Human Change Through Time

Human Change Through Time

Human Change Through Time

Problem: How useful is an opposable thumb?

Background Information: Human beings are classified by biologists in the order Primates. Primates usually have opposable thumbs. An opposable thumb is long & flexible enough to touch the tips of each finger and enables primates to grasp & hold on to objects in different ways.

Materials: Masking Tape/Bottle with a screw-on cap/Sheet of white paper/Clock or watch with a second hand/Your own shoe/A door with a knob/Shirt with a button/Book

Procedure:

1. With a partner, time how long it takes to do each activity below (with your thumb free) and record your results on the data table.

A. Write your nameE. Open a book and turn to page 25

B. Fold a piece of paper in half, then in half againF. Open a door

C. Remove one shoe then put it on againG. Unbutton a button & button it again

D. Unscrew the cap of a bottle

2. Using masking tape, have your partner tape each of your thumbs to the index finger of each hand. (DON'T TAPE TOO TIGHT--OR YOU WILL LOSE CIRCULATION!)

3. After your thumbs are taped, complete the 7 activities again. Have your partner time you again.

4. Record taped results in your data table

5. Switch positions with your partner and repeat the activity.

Human Change Through Time

Problem: How useful is an opposable thumb?

Background Information: Human beings are classified by biologists in the order Primates. Primates usually have opposable thumbs. An opposable thumb is long & flexible enough to touch the tips of each finger and enables primates to grasp & hold on to objects in different ways.

Materials: Masking Tape/Bottle with a screw-on cap/Sheet of white paper/Clock or watch with a second hand/Your own shoe/A door with a knob/Shirt with a button/Book

Procedure:

1. With a partner, time how long it takes to do each activity below (with your thumb free) and record your results on the data table.

A. Write your nameE. Open a book and turn to page 25

B. Fold a piece of paper in half, then in half againF. Open a door

C. Remove one shoe then put it on againG. Unbutton a button & button it again

D. Unscrew the cap of a bottle

2. Using masking tape, have your partner tape each of your thumbs to the index finger of each hand. (DON'T TAPE TOO TIGHT--OR YOU WILL LOSE CIRCULATION!)

3. After your thumbs are taped, complete the 7 activities again. Have your partner time you again.

4. Record taped results in your data table

5. Switch positions with your partner and repeat the activity.

HUMAN CHANGE THROUGH TIME/Quick Lab

ACTIVITY / THUMBS FREE (seconds/minutes) / THUMBS TAPED (seconds/minutes) / TIME DIFFERENCE (seconds/minutes)
YOU PARTNER / YOU PARTNER / YOU PARTNER
A
B
C
D
E
F
G

DATA ANALYSIS: (answer the questions below based on the data you collected for yourself)

1. How much longer did it take to do each activity with your thumbs taped? Average Time: ______

2. Did any activity take less time to do with your thumbs taped than with your thumbs free? If so, which ones: ______

CONCLUSION:

1. Which activities were the most difficult for you to do with your thumbs taped? Why? ______

2. How useful is your opposable thumb? (and "very" is not an answer!) Think about animals that do not have an opposable thumb. ______

3. What main function does the thumb serve in each activity? ______