Science KS2: The work of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace

This vlog style film explores how Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace came up with the theory of evolution and process of natural selection.

It is set in 1858 and explains the adaptation of plants and animals to their environment.

The film covers covers how they both explored the connection between animals and humans, and asked scientific questions: what the origin of plant and animal is; where we all came from and how we all came to be.

They found that humans shared a common ancestor with chimpanzees.

To prove their hypothesis, Darwin travelled on the HMS Beagle to Australia and the Galapagos islands.

While there, he used scientific method of observation, documentation, adaption of finches to food sources.

Wallace was in Brazil in 1848 collecting butterflies, insects and birds, when he noticed variations in species depending on their living conditions.

His specimens were destroyed by fire on the return journey, but he carried on.

The vlog covers how, in 1854, he started an eight year trip to Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia; observing species and categorising them based on their characteristics.

The process shows an example of thinking skills.

This clip is from the series Scientists and Scientific Method.

Teacher Notes

As a starter to introduce a practical science activity, you could write a simple quiz to encourage pupils to capture the keywords shown in the video.

Pupils can write their own definitions from these words using the internet or science dictionaries to improve their scientific vocabularies.

To consolidate their knowledge, you could get pupils to make booklets that include key information about Darwin and Wallace.

They could define the keywords featured in the film, and find five or more pieces of additional pieces of information about the work of the scientist using books, encyclopedias or the internet.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching Science at Key Stage 2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and at 2nd Level in Scotland. They also have cross-curricular links with History and Literacy.

More from Scientists and Scientific Method:

The work of the ‘father of optics’ Alhazen
The work of Mary Anning
The work of Nicolaus Copernicus
The work of Galileo Galilei
The work of Caroline and William Herschel
The work of Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov
The work of Carl Linnaeus
The work of Sir Isaac Newton