Beetle Battles


Dung beetles are one of the many animals that utilize competition during mating. This experiment focuses on male-male competition and female choice via male dung beetles fighting for dominance over a females tunnel where she will chose which mate she prefers. Students will analyze which traits are preferred and argue how it affects the males likelihood of being chosen.

Each Data Nugget comes with three student versions, based on the type of graphing skills required. Type A activities provide the graph for the students (allowing a focus on graph interpretation, making claims based on evidence, and explaining reasoning), Type B activities provide axis labels but requires students to graph the data, and Type C provides an unlabeled grid on which to draw a graph.

The supplemental resources for this lesson are extensive:

  • Teacher guide (available free with a login)
  • Grading Rubric
  • Links to original research paper

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