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What would be a good plant to show the process of evolution to a small kid? Obviously it's a long term experiment, and preferably a fruit or a veg that is edible (like tomato?), and what characteristic would be (size, colour) good to select for?

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    $\begingroup$ How old is "kids" in this question? I could imagine a thorough answer would address different suggestions for ages 4-5, 9-11, and 16-18, say. $\endgroup$ – Amory Jul 6 at 16:59
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    $\begingroup$ You are going to need an organism that has a very short generation time to make an evolution experiment. Fruit flies, yeasts, E.coli. are classic examples. It is going to take a few years to have only a moderate response if you use tomatoes. Also I doubt you can really control tomatoes reproduction. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jul 6 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ What exactly are you trying to demonstrate? Just the response of the mean phenotype to a threshold selection you would make? $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Jul 6 at 17:29
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    $\begingroup$ @IlyaGrushevskiy 10 years is probably a bit long for the attention span of a 4 year old. :) I think if you change your question to demonstrate natural selection then there are some easy experiments that can be done on the order of an hour or so and are a bit more hands-on than waiting for plants to grow. $\endgroup$ – Bryan Krause Jul 8 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ I'd say you will be better off writing a computer simulation (e.g. a very basic genetic algorithm) with the child. This will demonstrate the same process and will expose the child to programming and some light maths. Both things are good to be exposed to at an early age. A 4-year old child is perfectly capable of understanding the maths behind basic random processes and computer code. $\endgroup$ – Eli Korvigo Jul 8 at 18:06
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This is for an animal, not a plant. But, when I was in school, the Peppered moth was used as an example of rapid evolution from the 19th century. Its white coat made it very noticeable against soot-stained surfaces so it had a rapid selection pressure to become black. If you can organise a trip with your kid to a natural history museum, you might be able to find some specimens.

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