Upper Key Stage 2 Dinosaurs and Fossils
Charles Darwin and evolution

Become an expert on Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. Learn about his life, his research, the fossils he collected, his theories about geology, his beliefs about extinction and how he wrote his theory of evolution. Select the songs and poems which best show what you have learned about Darwin and perform them for the rest of the school.

Session 1 Darwin's life and work

Objectives

Science

  • Find out about the work of Charles Darwin.

English

  • Read and discuss an increasingly wide range of poetry, non-fiction.

Planning and Activities

Explore the life and research of Charles Darwin. Use poetry to capture what you have learned.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To address research questions about Charles Darwin.
  • To read poetry and poetic non-fiction and discuss the role of poetry in communication.

Children will:

  • Generate research questions.
  • Address research questions.
  • Decode and discuss poetry.

You Will Need

  • Non-fiction books for research and internet access

Session 2 Darwin the fossil hunter

Objectives

Science

  • Find out about the work of Charles Darwin.

English

  • Write for a particular purpose.

Planning and Activities

Learn about Darwin’s fossils and write a silly poem to remember which ones he found and what he thought about them.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To find out about the fossils that Darwin found.
  • To write a humorous rhyme about Darwin's fossils.

Children will:

  • Generate and address research questions.
  • Understand why some animals become large and why they could go extinct.
  • Apply some of the research they have done in a creative writing format.

You Will Need

  • Non-Fiction books for research and internet access

Weblinks

Darwin, rocks, geology. palaeontology and fossils from darwin200.christs.cam.ac.uk
Darwin's principles based on looking at fossils from nyu.edu
Darwin's first clues from ngm.nationalgeographic.com
Article about why some animals become big from slate.com
Article about Darwin's giant sloth from beagleproject.wordpress.com
Page of silly rhymes from activityvillage.co.uk
Limericks from brownielocks.com
Limericks about fossils from the fossilforum.com
Pobble An on-line writing website which showcases over 100,000 pieces of writing, including examples based on Hamilton plans

Session 3 Darwin the geologist

Objectives

Science

  • Find out about the work of Charles Darwin.

English

  • Write for a particular purpose.

Planning and Activities

Explore Darwin’s theories about geology and write a haiku.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To find out about Darwin's work on geology and the age of the earth.
  • To write a haiku about the age of the earth.

Children will:

  • Conduct demonstrations to illustrate geological processes
  • Understand that slow and gradual processes can lead to large effects.
  • Apply some of the research they have done in a creative writing format.

You Will Need

  • Milky Way bars for experiment

Weblinks

Haikus about Darwin from thehaikudiaries.wordpress.com
Haikus about geology from people.hws.edu
Article about Darwin the geologist from blogs.scientificamerican.com
Article about Darwin and geology from darwin200.christs.cam.ac.uk
Podcast about Darwin and geology from sms.cam.ac.uk
Making a model river valley from sciencebuddies.org.
The effects of freezing water on rocks from education.com
Pobble An on-line writing website which showcases over 100,000 pieces of writing, including examples based on Hamilton plans

Session 4 Darwin on extinction

Objectives

Science

  • Find out about the work of Charles Darwin.

English

  • Write for a particular purpose.
  • Read and discuss an increasingly wide range of poetry.

Planning and Activities

Learn about Darwin’s beliefs about extinction and evolution. Show what you understand by writing a Fibonacci poem.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To find out about what Darwin thought about extinction.
  • To write a Fibonacci poem about extinction.

Children will:

  • Explain what Darwin thought about extinction.
  • Predict the discovery of some 'missing links'.
  • Apply some of the research they have done in a creative writing format.

You Will Need

You do not need any particular resources for this session.

Weblinks

Information from the Natural History Museum about Archaeopteryx from nhm.ac.uk
The evolution of birds from berkeley.edu
Information on Darwin and human evolution from darwin200.christs.cam.ac.uk
Information about the walking whale Ambulocetus from the American Museum of Natural History from amnh.org
Information about the evolution of whales from talkorigins.org
Information about the walking fist Tiktaalik from tiktaalik.uchicago.edu
Example of Fibonacci poems from poetryfoundation.org
Plant extinction game from charlesdarwintrust.org (please enable Flash in your browser)
Pobble An on-line writing website which showcases over 100,000 pieces of writing, including examples based on Hamilton plans

Session 5 Darwin and evolution

Objectives

Science

  • Find out about the work of Charles Darwin.

English

  • Write for a particular purpose.
  • Prepare poems and plays to read aloud and to perform.

Planning and Activities

Explore how Darwin came up with his theory of evolution by natural selection and write a Horrible Histories style song.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To find out about Darwin theory of evolution.
  • To write a Horrible Histories style song about evolution.

Children will:

  • Explain what Darwin thought about evolution.
  • Explain natural selection based on the evolution games.
  • Apply some of the research they have done in a creative writing format.

You Will Need

You do not need any particular resources for this session.

Session 6 Evolution performance

Objectives

Science

  • Find out about the work of Charles Darwin.

English

  • Perform in public, read aloud their own writing to a group or the whole class, using appropriate intonation and controlling the tone and volume so that the meaning is clear.

Planning and Activities

Select the songs and poems that best show what you have learned about Darwin. Practise and then perform them for the rest of the school.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To find out about Darwin theory of evolution.
  • To perform a piece of poetry or a song for the school using the right intonation, tone and volume of voice.

Children will:

  • Explain Darwin's theory on fossils, geology, extinction and evolution by natural selection.
  • Perform some of their own work in public.

Provided Resources

This session does not need any provided resources.

You Will Need

  • Video camera or other recording device