Late last term, Year 10 Science was split into elective options; Astronomy, Structures, Health and Disease, and Evolution, to allow students to explore an area of science that interests them in more detail.
Last week in the Evolution elective, students have been exploring how new species arise through a process called allopatric speciation. To assist students with their understanding of this concept, they played a specially developed board game. The game simulates speciation with each player taking control of a population of organisms as it accumulates mutations and copes (or not) with a variety of selection pressures. Many populations became extinct, while others did not accumulate sufficient mutations to proceed to speciation.
Games based learning is a powerful learning tool that can immerse students in the theory while incorporating an element of fun and risk-free competition. At the conclusion of the Speciation game, students completed a task that explored the theory underlying the game and critiqued the accuracy of the underlying assumptions of the game.
by Claire Stanner, Science and Biology Teacher