Visit the Darwin Day Web Site for more resources and material.
Darwin Day is celebrated on February 12 - the birth date of Charles Robert Darwin. Darwin traveled for five years aboard the HMS Beagle where he explored the flora and fauna of South America, Australia and several islands along the way. He investigated the landscapes, sent boxes of specimens home to England for further study and kept detailed notes of his observations. When he returned home he began intensive study of his findings and twenty years later he produced a scientific theory that would revolutionize our world. The theory of evolution by natural selection has withstood 150 years of scientific scrutiny and continues to make advancements through work in biology, genetics, geology, paleontology, microbiology, anthropology and many other scientific disciplines.
Darwin Day recognizes and celebrates the achievements of a man who cast a bright, explanatory light on reality, our self-knowledge, and on the world of which we are a part. He contributed to our understanding at the deepest level and forever changed the way we see ourselves within the universe. He brought about a paradigm shift of epic proportions. To Richard Dawkins, Darwin's theory of evolution is 'the universal solvent.' To Ernst Mayr it 'has had a profound influence on modern thought during the past 150 years.' For Daniel Dennett it is simply 'the greatest idea, ever.'
Charles Darwin's life and work warrant a celebration of global extent. This mere mortal symbolizes the brave, human enterprise of science in confronting the mystery of existence. His life and work exemplify the spirit of wonder, curiosity and adventure along with the excitement that the quest for knowledge and understanding can provide.
Consider incorporating an activity or lesson plan in the classroom on February 12 and join in the global celebrations for Darwin Day.
Darwin Detective Scavenger Hunt
Put together a list of items that students can find in their immediate surroundings and that have something or other to do with science or natural history. Assign teams to go out and gather the objects and bring them back to the classroom where they can be explored in further detail and used in lesson plans. Give a prize to the first team back from the scavenger hunt with all the right items.
Dinosaur Spelling Bee
This activity is great fun for elementary school students. The number of dinosaur species science has now discovered in the fossil record and the strange and complicated names that are given to them are of great interest to young people. In addition to a spelling bee, accompanying lessons can explore a variety of fascinating facts and speculation about dinosaurs.
Naturalist for a Day
A field trip for Darwin Day is a great way to teach students about the natural environment right outside their door and can also be a fun activity and a nice break from the classroom. Look through the suggestions that will be provided here and see how they can be incorporated into a lesson plan and a Darwin Day event.
Show & Tell
All aspects of life are influenced by the theory of evolution - as are several inorganic objects - and can be found everywhere in our environment. Whether a blade of grass, a rock, a tooth, a water droplet, a footprint or one of a million+ objects - they all have something to do with the evolution of life on our planet. Show and tell allows students to find an object and discover the connection it has with evolutionary theory and then share that information with others.
More ideas? Let us know!
© Copyright 2000, 2001 Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal