This interactive simulation allows students to explore natural selection in bunnies by controlling factors in the environment (equator or arctic environment), selection factors (wolves, food), and characteristics of the bunnies (fur color, tail length and teeth length). The bunnies in the default setting in the simulation have white fur, short tail, and short teeth. There is an option to introduce mutations, which causes bunnies with brown fur, long tail, or long teeth to appear. The user can also edit genes (select whether the mutation for fur color, tail length and teeth length is dominant or recessive). The simulation output includes a chart with the population of bunnies (number of bunnies) on the y-axis, plotted against time on the x-axis. There is an option to see a pedigree when the user clicks on an individual bunny moving within the environment (equator or arctic).
Students can make predictions and/or ask questions prior to running the simulation. They can run the simulation, controlling and changing variables, and analyze the data generated by the simulation (output graph).
The simulation itself does not come with instructions or a lesson plan. However, there are several lesson plans posted on the website. These lesson plans are from authors independent of the authors of the simulation. This review is limited to reviewing the PHET natural selection simulation, and not any of the lesson plans from outside authors.
A related resource, called Quackers and Cottontails, that uses this simulation is available at https://www.nms.org/Portals/0/Docs/FreeLessons/BIO_Quackers%20and%20Cottontails_web.pdf. This lesson plan is published by the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI). The Cottontail portion of this lesson plan is using the PHET simulations. If teachers are using the Quacker portion of the lesson plan as well, it is important to discuss the limitation of the Quacker simulation, so students do not walk away with misconceptions. This review is limited to the PHeT natural selection simulation itself, not any of the related resources or lesson plans.