Voyage of the Beagle
Rationale: In response to a short activity involving a jigsaw, a mystery and some research questions, the children will create a “to do list” of what they think they might need to explore to put on their outcome. From this the children will learn about Darwin’s life, his five years aboard the Beagle, the significance of his discoveries, and the impact of these in his own lifetime and in the present day and the conflict some of his theories still have with some Christians. They will develop their scientific skills linked to living things and evolution. Also, in order to communicate their findings the children will focus on not only grammar, sentences, punctuation and spelling but write in genres appropriate for the task: diaries, reports and scientific journal articles.
The children discovered that they are going on a voyage: the voyage of the Beagle. By the end of the project, they will have created a box full of artefacts, research and studies through which they will be able to share their knowledge of Charles Darwin and his theories on inheritance, adaptation and evolution.
The research questions that we revealed were:
Independent Darwin research:
The children in Year 5-6 used biographies of Darwin to skim and scan and retrieve specific information about his life and work. They were expected to answer the research questions and present the work in any way they felt was informative to others. As a part of this, the children were exposed to a new form of writing (biographical), formal language and new vocabulary which they had to make sense of in order to complete the task.
We began to learn about fossils. In order to really ensure we understood what fossils are and why they are so important (and why Darwin found them so important) we needed to become scientists using questioning, concise explanations and theories and great observation and recording skills.
What do you think of our fossil observations?
In order to write effective information about the Galapogos Islands as scientists and to write about Darwin's recollections, we need to improve our writing skills. How would Darwin describe what he can see? How would Darwin explain how he feels?
We looked at different grammar and punctuation rules to help us to do this.
This week we became scientists... we investigated inheritance and adaptation. First, we looked at inheritance: we looked at the differences between us in the class and played guess who! Then we created profiles about ourselves and our inherited features from our families.
After this, we became Darwin and investigated which beaks were the best for which food type (we had to improvise though and use rubber bands for worms!). We made a hypothesis about which beak would be best and then tested them out... we discovered that being scientists, it didn't matter if we were correct with our hypothesis as we would then take what we had learnt, make a new one and test that!
In the photos your can see us trying out the different beaks, counting how many of the food stuff we could get into our bellies (the beakers!). We found that sometimes we hit barriers such as books and this was helpful but decided that this variable was ok (as long as we declared it) as animals in the wild would use whatever they could to help them feed.
We then linked this learning to adaptation and discussed why birds have different beaks and found that they have adapted, over time, to their given environment and habitat.
Even in these challenging times, the children of 5-6 have continued their learning for their project! This week, they have carried on their research and learning about adaptation and how animals have adapted to their specific environments over time. We are so proud of 5-6 and the standard of learning that has been taking place at home - they truly are great scientists!