In a little less than a month it will be Charles Darwin’s 205th Birthday. I have created a Scavenger Hunt to honor not only Darwin’s contributions to humanity, science and rational thought, but the continued pursuit of discovery for people all over the globe. With the Darwin Challenge, I hope to inspire families to learn alongside each other as well as experience the Sciences for the mere “Fun of It!”
You need not complete the Darwin Challenge in order. You may do more than one a day or see how many you can do on one day. You might wait and start the challenge on his actual birthday. But if you wish to be
eligible for a prize, you must complete all 30 by midnight PST on February 12th, 2014. If you do, I will gift you something special (and tangible). You can email me your address with your proof of completion.
For anyone who completes more than half, I will post one of your challenges on this site.
On your mark, get ready – START!
Darwin Scavenger Challenge 2014
- Reacquaint yourself with the classification of plants and animals: kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species. (You can use Wikipedia or the kid-friendly link above.)
- Read a book about Charles Darwin to yourself or family members. (ex. Tree of Life by Peter Sis, One beetle too many : the extraordinary adventures of Charles Darwin)
- Draw a picture of yourself with a beard like Charles Darwin or make one and take a picture of you wearing it. (I would love to see pets wearing it too.)
- Watch a movie or show that features Charles Darwin. (BrainPop , What Darwin Didn’t Know, Creation, Master and Commander)
- Create your own Phylum Feast – a meal with as much biological diversity as possible. Or just label all dishes in your meal by their main ingredients’ scientific names.
- Visit a Science Institution. (in SoCal: California Science Center , Discovery Center, Natural History Museum).
- Visit a zoo, farm or animal sanctuary and observe characteristics and/or adaptations of species from the same continent (in LA county LA Zoo, Gibbon Sanctuary, Underwood Farms, Gentle Barn).
- Design, draw or create a life form of the future. Consider what might truly exist in 1,000 years based on the future changes of our planet. Or just let your imagination go inter-planetary. We will quite possibly know more neighbors in the next millenia.
- Habitat Hike – Take a hike in nature and observe it as a habitat. What are some possible food chains in that environment? What types of homes have the animals and insects created? Can you identify examples of all five Kingdoms on your walk? How many different species of one animal can you count?
- Recreate a habitat out of anything you want: legos, art supplies, minecraft, cheese, etc.
- Do something to help protect or clean up your world. The sky is the limit.
- Attend any naturalist event. Ranger-led or docent-led hikes, a nature talk (Santa Monica Mts Events), a biology lecture, etc.
- Make 3 lists of adaptations. One each for an animal, bug and plant of your choosing.
- Set up a debate on any topic with your family and/or friends (it does not have to be evolution vs creation). This is to celebrate our investment in rational thought!
- Visit an institution involved with Astronomy or the Sciences of the Sky. (Griffith observatory or any LA-area planetarium .
- Draw the night sky anyway you wish to depict it.
- Sit outside anywhere and spend 5 minutes with your eyes closed listening to as much life as you can detect (if you fall asleep you will have to start all over). Spend an additional 5 minutes counting the evidence of biological diversity of life. Leaves rustling- 1; bird chirping-2; crow caws -3; car starting – 4; children wiggling – 5; bicycle in park -6; insect snapping-7.
- Visit any body of water and witness the life there (or absence of life). Beach, pond, river, creek, even a puddle counts.
- Spend 3 consecutive hours using ONLY the items that existed during Darwin’s life 1809-1882. No cellphones, no microwaves, no cars, no tvs, no computers, no refrigerators, no light switches (invented in 1884 by John Henry Holmes). Bonus point if you can go a whole day. Doing this while you sleep will not count.
- Observe a sunset.
- Observe a sunrise.
- Touch a fossil. Darwin was fascinated by fossils, since so many that were unearthed during his time were not a perfect match to the animals alive. He felt the fossil records of his time were not complete enough to prove his theories.
- Learn 5 facts about one animal or bird that is extinct.
- Learn 5 facts about an animal or bird on the endangered species list including how many are left on the planet. Example – 150 Kakapo’s left.
- Find out which threatened species lives closest to your home.
- Attend a cultural event or festival to better understand the diversity of your species. (A few SoCal fests: the Lunar New Year Fest (1/18), and LA’s Chinatown New Year’s Parade (2/1) and Vietnamese Tet (2/7,8&9).
- Imagine your life if you were a different race, sex, neuraltype, sexual orientation, or nationality (or all of them).
- Build a monument outdoors to Science (temporary, permanent, or whatever). Take a picture and send it to me if you can.
- Read some pages outloud of any of Darwin’s books. Origin of Species is the most famous.
- Dealer’s Choice. Amaze me! Better yet, amaze yourself!