With tweezers and pliers in their hands, eighth graders at Thompson’s Station Middle took a closer look into how natural selection works. Their lab aimed to teach students about¬†how finches adapted over time.

Different finches had different beak shapes. Depending on which food source was available, some finches had an easier time collecting food. Over time, only the finches with the appropriate beak shape were able to survive.

The students were tasked with picking up pinto beans and rice grains with different tools that simulated different beak shapes. They found that certain tools were better equipped at handling different things. The tweezers made it easier to pick up rice, and the pliers made it easier to pick up beans.

The hands-on lab made the lesson easier to understand.

“They’re very curious and engaged,” said TSMS science teacher Kara Sklenka. “By being able to investigate and work hands-on, they develop a better understanding of the process of natural selection.”