Natural Selection Simulation – Directions and Link

After we played our Clipbirds game, I went looking for an online simulation for the kids to play with natural selection some more. Playing Clipbirds is effective and fun, but we could only play for about 30 minutes until we ran out of time. This online PhET simulation will help fill in any gaps in learning about natural selection.

Natural Selection


Click to Run

If the above image doesn’t work, use this link to PhET: Link to Natural Selection Activity

You must have Java enabled to run this online simulation. Below are instructions from a teacher’s activity, which will help you and your child get used to the settings and understand what is happening on the screen. But feel free to play!

Directions and Questions:

Task 1 – get used to settings and simulation.
1. Click Run Now for Natural Selection simulation
2. Watch the bunny hop across the screen until it dies
3. Notice that as time passes, the population remains zero.
4. Skip forward until the bunny dies and click play again to see the bunny of the next generation.

1.    Why is the population growing?
2.    FUR COLOR–Why do white vs brown bunnies survive in both environments?

TASK 2 : Add friends
1.    Click add a friend. After 3 generations, click pause.     What happened to the population of bunnies and why?
2.    PREDICT what would happen if you add wolves?
3.    Why do you think the bunnies died?

TASK 3: Add wolves
1.    Select wolves as the selection factor and then click play.
PREDICT what will happen to the bunnies
2. Add wolves and pause after 1 generation.
3. What happens to the bunnies?  Did the results match your predictions?

Observe how the wolves attack the bunnies in each environment

TASK 4 : Add brown fur
1.    Select wolves as selection factor and Click on “brown fur”.
2.    PREDICT what will happen to the bunnies this time.
3.    Pause generations. What happened to the brown bunnies?

TASK 5: Change environment
1.    PREDICT what would happen to the bunnies in a different environment
2.    Select arctic environment
3.    Click Play
4.    What happens to the brown bunnies?



Leave a Comment