In this activity students use Google Earth, Cyber Databases and Geotagged Photos to investigate how the morphology of the Galapagos finches are related to the environment where they live. Students need to be familiar with the natural selection model and Darwin’s trip to the Galapagos before doing this activity. Then students are given a mission to help Darwin figure out if there are morphological differences among the finches located on the various islands. After becoming familiar with how to use Google Earth, students choose a research question, form a hypothesis, select three species of Galapagos finches and use the website ARKIVE.org to gather data on various finch species residing on the Galapagos Islands and on the mainland of South America. This data includes the name of the finch, its environmental niche, where it is found in the Galapagos Islands and its food source. Students then collect images of the terrain and various finches, organize all the data into Google Earth, and make inferences about the relationship between the chosen species and their habitat. Students then organize their information and present to the class.
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