charolettes web

Charlotte’s Web (1973)

Concept featured in clip:Genetic diversity; biodiversity
Location of clip: DVD: 1:27:28 - 1:31:57


Play Flickclip Here

Summary of clip: Charlotte's babies are born in the barn and they float away on what looks like parachutes.

Connection of flickclip to the concept:This clip is an engaging way to begin a learning cycle about the importance of biodiversity. When spiders are born they go through "ballooning" where they disperse themselves. This ballooning is important because it cuts down on competition between siblings and it allows for genetic diversity. When the spiders float to another population they will most likely mate with them instead of inbreeding among their own family; thus, insuring genetic diversity.
Suggestions to teachers:

1. Suggested questions for students when viewing the clip:

a. When the spiders are born they are dispersed through the process called ballooning. What could be some of the reasons that spiders do this?

b. Why is it important to try and maintain genetic diversity? What happens if genetic diversity is limited?

c. What other species have methods for ensuring genetic diversity? What about humans?

2. After watching this clip, students can work in groups and research other ways that species, such as plants with pollination, make sure that genes are spread across populations. The groups can present their findings to the rest of the class.

3. Students can take a more in-depth look at species that have limited genetic diversity such as cheetahs and dandelions to see what effect that has on the overall health of the species.

4. As an evaluation to a unit on genetic variation you can show this clip and have students describe what is happening and why it is important for the ballooning to occur in terms of the genetic health of the spider population.