Niches and Speciation

Public summary: 

Seeing how different sized bird beaks will result in speciation based on food availability

Useful information
Kit List: 

Set of silicon 'beaks' (oven mitts which open with different appetures)


Set up and activity
Place the different sized beads in the pots at different locations on the table.
Offer the group the selection of silicon beaks.
Challenge them to pick up as much 'food' (the beads) as possible in a minute (or longer if this time period is too short). Then ask them to stand by the pot which they were most successful at picking up the beads from.

***Not finished, at all!***The group should be split between the different pots depending on which beak they have been using. Talk about how different organsims are more successful in different environments - natural selection and survival of the fittest. Darwin's finches are a really good example of this.
Sarah suggested using lots of pairs of goggles (like prism goggles) which we could spray paint and scratch, cover with coloured film on the inside and/or drill different sized holes in moving places on. Could get them to complete sight based tasks and see which goggles get selected.
Tom&Josh discussed this and think a better way to do this would be using plastic cutlery (very cheap) and having a range of knives, forks, spooons, sporks, chopsticks. All of them with different modifications. You can then simulate food using wool strings and marbles (plastic and heavier ones) of different diameters. You can then simulate evolution with different mixes of food and exposes niches.
For instance having lots of large marbles on top and some woolen strands underneath should be hard for chopsticks, unless there's several individuals who can remove the large marbles quickly and let them come in to grab the noodles.

Risk Assessment
Date risk assesment last checked: 
Wed, 08/01/2020
Risk assesment checked by: 
Matt Worssam
Date risk assesment double checked: 
Sat, 25/01/2020
Risk assesment double-checked by: 
Beatrix Huissoon
Risk Assessment: 

Picking up beads and balls from dishes using silicon oven mitts.

Hazard Risk Likelihood Severity Overall Mitigation Likelihood Severity Overall
Beads Choking if beads are eaten/swallowed. 3 5 15 Ensure the children don't eat the beads, keep out of reach of small children and set up table away from major walkways.
In case of injury, call first aider. Ask parent to firmly slap back of choking child.
2 3 6
Beads Slip hazard if beads spill on the floor. 3 3 9 Keep bead pots away from edge of table, discourage boisterous behaviour.
Sweep up beads as soon as they spill, call first aider in case of a fall.
1 3 3
Pots Injury if pots break and form sharp edges. 2 3 6 Discourage boisterous behaviour, and use plastic pots rather than glass.
Clear up broken items promptly. Call first aider in case of injury.
1 2 2
Silicon oven mitts Allergic reaction to silicon. 2 3 6 Ask if anyone has a silicon allergy before giving oven mitts
In case of reaction, call first aider.
1 3 3