Meeting Abstract

46.5  Thursday, Jan. 5  All I Ever Learned About Macroevolution I Learned in Fifth Grade GADANI, A.P.*; ALFARO, M.; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, Los Angeles

Uneven patterns of biodiversity are one of the most striking patterns in the natural world yet macroevolutionary explanations for these patterns are not commonly presented to students until high school or even college. To investigate whether these ideas can be learned by elementary school students we developed a workshop involving an interactive three-dimensional coral reef model. Following a presentation about biodiversity, adaptive zones, and coral reefs, students participated in several activities (evolving fish-puppet lineages and matching fish-puppets to reef habitats on the coral model) illustrating explanations of why species richness might differ among lineages. We presented the workshop to multiple fifth grade classrooms in the Los Angeles area and used surveys to compare their general knowledge of biodiversity patterns before and after our workshops. The results of the study will be discussed.

This workshop represents an experimental collaboration between an evolutionary biologist and a visual artist working as an artist in resident in the lab.