How to teach 11 year olds about evolution

Have them teach you what they know. Here’s an animation made from elementary school kids’ imaginative renditions of an evolving population of animals. It’s pretty darned good!

(via io9.)


  1. says

    Big on carnage, biting, and eating the small and the defenseless.

    Not a lot of mating and differential reproduction–perhaps not too surprising.

    Pretty much cute, actually.

    Were you there? No, but my genes were, which has been shown about as reliably as that they were also there 4000 years ago.

    Glen Davidson

  2. vvv73 says

    I got a “bible lessons online” ad by google on top of that video. Now how did google think of showing me that..? And with “evolution” on the video title.. The Big Bug has entered the google ad engine.

  3. leahw says

    Their “imaginative renditions” are ‘The Rite of Spring'(Stravinsky) from Disney’s Fantasia, but without the bacterial/protozoan scene.

  4. echidna says

    I got an ad for the Global Atheist Convention, Melbourne. And leahw, you’re probably right about Fantasia, but I have a soft spot for Allegro non Troppo.

  5. says

    Awesome video – the Google GodBots also gave me adds about the bible. Inexplicably there were no adds for Thor or the Flying Spaghetti Monster…

  6. leahw says

    I suppose I’m wondering if this is really what these kids have learned/understood about evo or if they’re all just parroting a cartoon they’ve seen and in actuality haven’t understood it or given it a second thought? There is that one scene of the fish escaping an octopus and then developing ‘feet’ in a matter of seconds in the movie;as a cartoon lover/science educated adult I understand they did that for time but it def doesn’t help those that don’t/are confused(or their parents ensure their confusion).

    @echidna Bolero always wins

  7. drummer25 says

    In total contrast to this, last evening BBC4 showed a programme called Catholics, following life at a small Roman Catholic primary school in the north of England, observing the role religion plays in the pupils’ education. The opening sequence, was preceded by a Jesuit quote ‘Give me the child at seven and I’ll show you the man’. The teacher then asked each child (6 or 7 yrs old) which of God’s wonderful gifts they had seen on the way to school that morning. Typical answer, “This morning I saw a blackbird. Amen”, “I saw some daffodils on the way to school. Amen”.

    I couldn’t bear to watch any more.

  8. Dick the Damned says

    drummer, that is child abuse. And it’s legal in the UK, & is being pushed by the Government! It makes my blood boil.

  9. drummer25 says

    What was creepily subtle was that the existence of God and that he was bestowing his gifts was a given. If they’re indoctrinated at such a tender age, they stand no chance of breaking free. How will it ever stop.

  10. McCthulhu, now with Techroline and Retsyn says

    It ends here, at least on single, individual scale. I’m just hoping I can send my kid to a school that makes evolution animation videos. This benighted county doesn’t even have science curriculum for public grades K-5. Someone responding to one of my comments in TeT called OC “The Orange Curtain.’ A bunch of GOP/JEEBUS-ites with more money than brains and not a enough voices to complain that their kids miss the most formative years for developing interest in science. Jeebus and all his swallowers can choke on the big inflatable space shuttle hanging in my girl’s room.

  11. says

    @ drummer25 – on the plus side as a survivor of a Roman Catholic primary school education learning about the possibility of evolution and natural selection (at a C of E secondary school) definitely broke through the indoctrination.

    The not-so-fun part of the indoctrination process was the way the love of god was beaten into me on an almost daily basis until I learned how to get away with lying.

    It didn’t hurt that I was an inquizitive little snot who actually read my Bible and couldn’t reconcile the obvious inconsistencies in it. Even so it proved a lot harder to recognize and break away from some learned behavior patterns.

  12. maneatinglemur says

    That completely rocked! All science video producers should have 11-year olds on hand to provide animal noises and belches.

  13. Art Vandelay says

    I get the impression that those are more like 7 year olds. 11 year olds are already in junior high. Either way this is awesome if only for the fact that it would make Santorum’s head explode.

  14. jnorris says

    Fantastic video. I loved the kids doing the animal sounds.
    Every child should be in a school like this.

  15. yubal says

    Sry, that was the link to the first episode.

    They cover formation of the planet till early humans in ~30 min. Scientifically not up to date but still VERY good for children. ( I am sure there is an English version….)

  16. says

    I must say I loved the meow during the animal sounds.

    While this video doesn’t seem that informative (nothing on how differences arise, just natural selection), I can’t fault them for not fitting that much information into a three minute video. This will mostly serve as a “yes, evolution did happen” and that will be incredibly important for the kids to have in their heads.

    That said, I would love to see a video or a children’s book that described how evolution really worked. Actually understanding it makes it easier to defend, and it’d keep kids from slipping into the “Evolution happened BUT God did it” camp.

  17. astro says

    i suppose any animated attempt to compress over 500 million years of evolution into a couple of minutes will inevitably be compared with fantasia. and it still amazes that so few years after the scopes trial, disney was willing to present evolution so matter-of-factly.

  18. theoblivionmachine says

    Stuff like that just drives me to tears, speaking 3 languages and still having no way to express the exasperation is quite frustrating for me.

  19. David Marjanović says

    If they’re indoctrinated at such a tender age, they stand no chance of breaking free.

    Huh? I did. My faith faded away from… let’s say 13 onwards. How about 13 through 17?

  20. Rich Woods says

    In a way I don’t care what the video is about — it just looks so fucking good! Creativity, imagination, aargh: Hollywood can go screw itself.

  21. drummer25 says

    @25 David. Yes, you’re right, there’s a percentage who will escape but I guess there’s a bigger percentage, hemmed in by Catholic parents and community and who don’t have the independence of thought, who will remain Catholic ‘born and bred’.

    Just like @22, I found it saddening to watch.

  22. tbtabby says

    Lucky me, I didn’t get Bible-related ads. I just got a travel package for the Waitomo Caves.