This half-term we are studying the incredible naturalist and geographer Charles Darwin. To kick start the project, we thought like Darwin and took to the playground to make careful and meaningful observations of the living things.
“Why do different plants have different coloured flowers?”
“How much older is the tree than the shrub beside it?”
“If this flower had bloomed earlier, would it not have done better because there would be no other flowers to compete with?”
After learning about Darwin’s first job aboard the HMS Beagle- helping the captain to map new parts of the world- we got to grips with mapping systems that can help us navigate the unfamiliar world. We learned about lines of latitude and longitude, and how these measurements North & South of the equator, and East & West of the Greenwich Meridian can be used to precisely locate places on Earth. We were tasked with using an atlas to find cities the world over, and use the grid references to give exact co-ordinates of each place.
We then developed our mapping skills by using the atlases again to find places the Beagle visited during its 5 year exploration around South America and Australia. We then had to translate these grid references and co-ordinates to a world map to draw out the journey of the Beagle from Plymouth, around the Pacific and back!
One of the most important places that Darwin visited during his time on the Beagle was The Galapagos Islands, where he encountered an array of species. We looked at the Galapagos on maps, including exploring on google maps, and hypothesised why they would be so bio-diverse. This allowed us to make links with our Science topic (Evolution and inheritance) to help explain the speciation of Darwin’s finches on the Galapagos.