Evolution of Swallows

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This task, administered as a summative transfer task as part of the unit NextGen Storylines unit “Why Don’t Antibiotics Work Like They Used To?” asks students to consider a phenomenon observed in Nebraska: a dramatic change in the number of swallows killed along a highway [roadkill]. Throughout the course of the task, students are asked to consider the interplay between environmental pressures—in the form of building of highways and cars driving quickly—and population changes in trait, specifically around wing span, to explain why the proportion of local swallow populations impacted by car-related deaths has changed over a multi-decade period. Through this lens, students are asked to demonstrate their understanding of adaptation to interpret data about swallow traits and population changes, and to connect evidence presented in the task with their conceptual understanding of natural selection to posit and support a possible explanation for the observed phenomenon.

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