Using Object-Based Learning to Understand Animal Evolution

  • Paul DaviesEmail author
  • Joanne Nicholl
Part of the Environmental Discourses in Science Education book series (EDSE, volume 2)


Zoology collections have been important both in academic studies and public engagement with natural history for hundreds of years. Offering unique access to a variety of specimens, be they skeletons, taxidermy, or preserved organisms, zoology collections have a special place in how humans use animals in education. This chapter explores how natural history museums have shifted from ‘cabinets of curiosity’ to teaching and learning collections, while still providing the public with access to the exciting world of animal biology. We then explore how one such collection, at The Grant Museum of Zoology, London, encourages understanding of evolution through object-based learning (OBL). Central to OBL is the role of handling and touch, and it is through this process that we see how tactile interaction brings new meaning to animal specimens and allows the learner to see beyond the dead animal. The chapter closes by considering how the emerging world of digital technology offers new and exciting ways for using OBL to learn about nature.


Natural History Museums Specimens Evolution Object based learning Teachers 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment, UCL Institute of EducationUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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