Social Darwinism is application of Darwin's theories of evolution to social constructions. Darwin is often hailed as the champion of evolution in terms of helping us understand how organisms change over time. Most of his theories are still controversial and scientists are still finding new things about evolutionary process. Darwin also discussed racial and gender differences to justify why humans should control populations. His theories were later used to support Social Darwinism. The Social Darwinist movement started in 1930's and was inspired by Francis Galton. Galton wrote articles about how society must promote atrocities against people where not considered "fit" in society. Students need to understand the context of how Darwin's views on human genetics sparked violence against black and hispanic people in the United States and around the world.
This unit talks about many controversial topics that will definitely spark conversation amongst your students. The Social Darwinism: A Mini Unit will address the issues of injustice and racism within the context of Social Darwinism. Students will explore these topics through readings and videos. All of the videos and content can be found on the Social Darwinism PowerPoint Presentation included in the unit resources. Center posters are included if you want students to explore these topics independently.
This mini unit is broken down into four lessons. Lessons include:
This unit can be complete in two days or in one day if you choose to use only a few lessons. Each lesson contains a set of PowerPoint slides and discussion sheet. There are also teacher's guide pages to help you teach part of the lessons. This unit can be used in a science or history class. There are number of different ways you can adapt this unit if your students have no prior knowledge of Darwin's theories.
©Rethinking Science Education