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Online Course for Teachers: Teaching Evolution

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SESSION 2: How Does Darwin's Theory Illustrate the Process of Science?

Facilitator Notes for SESSION 2

Explore Part A
Note 1: This activity can be done as a "jigsaw," with the three different scientists assigned to different groups. Each group will study both the content and scientific process of one scientist's theory and then teach each other what they've learned. The whole class will then discuss differences in theories between Lamarck, Wallace, and Darwin.

Explore Part B
Note 2: Suggest that participants who have access to the software program TimeLiner use it to make their timelines.

Explain Part A
Note 3: Darwin saw bands of compressed sea shells and corals thirty feet above sea level and noted it as evidence that the earth is continually changing by geological forces. Darwin noticed that animals on different islands appeared similar, but were different. He also noted that island species appeared similar to animals on the mainland and wondered if they could have changed to become different species. He saw fossils of extinct armadillos that looked similar to living species of armadillos in the same area. He also saw an incredible diversity of plants and animals on his journey. Darwin's observations led him to accept that the earth was undergoing continual, gradual geological changes and that species did change or evolve over time. These observations also caused him to wonder whether the isolation of species on islands led to species changing into new species.

Explain Part B
Note 4: These letters demonstrate how Darwin experimented with seeds in salt water, seed germination in mud samples from ponds, collection and observation of seeds in owl pellets, and communicated with other scientists to identify the ways plants could be dispersed to islands.

Note 5: Collect and post examples of different but comprehensive concept maps.

Note 6: Have other participants suggest resources for unanswered questions and discuss.

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