Schools History Project on www.schoolshistoryproject.org.uk

What’s worth knowing about Charles Darwin?

This Key Stage 3 enquiry from Alison Kitson focuses on the historical significance of Charles Darwin. By the end of the enquiry it is expected that students will:

• Know who Darwin was and what he was like

• Understand why some people at the time found his ideas threatening

• Realise that people can change the world by big ideas

• Explore why Darwin is considered significant today

• Identify what is worth knowing about Darwin and why

The six lessons in the sequence are:

Lesson 1. Who was Darwin?

Lesson 2. What was Darwin’s BIG idea?

Lesson 3. What did people think about Darwin’s BIG idea??

Lesson 4. Has Darwin’s BIG idea changed the world?

Lessons 5. and 6. What’s worth knowing about Darwin?

Downloads

A WORD version of this revision activity and accompanying resources can be downloaded:

• For this activity as a Word document [ click here ]

• For Resource 1 [ click here ]

• For Resource 2 [ click here ]

• For Resource 3 [ click here ]

• For Resource 4 [ click here ]

• For Resource 5 [ click here ]

• For Resource 6 [ click here ]

Lesson One: Who was Charles Darwin?

By the end of this lesson:

• Pupils will know who Darwin was

• Pupils will begin to care about Darwin and be interested in what he did

Activities and resources:

• Pupils not told what or whom they are studying.

• Pupils use a picture of Darwin’s study to infer as much as they can about the mystery person (Resource 1). You can find a picture on Wikipedia [ Click to download picture ]

• Pupils read an information sheet on Darwin (Resource 2) to see how much they guessed.

• Teacher explains the purpose of the enquiry and uses a series of images to illustrate how famous Darwin is, including the £10.

• Teacher checks to see how much pupils already know about Darwin.

• Pupils begin to record ideas about Darwin on the recording sheet. They add to the sheet at the end of each lesson (Resource 3)

Lesson Two: What was Darwin’s BIG idea?

By the end of this lesson pupils will

• have at least a basic understanding of the Theory of Evolution and how this links to mankind

Activities and Resources:

• The ‘Tree of Life’ film is excellent – see [ Click to see film on BBC ]

• Liaise with the science department!

• Get pupils to draw finches.

Lesson Three: What did people think about Darwin’s BIG idea?

By the end of this lesson, pupils will:

• understand the way in which both the context of the 19thC and Darwin as a scholar/person determined how people reacted to his ideas

• understand the diversity of opinions and reactions to Darwin in his lifetime

Activities and resources:

• Card sort (Resource 4)

• End with Wilberforce and Huxley story

Lesson Four: Did Darwin’s BIG idea change the world?

By the end of this lesson, pupils will:

• understand at least a few of the ways that Darwin’s legacy still influences us today

• understand the different ways that Darwin has had an impact on the world

• begin to evaluate the impact that Darwin has had

Activities and resources:

• Have you ever heard of Charles Darwin? [ Click here to see video clip on Wellcome ] 

• Has Darwin’s big idea changed the world? (Resource 5)

Lesson Five: What’s worth knowing about Charles Darwin?

By the end of this lesson, pupils will:

• decide which aspects of Darwin’s life and legacy should go into an introductory film for visitors to Down House ( Darwin’s Home) and therefore make a judgement about what is worth knowing about Darwin

• understand that we use criteria to decide what or who is historically significance and why

Activities and resources:

• Pupils begin the main task – plan an introductory film for visitors to Down House (Resource 6)

• Teacher-led discussion on the kinds of criteria that emerges from the pupils’ thinking

• Introduction of further criteria and refinement of the task (planning stage)

Lesson Six: What’s worth knowing about Charles Darwin? (Part 2)

Objectives as above plus:

• understand that there is no single answer to the question and therefore begin to understand that judgements about what is significant are not fixed.

Activities:

• Pupils listen to each others’ scripts.