Author: Jenny McGuire
Overview: This lesson allows students to virtually follow along the route that Darwin took on the HMS Beagle and make similar observations. This guided activity will allow them to reach similar conclusions as those made by Darwin himself.
- Selective breeding can recombine existing variation.
- Some animals have lived in the past that do not live today.
- Different animals are adapted to eat different foods.
- Animals that eat similar foods may look alike even though they are not closely related to one another.
Grade Span: 812
Gather materials and set up stations. Make duplicates of stations as necessary:
- Station 1: England
- Map of Darwin's voyage with England highlighted
- Picture of Darwin's house in England
- Picture of dogs
- Picture of pigeons
- Station 2: South America
- Map of Darwin's voyage with South America highlighted
- Picture of South America, circa 1832
- Picture of various rodents
- Picture of sloths
- Station 3: Galapagos Islands
- Map of Darwin's voyage with the Galapagos Islands highlighted
- Picture of the Galapagos Islands
- Picture of Galapagos Finches
- Station 4: Australia
- Map of Darwin's voyage with Australia highlighted
- Picture with two views of Australia, circa 1830 and 1841
- Picture of wolf skulls
- Picture of marsupial wolf and timber wolf (print on reverse side of skulls image)
Lead-up lesson: Introduction to Darwin, using overheads
Time: two hours
Grouping: Groups of 2-4 students are best. Make multiple replicates of stations if necessary.
Teacher Background: Explore this American Museum of Natural History site for information on Darwin and his voyage.
Vocabulary: evolution, adaptation, species, offspring, extinction, marsupial, monotreme, convergence (optional)
- Using the overheads, review who Darwin is and where he took his famous voyage (15 min).
- Pass out a worksheet set to each student.
- Divide students into groups and send each group to a station (5 min).
- Allow students ~20 minutes per station (80 min).
- Allot time for a follow-up discussion (20 min).