Evolution: Founding Theories and principles

Evolution: Founding Theories and Principles Lab Reporting Worksheet

In science, reporting what has been done in a laboratory setting is incredibly important for communicating, replicating, and validating findings. However, writing scientific reports can be a little overwhelming. There is a set of agreed-upon components that the scientific community requires when reporting scientific research. Answer the following questions to describe what occurred during the lab you conducted in Labster. Be sure to use complete sentences and descriptions that fully represent what you experienced. Writing a lab report is less about being correct or incorrect than it is accurately reporting what happened and why. So, do not worry about reporting data that might seem counterintuitive or unexpected. Focus on clearly communicating what you did and what you observed.

Write your answers on a new line.


What was the title of the lab you completed?

What was the subject you were trying to understand better in the lab?

What information from the textbook and classroom is relevant for the subject you were trying to gain a better understand of in the lab? Identify the concepts and explain how they are related to the lab topic.

  • During the lab, what information from the theory section provided additional background information about the subject? (To review the theory section, launch the lab and click the Theory tab on the top of the data pad). Identify the concepts and explain how they are related to the lab topic.
  • Most scientific observation involves examining phenomena or processes. What phenomenon or process were you observing in the lab? What were you able to change and explore? What did the simulation not allow to change?
  • You have already described the phenomenon or process you studied in the lab in the previous section. Now, take some time to fully describe the steps you took during the lab. Do not include the process of you logging into the lab in your description. For this virtual lab, a short, high-level summary will suffice.
  • Describe some of the observations you made. What did you write down or keep track of? What did each of your senses observe during the lab process? What did you see (e.g., changes in colors, movement, shapes, sizes, patterns)? What, if anything, did you measure? What did you hear (e.g., sounds from reactions, collisions, error messages)? What did your lab character touch? Did you notice anything that seemed unexpected? Did you notice anything that you did not expect to observe?
  • Which parts of the lab required you to think more than others and required more time? Which parts were simple and completed easily?
  • What did you notice about the phenomenon or process you explored?
  • Describe any information about the phenomenon or process that you learned.
  • During your lab, what happened that might have had an impact on the accuracy of your observations? Did the simulation alert you that an error was occurring? If so, how did you resolve it?
  • The discussion section also is used to summarize big ideas from the lab. What were the important learnings about the phenomenon or process from the lab?
  • After scientists have identified how the new knowledge fits into the old knowledge, they discuss the implications of the new information for moving forward. In this class, the purpose of study is to learn some foundational science ideas represented by the course learning outcomes. Review the course learning outcome aligned to this lab in the assignment directions in Blackboard. How is the information from this lab related to the course learning outcome? What knowledge has the lab supported you with learning that is related to this course learning outcome?
  • Following scientific research, scientists usually come up with new questions that result from what they learned. These new questions often end up leading to new research in the future. What additional scientific things do you wonder about after completing and writing about your lab experience?
  • Topic
  • Background Information
  • Method

Describing what you did during a lab supports other scientists in replicating your work. It is through this consistent replication that scientists are able to see repeating patterns and develop ideas that help move science forward. When you discuss your observations, in a later section, you will have to describe, in detail, what you did. You may also have to describe what choices you made, why you made them, and any concerns about things that occurred that were unexpected. To have enough information to do this, you need to keep very detailed notes. What doesn’t seem important in the moment may end up being something that explains your findings later. A benefit of conducting virtual labs when learning science, is that many potential errors are controlled for you. The virtual lab environment often will alert you if something is not going the way it should. This does not occur in non-virtual settings. The virtual lab setting can be very helpful to learners for this reason. However, we still need to practice documenting so those skills are practiced for the lab experiences when technology will not be there as a coach.


Many lessons learned from scientific research come from the reporting and analysis of data and observations. This part of scientific reporting requires detailed descriptions of technical information and observations, as well as high-level synthesis of information. High-level synthesis requires a mastery of foundational content in the related scientific field and a complementary mastery in some field of quantitative and/or qualitative analysis. For this report, let’s focus on big picture patterns.


The discussion section is used to explain why things might have happened the way that they did in your research. Here, scientists describe any potential anomalies or mistakes and why they think they may have occurred.


The conclusion section of a lab report describes how the learnings from the lab research fit in to prior scientific knowledge. This is done by comparing new information to previously known information that was identified in the section of your report that discusses background information.


Title: Evolution: Founding Theories and Principles Lab Reporting Worksheet

Subject: The subject of the lab was to gain a better understanding of the founding theories and principles of evolution.

Relevant Information from Textbook and Classroom: Concepts such as natural selection, adaptation, speciation, genetic variation, and survival of the fittest are relevant to understanding evolution. These concepts explain how species change over time in response to environmental pressures and how new species emerge through the process of evolution.

Information from Theory Section: The theory section provided background information on key concepts such as Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection, Gregor Mendel’s principles of inheritance, and the modern synthesis of evolutionary biology. These concepts are fundamental to understanding the mechanisms of evolution and how genetic variation leads to changes in populations over time.

Phenomenon or Process Observed: The phenomenon observed in the lab was the process of natural selection and genetic variation within a population. We were able to change and explore different environmental conditions and selective pressures to observe their effects on the population’s traits and survival. The simulation did not allow us to manipulate the genetic makeup of individuals directly.

Steps Taken During Lab: During the lab, we conducted experiments to simulate the effects of different selective pressures on a population of virtual organisms. We adjusted environmental conditions such as food availability, predation risk, and reproductive success to observe how these factors influenced the traits and survival of the population.

Observations Made: We observed changes in the population’s traits over successive generations in response to selective pressures. These changes included variations in size, coloration, and reproductive strategies. We measured the frequency of different traits within the population and recorded how they changed over time. We also heard simulated sounds indicating successful reproduction and observed virtual organisms interacting with their environment.

Complexity of Lab Sections: The sections of the lab that required more time and thought were those involving data analysis and interpretation. Analyzing the effects of different selective pressures on the population’s traits required careful observation and critical thinking. On the other hand, setting up the initial conditions and running simulations were relatively simple and completed easily.

Learnings About Phenomenon or Process: Through the lab, we learned that natural selection acts as a mechanism for driving evolutionary change by favoring traits that increase an organism’s fitness in a given environment. We also gained insight into the role of genetic variation in providing the raw material for evolution to occur.

Impact on Accuracy of Observations: The accuracy of our observations may have been impacted by factors such as the complexity of the simulation model and potential errors in data collection or analysis. The simulation did not alert us to errors directly, but we had to carefully monitor the data output for consistency and validity.

Discussion of Important Learnings: The lab highlighted the significance of natural selection as a driving force of evolution and the role of genetic variation in generating biodiversity. It also emphasized the importance of environmental factors in shaping the traits and behaviors of populations over time.

Relation to Course Learning Outcome: The information from this lab is related to the course learning outcome of understanding the mechanisms of evolution and their significance in shaping biological diversity. It has supported our learning by providing hands-on experience with simulating evolutionary processes and observing their outcomes.

Additional Scientific Questions: After completing the lab, I wonder about the long-term effects of human-induced environmental changes on evolutionary trajectories and the potential for organisms to adapt to rapidly changing conditions. I also wonder about the interactions between different selective pressures and how they influence the evolution of complex traits. These questions could inspire future research in the field of evolutionary biology.


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