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Darwin Correspondence Project

Darwin And Evolution

Key Stage: 

Activities give an introduction to Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution. Specimens brought back from Darwin’s travels, his letters, his study of pigeons and the story of the peppered moth are all used to explain terms such as characteristics, adaptation, inheritance and evolution.

Starter Presentation

Learning outcomes

By the end of the activities pupils will be able to:

  • list some key aspects about Darwin and his life
  • explain in simple terms the meaning of characteristics, adaptation, inheritance and evolution
  • demonstrate their understanding through the completion of creative activities 

Ask The Expert Video

Professor Jim Secord introduces Darwin's ideas on evolution and adaptation.

Activity 1: Camels And Polar Bears

How have animals adapted to survive?

Duration: 10 mins

Activity 2: Design A Plant

Desert or jungle. How would your plant survive?

Duration: 15 mins

Activity 3: The Peppered Moth

Read the fascinating tale of the peppered moth, then create a cartoon to share the story.

Duration: 30 mins

Activity 4: Dogs And Their Puppies

Darwin loved dogs. Keep a dog log to observe our faithful friends.

Duration: Activities vary, 10 mins to 1 hour a week

Further Activities

Design your own specially adapted bug or beastie.

Duration: 20 mins

Discussion questions

Thinking beyond and testing your learning.

The activities have explored how characteristics are passed on to new generations and how some plants and animals adapt over time to their environments. But why does an animal become extinct? Discuss the reasons why something has become extinct in the past and why it still happens.

Think about...

What happened to the dinosaurs? Where is the dodo? What are the consequences of changes to the environment? What happens to habitats? What about competition? What is the impact of humans? Give examples to show that you understand.


    Schools Gallery


Pupils from Meldreth Primary School, Cambs, learn about Darwin’s fantastical voyage

Pupils from Meldreth Primary School write a letter home from the voyage

Discovering a Toxodon

Packing for a voyage

Writing letters home

3D herbarium, St Luke's Primary School, Cambridge

Pupils from St Luke's Primary School, Cambridge, create 3D herbaria

Pupil cartoon of the peppered moth story

Pupils from St Matthew's Primary School, Cambridge, read a letter from Charles Darwin