Key Stage 2 (7-11 year olds)

Using these modules

These lesson plans encourage you to teach outside, perhaps in a local botanical garden.Each module is self-contained, but together these Darwin Inspired resources might challenge pupils to think differently about science or the environment in off-timetable events. Darwin was writing for an audience that had a certain level of understanding of natural history. Pupils may not share a similar understanding; accordingly, the resources revolve around a visit to a local garden, nature reserve or park to give all a shared experience of the natural world. Images have been used extensively so that plants and animals Darwin would have seen become familiar. The modules are:

Darwin walked daily, around his Sandwalk and through species-rich meadows, observing the wildlife around him, listening to bird song and contemplating the struggle for life in hedgerows and fields. Always to hand was his hand lens so that nothing, however small and seemingly insignificant, escaped his attention. The notebook he carried allowed him to record his thoughts and findings for future reference.

The experiments that helped Darwin to understand the environment can be replicated in schools, but most of all, he showed that observation and reflection were vital tools that drove his scientific thinking and enquiry.

Each module includes a:

Lesson plan: Containing an overview of Darwin’s work on the topic, a pertinent quotation, potential lesson outcomes, broad curriculum links, key words, and basic resources needed to complete the activities suggested. Each pupil will need a Darwin notebook for these lessons.

Lesson sequence: There are 3 lessons in each unit:

Pre-visit lesson: This sets Darwin’s work in context in conjunction with the whiteboard presentation. Starter and main activities are followed by a plenary that encourages pupils to raise questions they will answer on the visit. The extension activities suggested can be differentiated.

Visit: Being out-of-doors and having time to think were pivotal to Darwin’s work, and both offer models for stimulating scientific questioning and thinking. Pupils need to know where to look, observe closely and learn to interpret what they see. On their visit, they collect evidence and data in different ways.

Post-visit lesson: Pupils answer the questions they raised earlier and present their evidence and reasoned arguments using a range of media.

Resource materials: are provided in the module plan and are available for whiteboard use. Links are given for relevant websites throughout.

Health and Safety

Teachers need to read the appropriate local authority and school guidelines. Before making a visit you should carry out a risk assessment and a preliminary visit. Where a specific issue has been anticipated it is highlighted in the Notes for Teachers.