Evolution Labs for Teachers
(C.M. Lively, Biology, Indiana University)

1.  The Red Queen game.  This is an easy game, designed to teach the basic concepts of host-parasite coevolution.  The game only requires two decks of playing cards for each team of two students.  One student plays the parasite "hand" and one student plays the host "hand."  Infection is determined by whether or not two cards (one for the host and one from the parasite) match suits.  The game nicely illustrates several key points in evolutionary biology:

    i) Evolution can be rapid, occurring every generation.

    ii) Evolution can result in the long-term maintenance of genetic diversity when there is an advantage to rare
        genotypes.

    iii) Coevolution can result in the oscillations of genotype frequencies over time. 

The basic instructions for the game can be found here

The excel spreadsheet for entering the data can be found her
e.  The sample data from our class is here.

To read the original paper (by Gibson, Drown & Lively) in Evolution: Education and Outreach go here.

Student groups can also enter their data on a google sheet (here) to share data between groups and to easily summarize class-wide patterns. (Note: you may have to clear the data from a previous class, but make sure not to delete the cells for calculating percentages or sums.)   See also Mandy Gibson's website for additional details.   


We designed the game to be played in about one hour.  Our hope is that it could be used in both high school and college classes.  The game is also easy to modify to incorporate additional ideas.  Feedback most welcome (clively@indiana.edu, amakgibs@umail.iu.edu, dmdrown@alaska.edu).


2.  Quantitative Genetics game.  This game was designed to teach the rationale for the breeder's equation in quantitative genetics: R = h2S.  As in the previous game, it uses playing cards; but here the cards are alleles by which genotypes are created.  In its simplest form, the game illustrates the concept the heritability, and then uses the breeder's equation to make a prediction regarding the phenotypic response to selection.  The game also shows how random environmental "noise" reduces heritability and hence the response to selection. 

Materials as follows.

1.  Instructions
2.  Excel data file
3.  Original paper (by Frey, Lively & Brodie) as published in Evolution: Education and Outreach.


3.  Coevolution and Sexual Reproduction.  This is a review of host parasite coevolution and sex, written for a general audience.  Here is the paper as published in Evolution: Education and Outreach.

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