Friday, June 05, 2009

Teaching Evolution at the Grade School Level

The Harborough Mail has an article on a contest held by a local public school on how life would evolve on different alien landscapes. Here is the winning entry:
The Yark can run on water, eats anything, needs neither oxygen nor water to survive, can grow extra teeth whenever it wants and has a huge tail which can be used for gathering food, scaring enemies and swimming.

But fortunately, you're not likely to see one running around Harborough anytime soon.

For the Yark exists only in the creative mind of seven-year-old Abigail Reeves, a pupil at Harborough C of E Primary School, who came up with the creature to win the Key Stage One section of the UK-wide Darwin in Space competition.
The article also notes:
The contest was organised by the British Science Association to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin – the British scientist who came up with the theory of evolution.

It invited pupils to draw and describe life forms which might have evolved on four environmentally-different islands on an alien planet, inviting them to think about what their creature looks like and how they would have been shaped by the surroundings in which they live.
This is similar to a board game that I have, which is made by Eon products called Quirks. It is a game in which you evolve your creatures (plant, herbivore, carnivore) through a series of biomes so that they will become the dominant creature in each niche. Each card was a section of a creature that had traits you could use to optimize it for a given environment.

This program at Harborough sounds like something that we ought to do over here in US public schools. As Glenn Reynolds would say: "Good luck with that."


  1. OK, it's official. You have a board game called Quirks. You're a geek. But that's OK, now I wish I had that game!

  2. CARD CARRYING AND PROUD OF IT!!I am not sure if Eon products still exists. I found this eulogy on the web, so i am guessing not. You can still get it off of ebay but it is not cheap. I saw one for $65.