Understanding evolutionary change requires an integrated understanding of genetics and evolution, as well as interrelating concepts from different levels of biological organization. However, students' knowledge about genetics and evolution often remains compartmentalized, and students struggle with thinking across levels. Thus, we present a classroom simulation of how selection affects both phenotypes and genotypes, which helps students distinguish between different levels of biological organization (i.e., phenotype and genotype) and track changes in phenotypes to changes in allele frequencies.
Tribolium castanaeum is a widespread insect in temperate regions. Because of its short generation time and easy handling, it serves as a model organism for various scientific questions. However, T. castanaeum, or its larger-sized relative Tenebrio molitor, can also be used at a school or college level to foster students' experimentation skills. We present a set of inquiry tasks that build stepwise on one another, using T. castanaeum or T. molitor as the model. The students will learn not only about insect ecology, but also about the influence of nutrition on several fitness parameters, such as development time and offspring number.