Essays on Science and SocietyIBI* Series Winner

How We Got Here: An Inquiry-Based Activity About Human Evolution

Science  21 Dec 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6114, pp. 1554-1555
DOI: 10.1126/science.1215221

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Summary

Show your students the face of a baby chimpanzee, and they will be startled and amazed by how human she is (see the photo). The image intrigues and primes students for a scientific inquiry cycle in which they will engage with, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate data [the 5e inquiry cycle (1)]. Through inquiry, they will reconsider one of the most common misunderstandings about evolution (2), that humans evolved from chimpanzees. The class is ready for a conceptual change (3) based on evidence the students will gather.