SRSP 11-16 Topic 3 Unit 1f – Darwin


This module is concerned with the theories of Charles Darwin (1809-1882) and will consider what it was that he discovered which was new to the scientific and wider community. The impact of his ideas will then be assessed, concentrating on the range of responses from those who had something to gain or to lose.

It is fair to say that once Darwin had made his theories known to the general reading public around 1859, there were some strong reactions to his ideas. He had anticipated this by holding back on the publication of his work, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. Darwin’s new theory and the debates and discussions that followed moved both scientific and religious thinking into new frameworks.

This unit consists of 3 lessons and is suitable for students aged from 14 to 16 years


Key Questions

  • Does evolutionary theory give us a total explanation to the mystery of existence?
  • Is it possible to believe in both evolution and creation?
  • Some religious believers refuse to accept the theory of evolution.
  • Do you think this refusal is based solely on the scientific evidence?
  • Does ‘survival of the fittest’ [Spencer’s not Darwin’s expression] explain love, charity, kindness and self-sacrifice? If not what does?
  • Is the case for the existence of a loving God strengthened or weakened by Darwin’s work? Why?

Some of the materials can be viewed on screen and some can be downloaded for editing or printing. To view the pdf files you need Adobe Acrobat Reader. See the about section for more details.

Unit Resources

Unit Overview (Word)


Lesson 1

Lesson Plan: What is evolution? (Word)

Student Resource Sheet: Charles Darwin and natural selection (Word)

Student Worksheet: Is evolution a theory or a fact? (Word)


Lesson 2

Lesson Plan: How was Darwin’s theory received? (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 1: Who might think this? (Word)

Student Resource Sheet 2: How did people react to Darwin’s theory? (Word)


Lesson 3

Lesson Plan: Evolution on trial (Word)

Student Worksheet: The Scopes Trial (Word)

© 2011 LASAR (Learning about Science and Religion)