Tuesday 24th March 2020
LI: To write a biography about Charles Darwin (Science)
This task should take around 1 hour.
Today you are going to write up the biography that you planned yesterday.
Think back to everything that you have been learning about over the last few weeks in class- most of you have already written your introduction!
Include who, what, when, where, why.
The Voyage of the HMS Beagle
Impact on life today (Conclusion)
Look at this example:
Charles Darwin: history's most famous biologist
Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) transformed the way we understand the natural world with ideas that, in his day, were nothing short of revolutionary. He and his fellow pioneers in the field of biology gave us insight into the fantastic diversity of life on Earth and its origins, including our own as a species. He is celebrated as one the greatest British scientists who ever lived, but in his time his radical theories brought him into conflict with members of the Church of England.
Young Charles Darwin
Born in 1809 in Shrewsbury, Shropshire, Darwin was fascinated by the natural world from a young age. Growing up he was an avid reader of nature books and devoted his spare time to exploring the fields and woodlands around his home, collecting plants and insects.
In 1825 Darwin enrolled in medical school at the University of Edinburgh, where he witnessed surgery on a child. Surgeries at the time would have been carried out without the use of anaesthetic or antiseptics, and fatalities were common. Watching this procedure left Darwin so traumatised that he gave up his studies without completing the course. He then went to Cambridge University to study theology.
The Voyage of the HMS Beagle
In no rush to take holy orders, in 1831 Darwin accepted an offer to embark on a five-year voyage aboard HMS Beagle. He was recommended by one of his Cambridge professors for the role as naturalist and companion to the ship's captain, Robert FitzRoy. The journey would change both his life and the trajectory of Western scientific thinking. Darwin explored remote regions and marvelled at a world so different from the one he knew. He encountered birds with bright blue feet, sharks with T-shaped heads and giant tortoises. On his travels Darwin had collected finches from many of the Galápagos Islands (off the coast of Ecuador), which helped him to formulate his idea.
On his travels Darwin collected plants, animals and fossils, and took copious field notes. These collections and records provided the evidence he needed to develop his remarkable theory. The theory proposes that the 'fittest' individual organisms - those with the characteristics best suited to their environment - are more likely to survive and reproduce. They pass on these desirable characteristics to their offspring.
Gradually these features may become more common in a population, so species change over time. If the changes are great enough they could produce a new species altogether.
Some of the finches he collected had stout beaks for eating seeds, others were insect specialists. But Darwin realised that they were all descendants of a single ancestor. As they dispersed to different islands, the birds had adapted to eat the various foods available. Natural selection had produced 13 different species of finch.
Darwin knew his radical ideas would be met with stiff opposition. Even after 20 years of research, he worried about how his theory of evolution would be received as it challenged widely held religious beliefs of the time. He delayed publishing on the topic for a great number of years while he assembled a mountain of evidence. When he learned that the young naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace had developed similar ideas, Darwin volunteered to send Wallace's ideas to a journal for immediate publication.
Although Darwin's theory of evolution has been modified over time, it remains fundamental to the study of the natural world. Darwin changed not only the way we see all organisms, but also the way we see ourselves. To this day the theory of evolution by natural selection is accepted by the scientific community as the best evidence-based explanation for the diversity and complexity of life on Earth.
“If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week.”- Charles Darwin