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AIBU to be tearing my hair out over this Y5 homework? (Evolution)

(69 Posts)
sauvignonBlinko Sat 15-Oct-16 17:32:58

DS has been given this homework worksheet and it's been causing us a bit of angst because DS insists his teacher told him that woolly mammoths evolved into elephants and elk evolved into deer, etc (grr!)

We've had some discussion about "common ancestors" and I've helped him to write something a bit more accurate but I expect it'll all be marked wrong, and most of the kids will be none the wiser by the end of the exercise. [Sigh!]

Wild Boar was an interesting one. Apparently they did evolve into domestic pigs, but wild boar have died out and been reintroduced into Britain several times and there's currently a thriving population, so which box should he tick? I persuaded DS to tick both boxes 1 & 3 in the end (which DS is a bit hmm about), and we've been debating whether to tick box 4 too. It'll be interesting to see what the teacher considers to be the "right" answer!

If it was intended as a Critical Thinking homework I'd be thrilled. But it's not.

IamWendy Sat 15-Oct-16 17:39:03

Be thankful that intelligent design isn't on the curriculum! But yeah, yanbu!

Ego147 Sat 15-Oct-16 17:50:43

Does it come with another sheet? It says to 'use the table of information' - so have you got that table?

Buildalegohouse Sat 15-Oct-16 18:11:01

Why are you doing your child's homework for him? Have a conversation around it, since you obviously have a lot of knowledge on the topic, and let him decide on the correct response for himself. You don't need to persuade him of anything.

Does it matter if it is marked right or wrong? Your child will have learnt something and most of the other parents won't give a rat's ass. Neither will the teacher. If there's an answer sheet available it will be marked against that, primary teachers aren't experts in all topics of all subjects. If your DS is bothered whether it is marked right or wrong then give him the tools to be able to argue his point, otherwise he just say 'that's what my mum said to put' and your angst will all be for nothing.

sauvignonBlinko Sat 15-Oct-16 18:11:10

Nope. No table.

Weedsnseeds1 Sat 15-Oct-16 18:16:01

The whole thing is a bit confusing and open to interpretation. Mammoths are a common ancestor of elephants, but also of manatees and hyrax. Hippos are similar to modern ones but there were mini ones in Madagascar now extinct. Hippos also share an ancestor with whales. Boar still exist and were never extinct in lots of countries. Sheep have changed an awful lot from the wild ones which don't need sheeting like domestic sheep. Elk still exist and are in the deer family, along with many other species, but aren't giant. I don't know what answer they are looking for!

Weedsnseeds1 Sat 15-Oct-16 18:16:43


irvineoneohone Sat 15-Oct-16 18:20:02

I would print out all the facts/info you can find to back up dc's answer and send them in with homework.

acasualobserver Sat 15-Oct-16 18:20:47

Tearing your hair out over this is unreasonable, yes.

sauvignonBlinko Sat 15-Oct-16 19:18:26

It says to 'use the table of information

Actually, that's a good point. The version we have has been modified to say "Research stone age animals ...". So as soon as you start googling woolly mammoths and the like you get much more information than the average 9-10 year old can cope with alone. Like it or not they are all going to need help to interpret it.

I suspect the teacher didn't really think it through.

GerdaLovesLili Sat 15-Oct-16 19:48:52

Does your local library service have a "24 Hour Library" service which allows log-ins to otherwise paid for reference services? Like this? If you can log into the junior Britannica it gives three different levels of information targeted at different age groups/key stages and does not have lots of extraneous information. (You'll need a library card number to log in with. You can log into the link with a the generic number 20126000000000 if you don't have access to your own)

WiddlinDiddlin Sat 15-Oct-16 19:53:56

The second sentence on that sheet has got my back up already - these animals were not gigantic because they had lots of FOOD... fgs.

I don't know where you start on that as I don't know what (incorrect!) answers shes actually looking for or how you address correcting it without sending in an essay on how utterly wrong it is!

