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Online Lessons for Teachers: Learning Evolution
 Who was Charles Darwin?
 Scientific Terms

Common Ancestor


Natural Selection


Today it is widely accepted that the Earth orbits the Sun and not the other way around. But before Copernicus proposed this idea in 1543, people did not understand the structure of the solar system. They assumed that Earth was at the center of everything. Similarly, before Darwin published On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, most people assumed that each species appeared on Earth spontaneously and was unrelated to other living things. Today, thanks to Darwin, it is generally accepted that all living things are related. They share, in Darwin's terms, a common ancestor. We now know that they also share a common genetic blueprint. So when Darwin observed nature, what did he see that led him to his revolutionary perspective? How did he develop his theory of evolution by natural selection?

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Activity 1: Darwin's Great Voyage of Discovery
Follow in Darwin's footsteps as he sails to distant lands, encounters exotic creatures, and develops his theory of natural selection.

Teacher Notes

Image of a finch.

Activity 2: Evolution's Role in History
Find out how scientific ideas paved the way for Darwin's theory of natural selection and how his theory changed the course of not just science, but also the world.

Teacher Notes

Additional Activity
Paul Revere and William Dawes...Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. Why is it that we remember one and not the other? Compare the ideas of Wallace and Darwin.

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