The Making of the Fittest.
Article Type: Video recording review
Subject: Video recordings (Video recording reviews)
Author: Dou, Remy
Pub Date: 05/01/2012
Publication: Name: The American Biology Teacher Publisher: National Association of Biology Teachers Audience: Academic; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Biological sciences; Education Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 National Association of Biology Teachers ISSN: 0002-7685
Issue: Date: May, 2012 Source Volume: 74 Source Issue: 5
Topic: NamedWork: The Making of the Fittest (Video recording)
Accession Number: 288628482
Full Text: The Making of the Fittest (DVD, 2011, three short films: 37 minutes total; http://www.bio interactive.org)

With inquiry labs, bell ringers, group work, and discussions (not to mention pep rallies, fund-raisers, sports, and bathroom breaks), what teacher has an hour to devote to an entertaining, well-made, educational film? Fortunately, HHMI has made it easy to incorporate excellent videos and inquiry-based activities with the release of their short-film series The Making of the Fittest, which was first screened at October's NABT conference.

While many of the resources produced by HHMI are popular, these break the mold. These high-quality, entertaining films, each shorter than 15 minutes, are devoted to the topic of evolution. Their content matter is suitable for grades 8-12. The first film focuses on adaptation and selective pressures, the second moves on to real-world examples of the link between mutations, gene expression, and adaptation, and the last one brings the story home, showing how all this applies to human populations. Despite "evolving" content, the films are tightly interrelated. Essentially, you can thematically orchestrate a module or unit of your evolution curriculum around these films and the activities associated with them.

Each film is linked to a set of activity worksheets that challenge groups of students to critically examine the film content. They are inquiry-based, relevant, and even offered at varying levels of specificity and rigor. The teacher can tailor the lesson to meet student needs. Whether you are teaching General Science or AP Biology, you can find an activity worksheet for your classroom, and teacher guides are also included. Depending on which one you select (you can use them all), you may want to consider setting aside 45 to 90 minutes of class time. By the time you have gone through the films and activities, you will effectively have covered the topic of evolution.

I highly recommend this series. I also encourage you to visit biointeractive.org, where the videos are available for free, and take 10 to 13 minutes to watch one of these exciting short films.

DOI: 10.1525/abt.2012.74.5.16

Remy Dou

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow

National Science Foundation EHR/DRL

rdou@nsf.gov
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2012 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.