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Challenge! Explain evolution to a ten year old! 
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 Challenge! Explain evolution to a ten year old!
This is a topic i was trying to tackle myself recently.

How do you boil down a complex subject like evolution into a paragraph or two in common language?

I kept going off in tangents about the exact mechanics and getting bogged down there.

I think i might have it worked out now, but what about you all?

Care to give it a swing?


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Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

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Thu Jan 23, 2014 5:29 pm
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Post Re: Challenge! Explain evolution to a ten year old!
Well, you shouldn't overcomplicate it or make it too scientific for a 10 year old. Make it simple, short and sweet, like giving an examle of a frog developing from a tadpole.
Of course, it depends on the maturity and sophistication of the child. Also, you should be prepared for an unexpected question which might force you to say "I'll continue this explanation another time." I have raised 4 children. From my experience, adults often overcomplicate these kinds of explanations, while the kids accept simple explanations that need only go so far.



Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:19 pm
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Post Re: Challenge! Explain evolution to a ten year old!
Some animals are born a little different from others, and that could give them an advantage in surviving and having babies. Then those babies might pass on that advantage to the next generation. If you have enough changes, you get different species (animals that can't mate with each other). They don't look like big changes after 100 years or even 1000 years, but over millions of years, you get really big changes adding up and lots of different animals (and plants!). Bam! Evolution.

Keep in mind I don't really have any idea of the sophistication of a 10-year-old.



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Thu Jan 23, 2014 7:39 pm
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Post Re: Challenge! Explain evolution to a ten year old!
That's pretty good! They might ask "what does 'mate' mean?" or "how do animals make babies?" and that will take you into another field...be prepared for that one. Something similar happened to me with my 8 year old daughter. That was many years ago, maybe today's kids are more sophisticated.



Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:12 pm
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Post Re: Challenge! Explain evolution to a ten year old!
Crystalline wrote:
That's pretty good! They might ask "what does 'mate' mean?" or "how do animals make babies?" and that will take you into another field...be prepared for that one. Something similar happened to me with my 8 year old daughter. That was many years ago, maybe today's kids are more sophisticated.


Haha, yeah I was thinking about that. "Ask your mom."



Thu Jan 23, 2014 8:31 pm
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Post Re: Challenge! Explain evolution to a ten year old!
LOL...and mom went out and bought that certain book...
We are digressing...
Back to evolution, would you bring some aspect of creation into it, if any? How would you do that? Do both of those themes mesh in any way for a child if he/she has been raised to believe in God?
I know that for adults it's either one or the other. I don't really know how these theories are being explained, if at all, to young children. Perhaps they are not.



Thu Jan 23, 2014 9:24 pm
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Post Re: Challenge! Explain evolution to a ten year old!
For believers or non believers, creation need not enter the mix for an explanation of evolution. Evolution is how life, once it is here, changes over time and doesn't have an explanation for how life started.

That was a good concise paragraph there, Dexter!

I haven't actually tried explaining this to a child. I'm more trying to boil this subject down into an easy to digest nugget that doesn't invoke allele frequencies or cladograms!

anybody else wanna take a shot?


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In the absence of God, I found Man.
-Guillermo Del Torro

Have you tried that? Looking for answers?
Or have you been content to be terrified of a thing you know nothing about?

Are you pushing your own short comings on us and safely hating them from a distance?

Is this the virtue of faith? To never change your mind: especially when you should?

Young Earth Creationists take offense at the idea that we have a common heritage with other animals. Why is being the descendant of a mud golem any better?

Confidence being an expectation built on past experience, evidence and extrapolation to the future. Faith being an expectation held in defiance of past experience and evidence.


Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:11 pm
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Post Re: Challenge! Explain evolution to a ten year old!
Dexter wrote:
Some animals are born a little different from others, and that could give them an advantage in surviving and having babies. Then those babies might pass on that advantage to the next generation. If you have enough changes, you get different species (animals that can't mate with each other). They don't look like big changes after 100 years or even 1000 years, but over millions of years, you get really big changes adding up and lots of different animals (and plants!). Bam! Evolution.

Keep in mind I don't really have any idea of the sophistication of a 10-year-old.


That's quite good. I would also add some real life examples. For example, why do tigers have stripes? Why is the giraffe's neck so long? Why do some animals see so well in the dark or see from a long distance? Why did bats develop echolation as a way to "see?"

Dawkins' book, THE MAGIC OF REALITY, offers a good primer on evolution, but even that book is probably geared more to teens.


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Fri Jan 24, 2014 4:53 pm
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Post Re: Challenge! Explain evolution to a ten year old!
It's like picking teams for basketball. If you got new kids to show up every week, yet the ones that aren't picked are told to never come back, you'd have all tall kids after a few weeks.

I'm only semi-serious. Pick an analogy that you know will mesh with the kid you're teaching.

I don't think a wholesale explanation is that easy. Evolution is complex. There are a few "mechanisms" that you could super-simplify, then meld them together after the fact. Like basketball and the process of selection.

At some point you may need to talk about birds and bees, or figure a way around that part.


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Fri Jan 24, 2014 9:02 pm
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Post Re: Challenge! Explain evolution to a ten year old!
Just thinking about how to say 'cumulative adaptation' in words of one syllable


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