Are you a fan of the 19th Century

scientist, Charles Darwin?

If so, this website is for you!  


This website aims to draw together key publications, media and websites on Charles Darwin for the enthusiast.

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Darwin & The Duck - Lesson Ideas

1) Look at different species of duck found in Britain.  Are the

females different from the males?  What might be the advantages

and disadvantages of this? What are the pupil's favourite species?  

Research one species using the internet or with bird identification

guides. Which are dabbling ducks and which diving ducks?  What are

the advantages of each? Why has evolution created both types?

(Less competition, use of all niches). Look at a video of webbed feet

in use under water.  Look at a picture of a mallard's digestive system.

What is the advantage of having a crop?


2) Look at the different types of creatures found in ponds, including the mayfly nymphs and freshwater snails.  Undertake a pond survey using OPAL methodology (an identificaton guide for Lemna can also be found there!) or simply use a Field Studies Council guide.


3) Visit a Horse chestnut tree over a year to see how flowers develop into conkers. Watch the beginning of this video showing the tree in flower. Watch the video of leaf buds opening. Explore horse chestnut flowers.





* Biological characteristics of individual birds, or other animals and plants, are inherited; some may be inherited from the father, others from the mother.

* The male and female of the Mallard duck differ in appearance; this is brought about by 'sexual selection' in evolution.  Darwin said 'The sexual form of selection...depends not on a struggle for existence but on a struggle between the males for possession of the females; the result is not death to the unsuccessful competitor, but few or no offspring...' and 'when the males and females of any animmal have the same general habits...but differ in stucture, colour or ornament, such differences have been mainly caused by sexual selection'.

* Due to the ability of snails to 'cling on', they are in a good position to be carried on wetland birds to places far away.  In this way a place which did not previously have that species of snail can be colonised by that species of snail (if the snails are suitably/adequately adapted to their new environment).

Duck only