Who Was Charles Darwin?
As a young boy, Charles Darwin hated school and was often scolded forconducting "useless" experiments. Yet his passion for the natural world was so strong that he suffered through terrible seasickness during his five-year voyage aboard The Beagle. Darwin collected new creatures from the coasts of Africa, South America, and the Galapagos Islands, and expanded his groundbreaking ideas that would change people's understanding of the natural world. About 100 illustrations and a clear, exciting text will make Darwin and his theory of evolution an exciting discovery for every young reader.
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Deborah Hopkinson, the award-winning author of this biography, lives in Portland, Oregon. In addition to writing many nonfiction books, she speaks at schools and works at a college. Here is her website if you would like to learn more about her books and her life. (This annotation contains a link)
Who Was Charles Darwin?
Did you know that you can look up any word in the text of the book or the text of the questions and answers? Just click (or press on mobile devices) the word you want to define and hold until the blue text selector pops up. When you release, a define option will appear. Since it's so easy to look up words, make sure you use this feature frequently... Is there a word on this page you need to look up?
An Ordinary Boy
How would Charles be described as a child?
When answering questions, you may be asked to find text-based evidence. This video will explain this strategy. (This annotation contains a video)
Why is Charles not interested in a career in medicine? Use evidence from the chapter to support your answer.
Charles is so interested in the beetles that he cannot bear to put one down. This intense curiousity towards science and nature helps him now and in the future.
Chance of a Lifetime
Use the Define feature and read the definition for voyage Which of the words below is a synonym for voyage?
Charles' trip on the Beagle is life-changing for him. Luckily he keeps a journal of his thoughts and observations. This interactive site shows some of the journal entries Charles made while on the ship. (This annotation contains a link)
Quiz for Section 1
Charles Becomes a Scientist
Why did Charles spend more time on land than on the boat?
Finding the main idea of a section or a book is an important part of comprehension. This song will teach you how to find the main idea. (This annotation contains a video)
This information about fossils is written in a sidebar. A sidebar is a nonfiction text feature that an author includes to give you more information. It does not have to be read as part of the story.
What is the main idea of the sidebar on fossils?
To the Galapagos
Charles Darwin's voyage on the Beagle may seem like a fictional adventure story, but they are all true events. The events show you Darwin is brave, courageous, and willing to do anything to learn something new. Do you share any of these qualities with Charles? If you do, you are making a text-to-self connection.
Why do the Galapagos Islands intrigue Charles?
Make sure you are using your reading strategies as you continue on with this biography. This catchy tune will remind you of six reading strategies good readers use. (This annotation contains a video)
How did the discovery of finches inspire a scientific idea for Darwin?
This sidebar explains how all animals have scientific names. Do you want to learn more? This site gives the scientifc names of most animals. Click on the name to see pictures of the animal and learn more information. (This annotation contains a link)
Darwin has a theory of how certain members of species survive. Write the main idea of this theory and three supporting details.
Quiz for Section 2
The Regent's Park Zoo, now known as London Zoo, is the world's oldest scientific zoo. You may not be able to go to England to visit it, but the zoo's website has an interactive map, videos, and many animal pictures for your enjoyment. (This annotation contains a link)
Darwin's natural selection theory says there is a gradual non-random process by which animal and plant traits become either more or less common in a population as they are needed for survival. Here is a painting that shows the evolution of a white sand lizard. (This annotation contains an image)
Using Darwin's theory of natural selection, explain how the white sand lizard in the painting above may have changed over time.
The Origins of Life
To help you understand Charles' point of view, here is a video titled "Observing Details." It shows you all of the small details in nature that someone like Charles Darwin would stop and observe for hours. (This annotation contains a video)
Which word below is an antonym of curious?
Charles Darwin’s Revolution
Everyone is entitled to make a decision of agreement or disagreement with Darwin. You are learning about his theories in this biography, and may agree or disagree with him. The Darwin debate has been going on since Darwin's book was published, and is still going on today. Do you agree with Darwin's theory of evolution?
Why were so many people writing to Charles Darwin?
What lesson did you learn from Charles Darwin?
Quiz for Section 3