Tyler Rhodes, an animation student and evolutionary enthusiast in Virginia, came up with a particularly ingenious way to get kids to learn about the concept of evolution: He had them draw variations of an animal, and then submitted each variation to a series of conditions that would determine the survival of the fittest.
The end result is a clever animation that shows how the creatures of the kids' imaginations would change over time.
According to Carin Bondar at Scientific American, here's how his experiment started off - Rhodes drew the following beast and then asked the students to copy it:
As would be expected, each student's version was a bit different. From all those variations, the "fittest" would be selected, of which the kids would again each draw their own version. As this process continued, new variables would be introduced to help decide which version would be most likely to survive: After the drawings were done, Rhodes would inform the students that their creatures would have to adapt to changes in their environment, like droughts, volcanoes, and other natural phenomena.
Eventually, Rhodes assembled all of the drawings into an animation that showed the evolution of the students' creatures - and helped explain a fundamental scientific concept in the process.
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