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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Community Outreach

Jordan Hall Field Trip
Evolution: Adaptation, Convergence, and Divergence

Intended Audience: Grades 5-10 (ages 12+)

Summary: The field trip educational materials presented below focus on convergent evolution, divergent evolution, and adaptations.  The areas in Jordan Hall groups visit include the vivarium, the Birds of Indiana paintings, the preserved specimen cases, and the public greenhouse.  The target age group of visitors is twelve years old and above.  If time allows, pre-visit and post-visit activities and additional educational materials can be accessed via the internet.  An optional extension of the field trip experience includes exhibits at the WonderLab in downtown Bloomington.  For planning purposes, the field trip experience should take 1.5 to 2 hours, with the optional extension at WonderLab adding another 1.5 to 2 hours. There are several places on campus and near campus to eat lunch before going to WonderLab or heading home.

Before Your Visit

Prior to a field trip to Jordan Hall, instructors may wish to introduce students to the evolutionary concepts of adapation, convergence, and divergence.  Each activity is designed to introduce the concepts of convergent evolution, divergent evolution and evolutionary adaptations.

Self-Guided Exploration of Jordan Hall

We suggest visitors begin in the atrium in the NW corner of the building, proceed south through down the central hallway, visit the greenhouse in the SE corner of the building, and finish outside the atrium at the Prairie in the Planters.

Vivarium: Visitors can compare old and new world organisms looking for signs of adaptation and evolutionary convergence at the vivarium exhibit in the Jordan Hall atrium.  The vivarium is a climate-controlled enclosure that houses lizards, turtles, and representative plants from arid regions around the world. 

Birds of Indiana: Next, visitors can observe the similarity and diversity of earth's organisms by examining Zimmerman's Birds of Indiana collection.  Also located in the same center corridor of Jordan hall are hundreds of preserved specimens and models where a huge variety of earth's life forms can be viewed.

Greenhouse: Then, visitors can wander through the Jordan Hall greenhouses to investigate plants from all over the world.  From the prickly desert cacti, to the lush tropical vines, to the bizarre insectivorous plants, the greenhouses hold many surprising plant adaptations that have evolved in different habitats over millions of years. 

Prairie in the Planters: Finally, visitors can think about the evolutionary and environmental changes that have occurred locally as they visit the prairie planters outside the entrance of Jordan Hall.  The planters located outside the Jordan Hall atrium on the north-west corner of the building are planted with native prairie plants that naturally attract birds, butterflies, insects, and other campus wildlife for viewing.

Supplement: WonderLab

After spending a couple of hours on campus, this experience can be extended by visiting the WonderLab Museum of Science, Health & Technology just down the road in downtown Bloomington, Indiana.  At the WonderLab museum, visitors will find a great collection of interactive hands-on exhibits.  Students will want to pay special attention to the animal exhibits on the second floor.  Here visitors can see the amazing social and engineering behaviors that have evolved in the honeybee, the survival strategies of the cockroach, and the interconnected community of the saltwater ecosystem.  Also of special local interest is WonderLab's fossil wall where visitors can learn about the unique creatures that once inhabited the ancient oceans of Indiana.

Credits: This field trip is the product of a summer project by Kathy Daniels, with educational support and funding from Emilia Martins and the NSF, through Indiana University's REU/RET program.
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