Darwin Day to Highlight Evolution in Education

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KNOXVILLE — In the light of challenges faced by educators nationwide in how to teach about humans’ origin, a program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is providing tools for teachers, students and community discussion on the topic of evolution.

Darwin Day, being held Feb. 11-13 at UT Knoxville, is a series of events for educators and the general public to learn more about evolution. The event is named for Charles Darwin, the author of the theory of evolution, and takes place on or around his birthday annually.

Each year, organizers sponsor a workshop for local middle and high school science teachers to give them tools and techniques for how to teach evolution. This year’s workshop, to be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 11, at the Emporium Annex in downtown Knoxville, will feature UT Knoxville professors Andy Kramer and Gary McCracken.

Kramer, professor and department head in anthropology, and McCracken, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology lead the session designed to help teachers avoid being drawn into teaching about the controversy of evolution instead of the science.

They will be joined at the session by Eugenie Scott, executive director of the National Council for Science Education (NCSE). Scott also will deliver the Darwin Day keynote address, “Intelligent Design: Is it science? Is it valid?” at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the University Center Auditorium on the UT Knoxville campus.

Other events taking place as part of the Darwin Day celebration at UT Knoxville include a lunchtime seminar and daytime film series on Wednesday, Feb. 13, as well as a showcase film and panel discussion that evening.

In addition to the events next week, the Darwin Day organization is hosting an essay contest for middle and high school students, as well as for undergraduate students. More information on the contests along with a complete schedule of events is available on the Darwin Day Web site at http://eeb.bio.utk.edu/darwin/index.htm.

All Darwin Day events, with the exception of the teachers’ workshop, are free and open to the public.

The UT Knoxville Darwin Day events are part of an international series of events held each year to celebrate Darwin’s life and his contributions to science. More information on the international Darwin Day effort can be found at http://www.darwinday.org.

Contacts:

Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409, jay.mayfield@tennessee.edu)
Lara Souza (865-567-0018, lsouza@utk.edu)

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