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The following lesson plans were developed for the Pittsburgh institutions listed below:


Aviary  Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Fleshing Out Fossils

Discovery Room

In the Galapagos Islands, Darwin studied fossils of extinct organisms and saw that they looked very similar to living organisms. This led him to realize that all organisms are related and come from common ancestors! Students will actively learn about the connection between anatomy and common descent as they handle and compare/contrast fossils, using the lesson plan as a guide. 

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Zoo  Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

What Would I Do Without You? 

Self-guided tour

Ever wonder why the Zebra has black and white stripes? It wasn't just a fashion statement. It was for survival! Teach students about co-evolution and adaptation through the ecological relationship of predator-prey. An engaging and entertaining student-interactive game will introduce Darwin's concepts that will be expanded upon in the zoo and the classroom.

Download Lesson Plan for Grades 5-7

Zoo – A Class System  

Self-guided tour

Sometimes it may seem like life is a mess, but scientists have organized all organisms into meaningful categories. Not only that, but this organization led some of the most revolutionary work in Biology, as with Darwin's principle of evolution! Instruct students in the criteria used to construct the taxonomic model, beginning with an exciting, interactive activity that demonstrates how everyday objects can be arranged and allow students to see how both common and exotic animals fit into the same taxonomic system.

Download Lesson Plan for Grades 5-7

Schedule field trip at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium »

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Aviary  National Aviary

Feathered Families 

Self-guided tour

This self-guided field trip at the National Aviary teaches students about the concepts of relatedness, species and speciation, adaptation, environmental influences, and taxonomy. Students will visit various birds of prey exhibits and complete a compare/contrast activity that shows the similarities and differences found between birds of prey.

Optional: consider attending the daily “Flitezone” and “Feeding Time” shows to supplement your trip.

Download Lesson Plan for Grades 4-7

Unique Beak Physique 

Self-guided tour

You'll never look at beaks the same again after exploring how Darwin's principle of natural selection has shaped the life of birds. Help your students discover how adaptations and favorable traits arose due to environmental factors. Using an interactive model of various beak shapes, students will be able to see how beaks have evolved to perform unique functions.

Download Lesson Plan for Grades 4-7

Learn more about Darwin 2009 at the National Aviary »

Book tours at the Aviary

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Carnegie Science Center Carnegie Science Center

Chatting with Darwin

4th floor

What would you ask Darwin, if you ever met him? Now you can! With the revolutionary teaching tool, the Darwin Synthetic Interview, you can ask Darwin up to 199 questions about his life and times, his likes and dislikes, and the discovery of evolution.

Use the lesson plan below during a field trip to the “Ask Darwin” display, or in the classroom.

Find out how to purchase the Darwin Synthetic Interview software for your school!
Contact John Pollock at Pollock@duq.edu.

Download Darwin SI Web quest for Grades 3-6

The Evolution of Metabolism: "Our Cells, Our Selves" and Puzzle Race

Buhl Planetarium

How many cells are in the human body? Millions of millions! How did life become the myriad of shapes and sizes we see today, from humans to fish and single-celled bacteria? Immerse yourself in the early life of ancient oceans through the planetarium show “Our Cells, Our Selves” and explore the evolution of multi-cellular organisms, metabolism and the immune system.


Purchase a copy of Our Cells, Our Selves from our partner Green-Eye Visualization

Download Lesson Plan for Grades 3-6
Download Puzzle Race Puzzles Download Puzzles
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Darwin 2009: Exploration is Never Extinct!Presented by Regenerative Medicine Partnership in Education.

Darwin 2009 at Duquesne University

Why is Duquesne University leading Darwin 2009? More Info »

Read about Darwin and Evolution

Darwin 2009: Exploration is Never Extinct!
Discover Darwin, his life and travels.
Here »

Darwin 2009: Exploration is Never Extinct!
What is evolution and how does it work?

Pittsburgh Lesson Plans

Take your classroom on a field trip to discover Darwin! All lesson plans include a pre-visit lesson, a self-guided activity at the museum and a post-visit tour.
To download the lesson right click on the link and "Save target as..."

Academic Standards

PA State Standards For
Science and Technoloy

National Aviary

Unique Beak Physique
Grades K-6
Feathered Families
Grades 4-7

Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium

A Class System
Grades 5-7
What Would I Do With You
Grades 5-7

Carnegie Science Center

Darwin SI Web quest
Grades 3-6
Puzzle Race
Grades 3-6