Darwin’s Thinking Path
While working on his famous theory of evolution, Charles Darwin took a daily walk, to exercise his mind and body, to think, and to observe. Walking the same route each day from his house, through shady woods and back along a privet and hazel hedge-lined field, Darwin referred to this as his ‘thinking path’. Working on his theories and ground-breaking book ‘On The Origin Of Species’, Darwin thought as he walked. If he had a particularly challenging problem to consider, he would pile 3 or 4 stones on top of each other and knock one off with a stick on each lap, returning home only when all stones were cleared.
Your own thinking path
Walk in the footsteps of a great scientist, observe seasonal change, problem solve, notice nature, or exercise for mental and physical health, you can walk your own ‘thinking path’. I’ve worked with a number of schools who have incorporated Darwin’s thinking path into their learning – walking the school playground or further afield in the local community. In school, a trail around the playground boundary works well (children can chose the route and mark with ribbons tied to the hedge, trees or fences). An added bonus of using the school environment is that children can walk the path at break/lunch for their own reasons – perhaps mindful time, with friends, watching nature or for health. Whether you walk it daily, weekly or monthly doesn’t matter – one school walked it weekly and the children kept Darwin Diaries, writing about and drawing the changes in nature they noticed.
So many potential links to the primary national curriculum, there are limitless ideas for english and art, problem solving in maths, thinking scientifically, observing change over time, or more specifically learning about Charles Darwin’s ideas on evolution.
Why not take a walk along Darwin’s thinking path?