Rendiconti Online della Società Geologica Italiana - Vol. 40/2016

Interpreting some historical experiments of Charles Darwin through an inquiry-based educational approach: the atolls origin and the dilemma of geological time

Maddalena Macario (a) & Lorenzo Lancellotti (a)
(a) School of Science and Technology ? Geology Division, University of Camerino, Via Gentile da Varano III, 62032 Camerino, Italy. E-mail:

Volume: 40/2016
Pages: 31-36


Charles Darwin is best known as the theorist of Evolution but his geological background had an absolutely determining role in elaborating this theory. As a true Naturalist, he led many observations about geological phenomena, carrying out lots of experiments that in some cases allowed him to elaborate explanations still valid nowadays. This work presents two elaborations based on historical experiments performed by Darwin. These have been revisited in an educational approach to be applied in science curricula. In particular, they are approached with Inquiry Based Science Education, because of its improved efficacy in science education, both from a methodological and epistemological point of view. A couple of units are here described including suggestions for Earth Science teachers who want to carry out them in their classrooms.


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