I'm a Worm, Get Me Out of Here
How does colour affect a creature's chance of survival?
In this practical experiment, students feed birds with cooked spaghetti
The worms are dyed different colours using food colourings, then left in an appropriate
place outdoors for birds to feast on. Students monitor the numbers of worms that
survive, and at regular intervals breed them – using a simple formula to
calculate how many worms of each colour will be in the next generation. In this
way, over time, they simulate directional selection.
What happens when the students change the background that the worms are placed on? The location of the test area? The size of the worms? Your free kit will contain everything you need to run this experiment in your school.
What factors determine a brine shrimp's choice of mate?
In your tank of brine shrimp students will think they can easily spot the mating pairs. In fact, while either sex may have singled out the other to be their partner, they are not necessarily mating. Instead the males are guarding the females to prevent any other males mating with them.
By observing the brine shrimp students will distinguish the sexes and work out ways to investigate the phenomenon of mate-guarding. For example, do larger females pair with larger males? This experiment will encourage them to test their hypotheses. Your free kit will contain everything you need to run this experiment in your school.
How can antibiotic resistance be transferred between bacteria?
One way is through conjugation, the process in which DNA is transferred between
cells via a special
sex pilus or tube. In this practical protocol students
investigate how this happens.
Students will mate samples of two strains of E. coli bacteria, each of which contains a resistance to a different antibiotic. After incubation, students will be able to see if resistance has been transferred during conjugation.
Your free kit will contain everything you need to run this experiment in your school.
The winners of the Survival Rivals competition to send a group of students to the Galapagos have been awarded their once-in-a-lifetime prize.
Hands-on experiments, inspired by Darwin, plus free online resources for schools.
There are three kits in the series:
- I'm a Worm, Get Me Out of Here (exploring natural selection)
- Brine Date (looking at sexual selection)
- The X-Bacteria (investigating antibiotic resistance in bacteria)
Each kit contains everything teachers and students need to carry out the experiments in school. All the experiments are designed to help young people see for themselves how Darwin's ideas link to modern evolutionary principles and contemporary biomedicine.
Following on from Survival Rivals the Wellcome Trust are producing further experiment kits as part of a major initiative linked to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Over 9,000 Survival Rivals kits have been sent to schools in Northern Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales.
The kits were free to state schools and colleges across the UK from March 2009 to July 2010. In that time around 70% of schools ordered them and here’s what some teachers are saying…
“As a recent recipient of your fantastic box of experiments I would like to thank you for these resources which will truly enrich secondary teaching. We are in the process of setting up the brine shrimp tank and look forward to involving all of the key stages in the appropriate experiment. The resources are of an extremely high quality, the instruction booklet is very comprehensive and the additional books included are an added bonus.”
Helen Johnston, Coombe Girls School
“Just received our three boxes of Survival Rivals resources. These appear to be excellent resources. We will incorporate them into our S1 Living Things course in the next session.”
Susan Davis, Aberdeen Grammar School
“We ordered the X-Bacteria kit and it has proved to be a great success. I have just completed the procedure with my two AS Biology groups; they have got good results and I have found it to be a good alternative to more 'traditional' antibiotic microbiology practicals.”
David Duke, Sussex Downs College (Lewes Sixth Form)