Author Topic: Evolution for seven year olds  (Read 551 times)

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Offline Jontom10

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Evolution for seven year olds
« on: March 16, 2013, 09:12:21 AM »
My daughter surprised me last night by asking questions about where did people come from after the planet was created.

"Did people really come from monkeys?" she asked.

She is six and will be seven next month. I talked to her about it a little bit and told her I was very proud that she asked such a big question.

What I would like to hear from other forum users is suggestions for pictorial children's books that would help me explain it. Difficulty I found is the concept of time. Only one thing has less of a concept than the expanse of time than a six year old and that is a Christian of any age.

I bought a junior easy pictures atlas + encyclopedia to try and give her some scale of the planet and how it was formed.

Over to you.

And please theists; no i am not going to give her both sides of the argument. I will however take the opportunity to explain to her about silly people who believe in silly fairies in the sky etc.
Hasa Diga Eebowai

Offline Nick

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Re: Evolution for seven year olds
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2013, 09:35:55 AM »
Sounds like a smart kid.  Time concept is a trick thing for kids.  You might try the "grains of sand on a beach" being a year each, or "stars in the sky" on a clear night as a year each.  Or "once upon a time...long ago", there was this thing called a bible...no wait, don't go there. ;)
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Offline wright

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Re: Evolution for seven year olds
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2013, 10:47:10 AM »
Ah, educating the young. A task made both easier and harder in the Age of (Mis)Information.

A book that I grew up with is Life Story, by Virginia Lee Burton. It's a bit dated (was published in the early '50s), but is decidedly secular in its approach. Beautifully illustrated (Burton is a painter), it does a good job of showing the immensity of time and the wonder of discovering knowledge.

Another author is Holling Clancy Holling, in particular his books Minn of the Mississippi and Pagoo. Both of those are more about natural history than anything else, but also touch on evolution, geology, biology and history; showing the connections between different branches of science.

You might try the "grains of sand on a beach" being a year each, or "stars in the sky" on a clear night as a year each. 

Excellent idea.
Live a good life... If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.
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Offline Tero

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Re: Evolution for seven year olds
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2013, 12:08:52 PM »
People came from eggs. Like chickens, but more like fish eggs.

Online Willie

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Re: Evolution for seven year olds
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2013, 02:02:49 PM »
It wasn't written specifically for children, but it would be hard to find a more easily understood explanation than was given by Carl Sagan in Cosmos.





The above video stops just short of this excellent high-speed recap:



Offline Quesi

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Re: Evolution for seven year olds
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2013, 02:30:31 PM »
Obviously it is a complex topic, but I've found a few age appropriate resources.

Charlie and Kiwi's Evolutionary Adventure was an exhibit at our local science museum, and they made a book out of it.  The book does a great job of demonstrating how natural selection works. On the downside, Charlie has to travel back in time to meet his great great great great (I forget how many greats) grandfather Charles Darwin.  So you need to differentiate between the "real" and the "make believe" parts of the book.  On the up side, it is cool that the protagonist is biracial/multi-racial, and that makes for an interesting side discussion.
http://www.amazon.com/Charlie-Kiwi-York-Hall-Science/dp/1442421126

Another age appropriate resource is  Our Family Tree Evolution Story.  While Charlie and Kiwi focuses on the way that natural selection works, this book traces the evolution of all life on earth.  I got it for my daughter when she was about 4, and it was a bit confusing.  The book talks about "when we were" one celled beings and simple life forms and then increasingly complex life forms and whatnot, and my daughter ended up thinking that *she* was literally a little one-celled thing and then a little multi-celled thing floating around the water and then got lungs and feet and then she turned into a mammal and blah blah blah.    At 6, the book is much more accessible, because she understands that it is not the literal "we."   

http://www.amazon.com/Our-Family-Tree-Evolution-Story/dp/0152017720/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Neither book is perfect, but they are both great ways to start the discussion with a curious little kid. 

Offline Tonus

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Re: Evolution for seven year olds
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2013, 03:16:16 PM »
At the same time that you're finding age-appropriate content for her, I would encourage you to explain evolution and the origins of man in 'grown-up' terms.  Children seem to be able to handle a lot more than we give them credit for.  Even when they don't understand it all (as you note, the concept of time can be tough for a very young person to appreciate) they end up with a good foundation to build on.  Knowledge and understanding can fill the gaps as she grows and learns.  I think that kids also are very aware of the difference between the way adults address each other, and the way they address children.  If you take a formal, conversational tone with her, I bet she'll be much more attentive and willing to absorb more.

Offline mrbiscoop

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