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Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science
work in groups to propose an explanation. The students should emphasize the role of hypotheses in the development of scientific explanations.
Evaluate Have the students consider the following case. Suppose a group of farmers notices the gradual acquisition of resistance to insecticide A over a period of months. They locate two other equally powerful although chemically unrelated insecticides, insecticides B and C. The local Agriculture Department sets up a program whereby all the farmers in the state will use only insecticide A for the current year. No one is to use insecticides B or C. The following year, everyone is directed to use insecticide B rather than insecticide A. The fly population, which had become resistant to insecticide A, is now susceptible to insecticide B and can be kept under control much more thoroughly than if the farmers had continued using insecticide A. At the beginning of the third year, all of the farmers begin using insecticide C, which again reduces the fly population greatly. As the fourth year begins, insecticide A is again used, and it proves to once again be extremely effective against the flies.
Have students analyze this situation and propose an explanation of what has happened. How would they design an investigation to support or reject their hypothesis?