Las Islas Galápagos
(The Galapagos Islands)

The Galapagos Islands are known to be a great treasure for Humanity. They are the birthplace of the theory of evolution and their preservation is crucial to the scientific world. These islands belong to Ecuador, a South American country that is bordered by Colombia and Perú, where the main language spoken is Spanish.
In this activity you will be assigned into a group and you will explore different animals that reside in the Galapagos Islands, the interconnections of life science, and the process by which animals change over time by touching base with the concept of evolution.

For this assignment your group will give a presentation to the class.
The presentation can be either:
  • A Power Point presentation.
  • A video or a skit.
  • Pretend to interview a scientist that lives in the Islands and ask him/her questions.
Your presentation should incloude the following:
  • 3 facts of background information about Darwin and the Galapagos Islands. (6 total, 3 facts for each)
  • Compare and Contrast 2 animals out of the 5 that are provided. ( find at least 4 similarities and 6 differences for each)
  • Research other animals that reside in the islands.
  • Pick one and have it aproved by either Mr. Martinek or Ms. Carrillo.
  • Show how this animal has adapted to its environment over time.

Students are to work in groups of 3-4 over the course of 2 weeks.
Week 1: Students pair up and work together to complete 10 full notecards with the required research on the Galapagos, its organisms, Charles Darwin, and the voyage on the Beagle. Student will also need to come up with a general outline for the presentation, skit, video, etc. On Friday, notecards and storyboards will be checked in to assure that students are ready to move to the next step
Week 2: Students will be allowed a part of the time (or a few full days as needed) in class time to work on assembling their presentations and working in groups. Students can also participate in open discussions on modern evolutionary theories and how they fit in to Darwin's original theory.



Galapagos Islands:


Galapagos Tortoise:

Marine Iguana:

Blue Footed Booby:

Galapagos Penguin:


*Illinois Learning Standards:
STATE GOAL 12: Understand the fundamental concepts, principles and interconnections of the life, physical and earth/space sciences.
This goal is comprised of key concepts and principles in the life, physical and earth/space sciences that have considerable explanatory and predictive power for scientists and non-scientists alike. These ideas have been thoroughly studied and have stood the test of time. Knowing and being able to apply these concepts, principles and processes help students understand what they observe in nature and through scientific experimentation. A working knowledge of these concepts and principles allows students to relate new subject matter to material previously learned and to create deeper and more meaningful levels of understanding.
A. Know and apply concepts that explain how living things func­tion, adapt and change.

12.A.4c: Describe processes by which organisms change over time using evidence from comparative anatomy and physiology, embryology, the fossil record, genetics and biochemistry.


1. Creativity and Innovation: Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:
a. Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
b. Create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
2. Communication and Collaboration: Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:
a. Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
b. Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
c. Contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.
3. Research and Information Fluency: Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:
b. locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.
c. Evaluate and select information sources and digital tools based on the appropriateness to specific tasks.
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making: Students use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems, and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources. Students:
b. plan and manage activities to develop a solution or complete a project
5. Digital Citizenship: Students understand human, cultural, and societal issues related to technology and practice legal and ethical behavior. Students:
a. Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology.
b. Exhibit a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity.
6. Technology Operations and Concepts: Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations. Students:
b. Select and use applications effectively and productively.


5 (Outstanding)
4 (Above Average)
3 (Satisfactory)
2 (Below Average)
1 (Poor)
Creativity of the Overall Assignment

Research into the Background Information and Given Animals

Research into Other Animals in the Galapagos

Comparing and Contrasting Animals In the Presentation

Satisfying Overall Criteria of Assignment

Understanding of the Evolutionary Changes of the Selected Organism

Understanding of the Overarching Concept of Evolution

After completing this assignment, students should have created a detailed and creative account of the origins of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species and the effect that the biology of the organisms living on the Galapagos Islands had on his research. Students should have a much firmer grasp on the concept of evolution as a theory and how it applies to how populations change over time. Students should also have a better appreciation for the organisms of the Galapagos and how they continue to supply information to evolutionary biologists, as well as Charles Darwin and how his research has shaped modern science.

Valeria Carrillo and Ian Martinek
Education 215