Following in the Footsteps of Darwin

Fifteen students from Writhlington Orchid Project and Mendip Studio School travelled to Bristol Harbourside to visit Kaskelot, the tall ship that will recreate the 1831-1836 journey taken by Charles Darwin on HMS Beagle.

The ship has starred in many TV and film productions  such as “Return to Treasure Island”, “The Three Musketeers”, “David Copperfield” and “Shackleton” but its new role will be as a central part of a global science outreach project known as Beagle 3.  The project includes direct, live interaction with the ship and with other communities via the Beagle network, a global schools’ network that will bring teachers and students together.

Year 10 Student, Sarah Moore said:

I really enjoyed the trip as it was a good experience and if I had the opportunity to go on the voyage I would.  Darwin was really important because he came up with the theories on evolution and natural selection and this has had a massive impact on our understanding of insects, plants and animals and how they have evolved over time. I want to be an entomologist and study insects when I’m older, so this was a really exciting opportunity for me.

The Beagle team will engage with schools and communities at each of the places Darwin visited and the whole journey will be accessible through Google (the main sponsor) so that people around the globe can share in the experiments and experiences in one of the most ambitious science engagement projects ever envisaged. Writhlington and Mendip students will be involved in the planning of the project acting as consultants, using their knowledge of science engagement for students, through their projects in Rwanda and the Sikkim Himalayas.

Students will be getting involved in trialling projects and investigations over the next twelve months and it is hoped that this will include working in South America with teachers and students from schools in Chile, Argentina and the Falklands.

Science Teacher, Simon Pugh-Jones commented:

“This is a really exciting opportunity for our students, they will be sailing on the Beagle 3 and experiencing the same excitement as the young Charles Darwin did exploring far away ecosystems and engaging with local communities, it really is an opportunity of a lifetime.

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