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Charles Darwin: The Evolution of a Thinker…
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Charles Darwin: The Evolution of a Thinker

by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

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Summary: This books takes us through the life of Charles Darwin from early childhood. We learn a lot about his relationship with his family, and what started him on the path of science. The book talks about early writers, geologists, and scientists that influence Darwin, including his own grandfather who also spoke about the idea of evolution.

Personal Reactions: I liked learning more about Darwin. It was interesting to see how his ideas of his future changed, early on he was on the medical track, then he was set to join the clergy, but his curiosity of the world around him lead him down the path to science. I think sometimes it is nice to hear that if you are passionate about something, you can do great things.

Classroom Extensions: Darwin is a controversial subject in schools because his theories about evolution don't mesh well with how religious texts have explained our creation. Still, though, I think it is important to learn about other ideas.

1. This book could lead us into the topic of extinction. Many of the species that Darwin discovered are now extinct, and it has happened in a fairly short amount of time. Darwin had his first expedition to the Galapagos islands in the 1830s, where these creatures were abundant.

2. I think Darwin is essential to learn about in school, even if you have other viewpoints. We could talk about him and why his ideas are controversial.

3. In Biology my first year in college we did an activity that basically imitated how the birds beaks would have to evolve for them to live based on the food sources. We used different tools to pick up different nuts or objects, in which some were better suited than others. This activity was really fun and it highlighted the ideas laid out by Darwin, so I think it would be a fun thing to involve children in. ( )
  emcnally | Apr 13, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0823414949, Hardcover)

Patent debunks several commonly held beliefs about Darwin as she explores the life of the young man, "ill suited to education," who would turn the world of science upside down. A poor student, Darwin preferred hunting to scholarship, and he drifted from medicine to the clergy in search of a suitable career. He satisfied his personal curiosity by taking geology and botany courses, and it was a geology connection that led him to board the Beagle. Patent recounts his momentous four-year journey, noting that it was not some epiphany in the Galapagos that led to his theory of natural selection. Rather, he came to it slowly, after returning home and applying other scientists' ideas about biological adaptation to his firsthand observations. Throughout, the author balances the man as scientist with the man as devoted husband and father, building a blended portrait of an individual who let his observations shape his beliefs instead of the other way around. Numerous black-and-white photographs and illustrations add visual appeal, and a chronology, a map, notes, and a glossary are appended.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:29 -0400)

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