preparing for your visit: grades k-4

The following activities are designed to help you and your students make the most of your visit to the Darwin exhibition.

Darwin's Words:

Read this anecdote from Darwin's life aloud to your students:
"One day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles, and seized one in each hand. Then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas! it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as was the third one."
— Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin
Follow up with questions such as:
  • What does this story tell you about the kind of person Darwin was?
  • Why was he so keen on collecting all three beetles?
  • What do you think Darwin learned from the experience?

Observation Activity:

Hand out clipboards and paper and take your class for a walk outside to look for living things. Ask questions such as, what is a living thing? Where might we find them? How could we record what we find? Using pictures or words, ask students to describe every living thing they see, hear, or smell. Back in the classroom, talk about what students found, where, and why. What connections can students make between what they found and what those species need to survive?

Internet Activity:

Direct your students to visit the Animals, Adaptation, & the Galàpagos Science Explorations website (http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/explorations/adaptation/). The Level I activity engages students in one of the most important scientific skills — observation — and includes an online interactive and off-line writing exercise. Encourage students to keep a field journal (as a class, or individually) while they complete the activities on the website.

Voyage of the Beagle:

Print out and make copies of a map of the Beagle voyage found at http://www.amnh.org/education/resources/rfl/pdf/beaglevoyage.pdf. Give each of your students a copy of the map to take with them to the Museum. While at the exhibition, ask them to label the stops on the map with the name of the country, and the year Darwin arrived there. Have them pick three stops and describe the observations he made at each place. Give each of your students a copy of the map to take with them to the Museum. While at the exhibition, ask them to label the stops on the map with the name of the country, and the year Darwin arrived there. Have them pick three stops and describe the observations he made at each place.

Reference:

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