Wolves for example, the modern wolf is NOT a direct ancestor of the domestic dog - they share a common ancestor. So yes wolves have evolved since that common ancester, but no, they didn't evolve into dogs, they evolved into the er, wolves they are now.

millionsofpeaches Sat 15-Oct-16 20:13:22

Oh crikey! Where do you start with that? No wonder we have trouble when teaching about evolution at secondary level.

Trouble is the person who wrote that worksheet seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of evolution and how the process works. Tricky one.

Can you do what pp said and print out as much info as you can to support your ds's answers?

confuugled1 Sun 16-Oct-16 07:30:14

I'd write a note in to the teacher saying something along the lines of talking to ds about his homework it has become clear that he has misunderstood the fundamentals of evolution and seems to have over-simplified it in his mind (insert examples here like thinking dogs come from wolves rather than them both having the same common ancestor) from class so is very worried about his homework. Obviously I've done my best to reassure him but despite looking at the evidence on a number of different websites and in books he only wants to believe what he remembers from class. Please can you reassure ds that (insert everything you're worried about) because evolution is a topic that I'm very interested in and I'd hate him to misunderstand it from the outset!

And then hope that the teacher realises that they have made a mistake and can explain it better second time around. If not go in for a quick chat with the teacher.

I might have done this when ds1 came home with a big homework topic thing to do about 'the inventor Einstein and the Theory of Relativity.' hmm. They (the teachers!) kept saying 'but he invented relativity'. No he didn't. That already existed. He was a scientist who figured out the laws of how it worked. Very different. He did hold a joint patent on an invention but it was something small technical and boring. So many other amazing inventors out there to choose from...

Believeitornot Sun 16-Oct-16 07:31:55

Let him do his own homework.

Then have a quiet word with the teacher.

Believeitornot Sun 16-Oct-16 07:33:59

Actually confuugled relativity is a theory. We don't truely know it "exists". Not saying the teachers were right just that another theory could come along in years to come to better explain our universe.

user1474781546 Sun 16-Oct-16 07:34:02

It's a crap worksheet. I would remove it from your son and return it with a covering letter.
A living things are evolving continuously, it's a dynamic process.

topcat2014 Sun 16-Oct-16 07:36:51

I thought wolves evolved into dogs and mammoths to elephants...

rips up biology A level certificate in shame

user1474781546 Sun 16-Oct-16 07:41:59

topcat, but they are species in their own right.

Theoretician Sun 16-Oct-16 09:13:28

I agree that relativity was invented. All knowledge is explanations of the world, which may one day be replaced by even better explanations.

Our understanding of reality is a cultural construct, reality itself is something unknowable that we consult via experiments in developing and refining that construct.

myownprivateidaho Sun 16-Oct-16 09:23:15

I think YABU to despair actually. Most of the school science curriculum simplifies in a way that is inaccurate. The point of the exercise is clearly to understand the concept of evolution. Actually knowing the genetic lineage of modern elephants and pigs is not really what it's about.

myownprivateidaho Sun 16-Oct-16 09:27:33

Trouble is the person who wrote that worksheet seems to have a fundamental misunderstanding of evolution and how the process works.

Err no,. Obviously some animals do evolve into others. OP is bothered because the teacher has picked examples of animals whose genetic lines branched off from the ancestor of a modern animal rather than the common ancestor itself (

Imo this isn't a big deal!

MaryTheCanary Sun 16-Oct-16 09:31:08

"Why are you doing your child's homework for him?"

I wish we lived in the world where parents could always do this without any problems, but the fact that there appear to be errors in the brief the kid has been given suggests that it's probably a very good idea for parents to be involved in many cases...!

TheFallenMadonna Sun 16-Oct-16 09:31:45

Evolution should never have been moved into the primary curriculum.

honeysucklejasmine Sun 16-Oct-16 09:32:16

Oh, this is so frustrating. This is where the "so why are there still monkeys if evolution is true?" bullshit stems from.

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