PBS’s “Evolution” explores the human nature of scientific change

Divine intervention takes on the Big Bang Theory in this PBS-sponsored web site intended to help students navigate the thorny evolution dispute being waged in school board meetings and science classrooms nationwide. A companion to the seven-part PBS television series “Evolution: A Journey into Where We’re From and Where We’re Going,” which first aired in 2001, the site explores everything from the philosophies of Charles Darwin “to the vast changes that spawned the tree of life & to the power of sex to drive evolutionary change.” The series also explores the emergence of consciousness, the success of humans, and the perceived conflict between science and religion in understanding human life, according to a synopsis on the project’s web site. Several interactive features help bring the debate alive for students and teachers. For instance, a special section called “Learning Evolution” contains seven online lesson plans. With topics such as “What is the Evidence for Evolution?” and “Why is Evolution Controversial?” the content matter is sure to fuel intelligent, lively classroom discussions, and should provide students with a basic understanding of the issue from both sides of the debate. Other features include a library of instructional videos and a specially designed Teacher’s Guide created to help educators navigate the sensitive subject matter.

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