: Figure out which version of this activity you’ll do.

In this interactive simulation, students will discover how natural selection affects a group of tree-climbing green lizards when their island is invaded by hungry brown lizards.

If you have a group of 15 or more, you can use the step-by-step version of the video above.

If you have a smaller group, you need to use the small group version, which can be used by one student or a group of up to 15 students. If you are using the small group version, print out these instructions for activity prep and the activity. Step-by-step instructions are on the print-out.

Step 2: Print out materials.

Use the chart below to figure out how many copies of each file to print. Depending on your class size, you may have some extra copies, but you shouldn’t run short.

How many students do you have? Print these
15 to 18
  • 6 sets of Adopt A Lizard printouts (18 pages)
  • 9 sets of Baby Lizard pages (14 pages)
  • 1 copy per student of How Many Lizards printout
  • 19 to 21
  • 7 sets of Adopt A Lizard printouts (21 pages)
  • 10 sets of Baby Lizard pages (14 pages)
  • 1 copy per student of How Many Lizards printout
  • 22 to 24
  • 8 sets of Adopt A Lizard printouts (24 pages)
  • 10 sets of Baby Lizard pages (14 pages)
  • 1 copy per student of How Many Lizards printout
  • 24 to 27
  • 9 sets of Adopt A Lizard printouts (27 pages)
  • 12 sets of Baby Lizard pages (14 pages)
  • 1 copy per student of How Many Lizards printout
  • 27 to 30
  • 10 sets of Adopt A Lizard printouts (30 pages)
  • 14 sets of Baby Lizard pages (14 pages)
  • 1 copy per student of How Many Lizards printout
  • Step 3: Cut Baby Lizard cards.

    Cut each Baby Lizard page in half to make two Baby Lizard cards.

    Beginning Activity: Lizard Island
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    Beginning Activity Prep
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    Beginning Activity: Lizard Island
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    Beginning Exploration (4 of 5)
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    Beginning Exploration (5 of 5)

    Want to know more about how scientists study lizards?

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    Beginning Complete!

    You've completed the Exploration & Activity!

    If you have more time, view the assessment, reading and extension activity in the optional extras.

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    Optional Extras

    Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the activity & exploration which you just completed.
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    Bonus mystery

    Why do some animals live in groups?

    This bonus mystery is made up of discussion questions and videos that are available on line. By observing and discussing, your students will discover some of the reasons that animals live in groups.

    Before class, open teacher instructions , which include links to all the videos and images. Print instructions for use as a script and open all the videos and photos on your computer. In class, follow the instructions, show the photos and videos, facilitate discussion, and have fun.

    This mystery meets NGSS Grade 3 content standard related to “social interactions and group behavior.”

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    Image & Video Credits

    Mystery Science respects the intellectual property rights of the owners of visual assets. We make every effort to use images and videos under appropriate licenses from the owner or by reaching out to the owner to get explicit permission. If you are the owner of a visual and believe we are using it without permission, please contact us—we will reply promptly and make things right.

    Exploration
    Anole on rocks by JamieS93 , used under CC BY-SA
    brown geko by Michel Pierfitte , used under CC BY-SA
    catching Anoles by Adam Algar
    white geko by Nick Hobgood , used under CC BY
    Anole on log by Paul Hirst , used under CC BY-SA
    Cuban Anole by Thomas Brown , used under CC BY
    large green lizard by Euku , used under CC BY-SA
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