The life and work of Charles Darwin (LS-HR-26)

An introduction to Biology

You can implement this learning scenario in Biology and English classes as an interdisciplinary lesson. It was carried out with students of 16+ age. The topic covered both the Biology and English curriculum, and fit into the theme of Evolution and Natural Selection. However, it also gave students the opportunity to recognize Charles Darwin’s importance and influence on mankind.

During the lesson, which lasts 90 minutes, students work in groups, develop critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. They use ICT skills. The materials provided for the lesson are taken from the Europeana Collections and printed for the students to use.

Work in groups

In the introduction, students play the Word Association Game, where they have to guess the topic of the lesson – Charles Darwin. When we implemented the LS, they did it successfully, although some words were difficult for them. Therefore my Biology colleague and I translated these words into Croatian.

During the lesson, students worked in 5 groups, named after important details from Darwin’s life: Beagle, Turtle, Finch, Fossil, Darwin. In the first group activity students had to study one part from Darwin’s life, summarize it and write short notes on Padlet. After 30 minutes they reported their work to other groups. They selected their topics from Darwin’s book “The life and letters of Charles Darwin”.

In the next group activity, students examined the voyage by HMS Beagle, the ship with which Darwin has embarked on his scientific journey. Each group got a chart with the erased route and a part from his book “What Mr. Darwin saw in his voyage round the world in the ship Beagle“. Students examined the text, drew the route on the map and selected important facts about the specific locations. Every group also had to draw their route on an enlarged chart and present important details from specific locations.


The last activity was an assessment. Students had to distinguish true from false sentences and glue true sentences into the printed cover page of “The Origin of Species”.

Find here the photos taken during the lesson.

Would you like to know more about this learning scenario? You can download it bellow:

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CC BY 4.0 – The featured image used to illustrate this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution. The portrait has been made by Leonard Darwin, it can be found in the Wellcome Collection. It has been resized and labeled to illustrate this article. To find the original image click here.

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