The Peppered Moth

This term, our science unit has been Evolution and Adaptation. The children have been really enjoying learning about how animals are adapted to their environment; the concept of advantageous mutations; DNA, chromosomes and genes and their role in inheritance; what survival of the fittest means; and how the theory of evolution developed through the discovery of fossils.

Children learned about the peppered moth and advantageous mutations due to the environment. They then wrote an explanation about how the peppered moth demonstrates natural selection. I will let you read the children’s work below for their explanation. Since we have been following The Writing Revolution programme, the children have made fantastic progress in their non-fiction writing and this can be seen in their mature style and clear explanation as you can see below. I was pleasantly surprised at the outcomes as this is the first time I have used this programme and have found it to be a great success in developing essay writing skills. (Again, I have not edited anything. This is the children’s own work!)

The Peppered moth by Husna
LO: To explain the evolution of the peppered moth.
The white peppered moths can camouflage well on the lichen because it is white. However, the black peppered moths cannot camouflage well on the lichen because black stands out on white. Lichen is a white fungus which grows on trees. This means that the black moths are more likely to be eaten by birds and other predators. Because of this, fewer black forms survive and their population decreases. The population of peppered moths are mostly white peppered moths (white moths with black spots) and there are not much black peppered moth. 
However, in the 19th century, industrialisation had taken over and the use of burning coal had caused great amounts of pollution which killed off the lichens and blackened the tree trunks. So now, the white form of the peppered moths were more obvious to predators while the black form of the peppered moths were less obvious to predators as white stands out on black. So now the black moths are advantageous and can blend in better. As years and years passed, the moths adapted to the changed habitat and black moths began to outnumber white moths. It is now more common for a peppered moth to be born with black wings so it would live longer. This is microevolution, which are small changes within its kind. By 1895, about 98% of the Peppered moths were black. 
From the changes of peppered moths, it was realised that pollution was a problem so in the middle of the 20th century, they started to reduce pollution. As the air quality improved, lichen growth increased and now white peppered moths could camouflage while the black moths were more noticeable and could easily have been caught by predators, like before. Then the peppered moth population reversed back into its original state: the majority of peppered moths are white peppered moths.

The Peppered moth by Hafsah
LO: To explain the evolution of the peppered moth
There are 2 versions of the peppered moth.the peppered and the black one. The peppered version is well camouflaged on the white bark/birch trees; less chance of them getting eaten by predators. Black peppered moths stands out-easier for them to get caught/eaten by predators. Natural selection occurred and black peppered decreased and peppered moths increased and survived This is called “Survival of the fittest”. Then UK built factors and the Industrial Revolution came caused the trees to turn black from soot. The soot made the trees black and that helped the blak peppered moths to hide from predators and the peppered moths were decreasing. Then the UK cleared the pollution and the lichen grew on the  trees and the white peppered moths were camouflaged again and black peppered moths started to decrease in number again. This shows the evolution of the peppered moths.

The Peppered moth by Mohamed
LO: To explain the evolution of the peppered moth
The peppered moth was a type of moth that lived in England. Normally it is white with black spots. Sometimes, though, there is a genetic mutation that made the moths black with black spots. Lichen trees is the tree that peppered moths usually land on. The tree is white with black spots. This meant the moths who were white had camouflage, that meant they survived and they could mate, which meant the population of white moths went up and black moths went down. Then the industrial revolution came and the pollution was so high that lichen trees became black. This meant that the black moths were now camouflaged and they survived longer which meant that the population of black moths went up. Time for a plot twist. Guess what happens next. The factories stopped working so hard and gave out less pollution. That meant that the lichen trees became white again and the white peppered moths were now camouflaged. This meant the white moths survived and could mate. This meant populations went up.
Time for a surprise.There isn’t any more plot twists. This is the end of the long and confusing history of the peppered moth.

The Peppered moth by Juwayriya
LO: To explain the evolution of the peppered moth
In the 19th century, there was a lot of industrialisation occurring in factories and this produced a lot of black dirty fumes. This pollution contaminated trees and killed off the white fungi so that most trees had black trunks. The black peppered moths could then camouflage much better and the white ones were eaten by predators quicker. It became more common for peppered moths to be born with black wings so that they survive longer. This showed a change over time as the moths went from white peppered moths to lots of black winged moths reproducing to have more back moths. By 1895, 98% of peppered moths were completely black! This was due to an extreme pollution problem and excess use of coal was soon banned. When the fumes were reduced due to Government legislation to reduce pollution, banned everything went back to normal and the lichen grew back on the trees and this favoured the white peppered moths again.

The Peppered moth by Maysoon
LO: To explain the evolution of the peppered moth.
At first, the peppered moths were black with white spots all over their wings, hence the name:The Peppered Moth.  There were also moths that were fully black, but these moths were less in numbers, as they could not camouflage as well as The Peppered Moths.  In those times, before the 19th century Industrialisation, Lichen, a white fungus that grows on trees, was the main source of camouflage for moths from predators.  It was this reason that Peppered Moths were the norm in those times but after the 19th century Industrialisation, the smoke from the factories turned the bark of the trees black, which made it a lot harder for the Peppered Moths to camouflage, hence the turning of colour of their wings, which made it easier for them to camouflage.