Candy Dish Natural Selection

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In this yummy biology activity (page 3 of the PDF), learners participate in a demonstration of natural selection. By using a bowl of candy as a "population," students discover how individual traits and variation affect survival. Although this was created as a pre-visit activity for a work shop about genetics, it also makes an excellent stand alone activity.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
5 to 10 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 11 - 18

Resource Types:
Activity, Simulation


Materials List (per group of students)

  • Variety of candies (avoid candies with nuts for kids who are allergic).
  • A large bowl


  • Life Sciences
    • Evolution
      • Mechanisms of Evolution
    • Heredity and Genetics
      • Patterns of Heredity

Informal Categories

  • Food and Cooking
  • Nature and Environment


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • see color
  • read
  • taste
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves hands-on or lab activities


Includes alignment to state and/or national standards:

This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, COSI Colmbus, 2009