In SLS 12, Erin Blevins engages her students by bringing in actual fish in order to start a discussion of adaptation and evolution.
As Erin writes in her Derek Bok Center blog posting, "As everyone observes the fish and consults the specimen labels, they notice that the two fish are the same species, but have some striking differences—one of them is blind. Why is it blind? Where is it from? Is it just a one-off mutant? Have I made you curious to know?" This leads to a discussion of evolution and ties into Darwin's On the Origin of Species. The conversation can also touch on current research.
Erin notes that this type of activity helps get a conversation going, as everybody can observe the item in front of them. "Concepts emerge organically," she says.