Event-Based Science

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Event-Based Science meets National Science Education Standards!



Event-Based Science is a new way to teach middle school science. It is an award-winning, standards-based program in which newsworthy events establish the relevance of science topics; authentic tasks create the need-to-know more about those topics; and lively interviews, photographs, Web pages, and inquiry-based science activities create a desire to know more about those topics.

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Survive? allows students to explore concepts related to animals, heredity, diversity, survival of the fittest, and evolution in the context of the discovery of deformed frogs in Minnesota.  

In Survive? students play the roles of scientists who have been sent to explore a newly discovered island and report their findings and predictions in the form of a museum exhibit.


NSTA Recommends Survive?

To enhance students' enjoyment of this EBS module, there is an album of photographs for students to use.

These photos may be printed out and used to decorate their exhibits.

(Click on this photograph to open the album.)

Pu State Park, Hawaii (EBS Institute)

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Biologists funded by NSF and affiliated with the University of California at San Diego (UCSD) have demonstrated, in a study of the songs and genetics of a series of interbreeding populations of warblers in central Asia, how one species can evolve into two.

The investigators have discovered intermediate forms of two reproductively isolated populations of songbirds that no longer interbreed. This work provides evidence predicted by Darwin in support of his theory of evolution.

"One of the largest mysteries remaining in evolutionary biology is exactly how one species can gradually diverge into two," says Darren Irwin, a biologist at UCSD who headed the study. "This process, known as speciation, is very difficult to study because it can take a great deal of time to occur."

The warbler is the first case in which "we can see all the steps that occurred in the behavioral divergence of two species from their common ancestor," says Irwin. "These results demonstrate how small evolutionary changes can lead to the differences that cause reproductive isolation between species, just as Darwin envisioned." [Cheryl Dybas]

What Really Caused the Deformity?

Dr. Joseph Kiesecker of Pennsylvania State University, is known for linking amphibian declines in the western United States to global warming. Now he has established that when it comes to frog deformities, it is an aquatic parasite acting together with wetland contamination that may be causing the problem.

Dr. Kiesecker discovered that commonly used pesticides can weaken the immune systems of tadpoles. In their weakened state, a trematode can enter the tadpole and form cysts that cause leg deformities.

Deformed Frog

Photo from US Geological Survey

Survive? Resources
A "pdf" file containing web sites, books, material lists, and correlations with National Science Education Standards.
Use the BACK button in your browser to return to this page.

EBS Breaking News
Click here to use Google News to search and browse 4,500 continuously updated news sources for breaking news about evolution and heredity or here for news about frogs .

Science activities in Survive? allow students to explore the environmental pressures that shape a population and lead to changes over time. As with all Event-Based Science modules, much of the information that students need is provided in the pages of Survive?. However, more information is needed. Information from the Web about animals, heredity, diversity, and evolution will add to the authenticity of your study.

Below are some World-Wide Web sites where additional information is available. Click on the highlighted words and be linked with helpful sites.

Links to Survive? related WEB Sites
(Links are checked monthly. They were working on the day of the last update.)

  • Evolution Resources From the National Academies This Web page is designed to provide easy access to books, position statements, and additional resources on evolution education and research. These materials have been produced by the National Academies and other sources. The site will be updated and expanded periodically. 
  • Virtual Owl Pellet Dissection Try this site. It allows you to dissect an owl pellet and discover its contents. It provides users of the Survive? module with an inexpensive way to complete the "Owl Be Seeing You" science activity without the expense of actually buying owl pellets. Please donate and help this site stay alive.
The North American Reporting Center In cooperation with the scientific community, this Web site has been designed as place where people can report sightings of amphibian malformations in North America. If you have observed malformed amphibians, or if you have handled a number of wild amphibians but not noted any abnormalities, they urge you to report your sightings by going to How Can I Submit a Report? on their site.
  • Animal Diversity -- a collection of pictures and information about animals supported by the University of Michigan's Museum of Zoology.
  • Where Frogs Live Feature article discussing the effects of environmental conditions on amphibians.
  • The Voyage of the Beagle by Charles Darwin Charles Darwin's own account of the voyage.
  • Human Genetics A Worldwide Search for the Dominant Trait - Do You Have It? One way for students to learn how their physical characteristics, or traits, are inherited is by gathering a great deal of information about specific, easily-seen human features. Students can analyze this information to determine which trait is controlled by a dominant gene. During this project, students will complete surveys, formulate hypotheses, and use the data compiled by students around the globe to test their hypotheses. (This project is developed and managed by the Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education (CIESE) which is located at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.)
  • Deformed Frogs in Minnesota Deformed frogs were discovered in Minnesota in 1995. This site will help you learn more about where the deformed frogs were first found, why we are concerned about deformed frogs, what is being done about the problem and what you can do to help.
  • Owl Pellets are available from Nature's Classroom.

Video - A Green Frog



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