HHMI Data Point: Schooling Behavior of Stickleback Fish from Different Habitats

Contributor
HHMI Biointeractive Bob Kuhn
Type Category
Assessment Materials Instructional Materials
Types
Illustration , Instructor Guide/Manual , Animation/Movie , Article , Data , Assessment Item
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

Schooling Behavior of Stickleback Fish from Different Habitats is one of a series of Data Point resources from HHMI Biointeractive.  Data Points engage students in analyzing and interpreting data from primary literature in the biological sciences.  The resources are intended to provide authentic phenomena to spark student discussion and exploration, but they can also serve as three-dimensional assessment items.  In this example, students analyze the evolutionary basis for schooling behavior in stickleback fish from freshwater and marine habitats.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 12
  • Grade 11
  • Grade 10
  • Grade 9
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-LS4-3 Apply concepts of statistics and probability to support explanations that organisms with an advantageous heritable trait tend to increase in proportion to organisms lacking this trait.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on analyzing shifts in numerical distribution of traits and using these shifts as evidence to support explanations.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to basic statistical and graphical analysis. Assessment does not include allele frequency calculations.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The bar graph and supporting information provided in the Data Point incorporate Standard Error of the Mean and statistical significance. The Educator Guide provides additional explanation of related statistical concepts. This resource provides an excellent opportunity to engage students in statistical reasoning as it relates to evolution within populations.

HS-LS4-2 Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on using evidence to explain the influence each of the four factors has on number of organisms, behaviors, morphology, or physiology in terms of ability to compete for limited resources and subsequent survival of individuals and adaptation of species. Examples of evidence could include mathematical models such as simple distribution graphs and proportional reasoning.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include other mechanisms of evolution, such as genetic drift, gene flow through migration, and co-evolution.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this performance expectation, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
This Data Point could serve as an opening phenomenon to spark student learning leading up to this Performance Expectation or as an assessment of the Performance Expectation. The resource is framed as a discussion starter in which students are asked to analyze graphical data and develop an explanation of that data. The Educator Guide provides extensive background for teachers and a set of discussion questions to guide students toward developing an explanation of the role that evolution via natural selection has played in the differences observed between the two groups of fish.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
This Data Point is framed as a discussion starter, and the Educator Guide provides discussion questions that guide students toward developing an explanation. However, the resource offers good potential to meet this practice directly. Whether used as an opening phenomenon or as an assessment, the teacher could use the provided discussion questions as the basis for students to develop formal explanations that draw on the data provided, as well as other student learning experiences.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The goal of the Data Points series is to engage students in analyzing and interpreting data from primary sources. To help students understand the experimental context in which the data was collected, this data point is accompanied by a diagram and video of the experimental setup and a link to the original research article (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0018316). This Data Point calls for students to apply statistical reasoning to two questions: (1) whether or not observational data that open water marine fish had a stronger tendency to school than freshwater benthic fish could be supported by experimentation in the lab and (2) whether schooling behavior is learned or inherited. Understanding of standard error of the mean (SEM) and statistical significance is assumed, so the teacher will need to determine how to best support students with those concepts, based on the way in which the Data Point is used. The Educator Guide provides some helpful background information for teachers but still assumes some basic understanding of statistics. College Board’s publication, AP Biology Quantitative Skills: A Guide for Teachers (http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/apc/public/repository/AP_Bio_Quantitative_Skills_Guide-2012.pdf), provides more extensive background on quantitative concepts in biology, including SEM. HHMI also offers the Teacher Guide: Math and Statistics (http://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/teacher-guide-math-and-statistics)

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
As the Educator Guide explains, prevalence of schooling behavior is stickleback fish populations represents a tradeoff between avoiding predation and competition for resources. Therefore, this Data Point provides an opportunity for students to develop an understanding of how differences in the marine and freshwater habitats of these fish provide selective pressure for different behaviors. As discussed above, the teacher will need to select additional learning experiences to support students in developing this understanding.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
As the Educator Guide explains, fish used in the highlighted experiment were reared in the laboratory with no opportunity to learn behaviors from their parents. Thus, the schooling behaviors they exhibited were genetically based. Therefore, this Data Point provides an opportunity for students to develop an understanding of how natural selection can act on genetically-based behaviors that provide an advantage in certain environments. Whether the Data Point is used as an opening phenomenon or an assessment item, the teacher will need to select additional learning experiences to help students develop this understanding. Options include having students read the original research article or conduct online research about stickleback fish and their habitats. Students will also need to engage in a learning activity in which they develop understanding of the process of natural selection. HHMI’s Stickleback Evolution Virtual Lab is one possibility (https://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/stickleback-evolution-virtual-lab).

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
The discussion questions provided in the Educator Guide focus student attention on identifying cause-effect relationships based on the data presented. This could be strengthened by asking students specifically to consider whether the evidence provided is sufficient to support causal claims, rather than simply showing correlation between variables. To do so, students will need to develop and apply contextual knowledge about the stickleback fish and their habitats.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: This Data Point provides an authentic phenomenon that could anchor a series of three-dimensional learning activities. In this case, an initial discussion would allow the teacher to expose students’ initial ideas before facilitating students in exploring the phenomenon through additional learning activities. Alternatively, this resource could be used as an assessment item. In either case, the resource should be strengthened by combining it with other learning experiences. For example, this resource could be combined with HHMI’s Stickleback Evolution Virtual Lab (https://www.hhmi.org/biointeractive/stickleback-evolution-virtual-lab) to develop a unit that addresses a bundle of evolution-related Performance Expectations. This resource strongly aligns to the indicated Disciplinary Core Ideas and Science and Engineering Practices, and teachers can strengthen these connections through the additional learning experiences. The alignment to the Crosscutting Concept of Cause and Effect is less explicit, but the teacher can draw students’ focus to this Concept with guiding questions or learning experiences that help students link the process of natural selection to the behavioral differences observed between the stickleback populations.

  • Instructional Supports: By using data from a primary source, this Data Point provides an excellent, scientifically accurate context in which students can engage in three-dimensional learning. This resource is written as a discussion prompt, and a whole-class discussion would provide one venue for the teacher hear student ideas and give feedback on those. However, the resource is not a full lesson. As a result, it does not provide a full range of instructional supports, such as opportunities for students to build on feedback, guidance for differentiation, and scaffolds to support students in engaging in practices or applying crosscutting concepts. The teacher will need to incorporate these supports while building a full instructional sequence around this resource.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: Whether it is used formatively or summatively, the Data Point, offers an excellent opportunity to gather evidence of students’ three-dimensional learning. Although the data is pulled from a primary research article, the selection of data and the supporting information provide much greater accessibility than the original research article. A rubric is not provided, but the Educator Guide does provide the background information needed to assess and support student responses. The teacher may want to consider embedding formative assessments and developing associated rubrics when planning a full instructional sequence.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This is not an interactive, technology-based resource, although the links to supporting video and to the original research article do enhance the value of the resource.