Teaching the Explore

What do you know?

Show the picture of Charles Darwin on the slide to pupils

Ask them to consider who he is and why he might be significant.

Find out more about Darwin and introduce the pupils to some of the reasons he is still significant today. The teaching slide gives some key information about him.

Ask pupils to watch the BBC video in the slide before they complete the significant individual mind map.

Significant individual mind map

Show the class the blank mind map on the slide and ask them to complete it with what they have learned.

What did the pupils note down? Create a class fact list on Darwin. Use the model answer on the teaching slide to check pupils’ understanding of the video. Explain that Darwin, and his colleague/competitor, Alfred Wallace, spent their lives investigating evolution and adaptation. They explored their theories through observation and scientific questioning. They both travelled the world extensively.

Theory of evolution and natural selection

Ask the class to watch the video about the work of Darwin and Wallace, the Theory of Evolution and natural selection.

Ask pupils to define the key vocabulary:

  1. Evolution
  2. Natural selection
  3. Adaptation

Explain to pupils that during the Victorian era, the Christian faith was widespread, and the church had a lot of power and influence. Darwin and Wallace upset many people with their theories as the religious view is very different. Pupils should be encouraged to consider how Darwin and his ideas were received during his lifetime. To many at the time he was seen as a threat because of the challenge he provided to religion and belief.

It was only many years after Darwin’s death that the scientific community started to prove some of his theories. Ask pupils to put themselves in Darwin’s shoes: how would they feel, being so certain of their theories, but so challenged by their community?

Thinking point

Encourage pupils to answer the following statement: ‘We should only value the thoughts and theories of people after they have died.’

This task will develop pupils’ ability to balance an argument and justify their position.

Can you remember?

Use these slides to revisit what was learned about the Galápagos Islands in Explore 9, learn more about Darwin’s visit to the islands and research some of the native species he discovered there. The slides include a link to a website with information on the native wildlife:

The life of Darwin

What can pupils remember? Explain to pupils that Darwin spent a lot of time on the Galápagos studying the native animal and plant species and this sparked his Theory of Evolution. Find out about some of these species and complete an animal chart. The slide shows how pupils should lay it out. Information could include size, diet, conservation status etc.

Pupils to consider how these animals have adapted to fit their habitat. Consider all the different species of tortoises that there were after adaptation.

Have a look at a timeline for Darwin’s life:

Main task

Pupils to create a timeline of their own outlining the key points/events of Darwin’s life. Remind them of the need for chronological order. Pupils to use the support slides if necessary.

Assess, reflect, connect

Continuum task

Pupils to make a judgement on the impact of Charles Darwin on our lives today. Pupils need to use evidence from the Explore to support their decision.

Final Question: What impact do Darwin’s theories and ideas have on science and what people believe?