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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Community Outreach

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

Intended Audience: Grades 1-4 (ages 6+)

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 six years old and above.  If time allows, pre-visit and post-visit activities and additional educational materials can be incorporated from the grades 5+ field trip materials.


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.

  • Instructor definitions handout
  • Groups larger than 5 should contact the greenhouse to make sure there are no conflicts with other groups that may be using the greenhouse, and to confirm that the greenhouse will not be closed for upkeep.  There is no charge for tours of the greenhouse.

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.  The handouts focus on the vivarium, specimen cases, and bird paintings.

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. 

Specimen Cases: Also located in the atrium, central corridor, and southern (entry) hallway of Jordan Hall are hundreds of preserved specimens and models where a huge variety of earth's life forms can be viewed.

Birds of Indiana: Next, visitors can observe the similarity and diversity of earth's organisms by examining Zimmerman's Birds of Indiana collection.

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 theatrium 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.

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