The Great Debate


Event information

Event type: Workshop

Location: Hintze Hall

Suitable for: key stage 4 (ages 14-16), post-16 (ages 16-18)

Capacity: 32 students

Duration: 45 minutes

Ticket prices:

£3 per student
Booking required

Introduce your students to the great debate of 1860 on Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection shook the religious and scientific world. Through this workshop, your students will discover how, over time, this theory has become the accepted explanation for the diversity of life around us today.

The characters and events of this landmark debate will be brought to life by an experienced Science Educator through a tour of selected specimens in Hintze Hall. Your students will see how scientific knowledge develops over time and understand how evidence and peer review help support this process.

Split into teams, they will then engage with the key arguments of Sir Richard Owen and Charles Darwin and use real specimens as evidence to support their own facilitated debate on evolution - who will prevail?

Curriculum links for KS4: development of scientific thinking; evolution, inheritance and variation

Pre-visit information and curriculum links PDF (537KB)

Pre-visit video

Sir Richard Owen was a brilliant naturalist - he was head of the Natural History Collections at the British Museum when Darwin published On The Origin of Species.

Owen did not welcome Darwin's theories, and made strong arguments against them.

In the video below, your students can gain a flavour of the colourful and forceful language that Owen and Darwin used in their dispute.

Event dates
17 July 2019 10.30-11.15, 11.30-12.15, 12.30-13.15, 13.30-14.15
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How to book

To check availability for a school workshop at our Museum in South Kensington, or to enquire about a group visit during the week, please use the booking enquiry form.

If you have any specific requests, please call our School Bookings Team on +44 (0)20 7942 5555. Please read the pre-booking checklist (PDF 69kB) before you phone.

Lines are open Monday-Friday from 8.30-16.00.

Please read our payment and cancellation conditions before booking.

Essential information

Everything you need to know for a smooth-running day, from where to go for lunch to completing a risk assessment.