Portrait of Charles Darwin painted by George Richmond in the late 1830's
If you've had the chance to hear the Darwin and Love lecture at the Redpath Museum and you're in the mood for a few more educational activities, here are some suggestions that can be used for home enrichment, classroom or homeschooling.
Devolve Me is a fun activity that younger kids can enjoy, but it's fun even for the adults. Upload a photo of yourself and see what you would have looked like if you'd lived 3.7 million years ago!
The site transforms a current day human into the image of an Australopithecus afarensis, like the infamous “Lucy.” Or try out Homo habilis (2.2 million years ago,) Homo erectus (1.8 million years ago) or Homo heidelbergensis (500,000 years ago.) Devolve Me is a project of the UK's Open University, which offers online lectures and open classes on a range of related topics. These would make excellent independent learning projects in the sciences for older students, or for the lifelong learners among us.
Looking for the answer to a specific question and can't find it? Check out Ask a Biologist for help with biology (the study of life) and paleontology (the study of the history of life.) You can look at the answers to questions that have already been explored, or you can submit your own question to the site.
The UK's Natural History Museum offers an interactive exhibit that allows visitors to explore Darwin's voyage on The Beagle. The American Museum of Natural History has an online summary of its 2005-2006 Darwin exhibit. A K-12 teacher's guide is also available.
In Montreal, visit the Redpath Museum on McGill University's downtown campus to see the travelling Darwin Now! exhibit free until March 1.
Creation is a new movie about the life of Darwin that shows how he struggled to reconcile what his research was revealing to him, with his religious beliefs and those of his beloved wife. Paul Bettany plays Charles Darwin, and Jennifer Connelly is Darwin's wife Emma. Creation opened in Montreal at the end of January for a limited engagement. If you missed it then, it is still playing in other North American cities. Otherwise, watch for the DVD to come out.
While you're waiting for it to open, check out a special three-part mini-series from David Suzuki and the CBC. Darwin's Brave New World explores Darwin's journey on the HMS Beagle, the development of his theory of evolution when he returned home, and the difficult decision over whether to publish the research he knew would change the world forever. You can watch the mini-series free online.
The video below is a song called “We'll Hunt Him Down,” by Jez Lowe of the Darwin Song Project. It reminds us that, while commonly accepted today, when Darwin published the theory of evolution it was not at all well received.