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About this Site

Originally launched in 2001 and updated in 2007, the PBS Evolution Web site is intended to serve as a comprehensive learning resource about evolutionary science for teachers, students and the general public.

The site was originally developed in conjunction with an eight-hour television series co-produced by the NOVA Science Unit at WGBH Boston and Clear Blue Sky Productions (now Vulcan Productions). It is designed to function both as a free stand-alone resource and as a companion to the full-length video programs, which are no longer being broadcast on PBS but are available on DVD.

The site has four major components:

  • 7 main topic areas that align closely with the seven programs in the video series
  • A searchable multimedia library with assets organized along lines that correspond with curriculum topics often taught in high school biology. This collection includes assets from other sources as well as from this site.
  • Professional development resources to help science educators develop effective, yet sensitive ways to teach these topics amid the intense debate about the validity of evolutionary theory.
  • Seven short videos designed expressly to stimulate informed discussion in the classroom.

DVDs of all seven full-length programs can be purchased online, either separately or as a boxed set. In addition the seven short videos designed for classroom use can also be purchased, packaged together with four videos that highlight the teaching of evolution in real classrooms around the country.

Key video clips from these programs can also be streamed, free of charge, from the Evolution Library within this Web site. The library includes additional clips on evolution-related topics from other NOVA and WGBH-produced science programs.

Videos streamed from this site are viewable in a 384 x 216 player window in both QuickTime and Real Media formats. The DVD versions play at full-screen resolution from any DVD player or computer equipped with DVD drive.

The site also offers Web activities that promote exploratory learning about evolution at a deeper level. These activities function on computers equipped with Flash and Shockwave plug-ins.

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  Show 1: Darwin's Dangerous Idea
  Darwin's Diary (interactive biography) Low-Bandwidth Version
Delve into the private thoughts of a reluctant revolutionary.
    In the Name of Darwin (illustrated essay)
Racism and bigotry are linked, unjustly, to Darwin. Learn why.
    An Origin of Species (interactive activity) Low-Bandwidth Version
Witness for yourself how a new species can evolve.
  Show 2: Great Transformations
    All in the Family (game) Low-Bandwidth Version
Test your skills at judging who's who on the tree of life.
    Deep Time (timeline) Low-Bandwidth Version
Explore 4 billion years of life on Earth.
    Life's Grand Design (illustrated essay)
Are nature's complex forms evidence of "intelligent design"?
  Show 3: Extinction!
    What Killed the Dinosaurs? (interactive activity) Low-Bandwidth Version
Find clues to one of life's most compelling mysteries.
    A Modern Mass Extinction? (roundtable)
Are we in the midst of one? And if so, did we trigger it?
  Show 4: The Evolutionary Arms Race
    Coral Reef Connections (interactive activity) Low-Bandwidth Version
Dive in and explore what makes this beautiful world so fragile.
    Microbe Clock (simulation) Low-Bandwidth Version
Learn how deadly microbes outpace medical breakthroughs.
    The Evolving Enemy (roundtable)
Experts discuss how we can stop deadly, drug-resistant microbes.
  Show 5: Why Sex?
    Sex and the Single Guppy (simulation) Low-Bandwidth Version
Play in our streams and see how exhibitionism has an evolutionary payoff.
    The Mating Game (game) Low-Bandwidth Version
Help our contestants pass their genes down the evolutionary line.
    The Advantage of Sex (illustrated essay)
Why did sex evolve? The likely answers may surprise you.
    Is Love in Our DNA? (poll)
Did evolution shape your taste in a mate? Take our poll.
  Show 6: The Mind's Big Bang
    Origins of Humankind (timeline) Low-Bandwidth Version
Examine an 6-million-year-old fossil record.
    Babies by Design (poll)
Should we attempt to control our heredity? Take our poll.
    Is Intelligent Life Inevitable? (poll)
Does intelligence have to look human? Decide for yourself.
    Riddle of the Bones (interactive activity) Low-Bandwidth Version
Piece together clues to how one of our early ancestors looked.
  Show 7: What About God?
    Science and Faith (roundtable)
How can we reconcile evolution and religion?
    Evolution Revolution (timeline) Low-Bandwidth Version
Explore the rise of a revolutionary idea and the controversies that surround it.
  Evolution Library
    Project resources, including video and audio segments, interviews, images, and source documents, plus external Web links and book and video references, all organized according to these topics:
    What Is Science?
    Age of Darwin
    Evolution Since Darwin
    Adaptation and Natural Selection
    Evolution of Diversity
    Deep Time/History of Life
    Human Evolution
    Evidence of Evolution
    Why Evolution Matters
    Science, Faith, and Politics
  Teachers and Students
  Multimedia resources to help you learn about and teach evolution.
  Online Course for Teachers: Teaching Evolution
  Examine major evolutionary concepts, explore teaching methodologies, and address obstacles to teaching in this eight-session professional development course.
    What Is the Nature of Science?
    How Does Darwin's Theory of Evolution Illustrate the Process of Science?
    What Is the Evidence for Evolution?
    What Are the Processes for Evolution?
    How Did Humans Evolve? Is Evolution Still Happening?
    How Can You Address Student Misconceptions about Evolution?
    How Can You Use Active Learning to Teach Evolution?
    How Can You Deal with Controversy?
  Online Lessons for Students: Learning Evolution
  Seven online lessons help students understand evolution and the nature of science.
    What Is the Nature of Science?
    Who Was Charles Darwin?
    What Is the Evidence for Evolution?
    How Does Evolution Work?
    How Did Humans Evolve?
    Why Does Evolution Matter Now?
    Why Is Evolution Controversial?
    Videos for Teachers: Teaching Evolution Case Studies
    Four 15-minute videos highlight effective strategies for teaching evolution in real classrooms across the country.
  Videos for Students: Evolving Ideas
    Seven short videos combine storytelling and science to spur classroom discussions about evolution.
  Teacher's Guide
    Free, 40-page guide includes engaging, curriculum-based activities and multimedia resources on science and evolution. Available in PDF version, or request a printed copy.
  About the TV Series
  Frequently Asked Questions
  Site Credits
  Source Credits

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