Reading & Literacy

Happy Darwin Day!

By Helen Yoshida — February 12, 2014 1 min read
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Today is International Darwin Day, commemorating the birth of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. He’d have been 205 this year. In order to honor Darwin, the International Darwin Day Foundation (IDDF) founded the day to celebrate science as a universal language and a reliable system of knowledge. The organization’s website has interesting resources and information about worldwide events to commemorate the occasion.

Darwin’s discovery of biological evolution through natural selection remains relevant and controversial, as demonstrated in a recent debate between Bill Nye “the Science Guy” and Creation Museum founder Ken Ham. If you missed Ross Brenneman’s coverage of this debate on Teaching Now (” Children’s Favorite TV Science Teacher Bill Nye Debates Creationism” and “So Your Students Have Asked You About Creationism ...”), it’s good way to avoid getting caught empty handed around such a discussion.

If you’re looking for classroom reading material, I think these three Darwin-themed books could be ideal. The books are written with students in mind and provide biographical details through the powerful use of images and poetry. Alice McGinty’s beautifully illustrated book Darwin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009) is a nice fit for elementary school students first learning about the On the Origins of Species author. Middle and high school students might appreciate Darwin: A Graphic Biography (Smithsonian Institution Press, 2013) and Darwin: A Life in Poems (Knopf Doubleday, 2012) by Ruth Padel, poet and direct descendant of Darwin.

Do you have any books or activities planned in celebration of Darwin Day? Let me know in the comments section below or by tweeting Education Week Commentary at @EdweekComm .

A version of this news article first appeared in the BookMarks blog.