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Using a variety of beans, students will investigate how various microbes can survive and reproduce.  They will explain the effects the environment has on the sustainability of a microbial community and the adaptations they need to make for survival.   

Intended Audience

5-8 X
9-12 X


Learning Objectives

By completing this activity, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the process of natural selection.
  2. Model the natural selection process
  3. Identify and explain the environmental aspects (selective pressures) that influence natural selection.
  4. Predict why certain species have the ability to adapt and survive selective pressures.
  5. Explain the importance of natural selection among microbial communities.
Necessary Student Background

Students should have the following knowledge prior to completing this activity:

  1. Know how to conduct an experiment using the Scientific Method.
  2. Be able to gather and interpret information.
  3. Know how to make logical graphs to communicate scientific results. 
  4. Have a basic understanding of natural selection.
  5. Be able to explain natural selection and its effects on living things. 
  6. Be able to explain adaptations and why they occur. 
  7. Be able to define and explain selective pressures.
  8. Have a basic understanding of what a microbe is and how they reproduce.


Adaptation, Selective Pressures, Natural Selection, Microbial Evolution

Print a PDF of this activity

Natural Selection (14 pages)