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The Kid Scientists' Galapagos Adventure

Oscar and Mae standing near the Charles Darwin Research Station sign


NGSS Standards:


2-LS2-2, 4-LS1-1

Crosscutting Concepts:

Structure and Function, Systems and System Models

Transcript-The Kid Scientists' Galapagos Adventure
Download PDF • 298KB

What’s it like to be a kid doing experiments in one of the most famous science places in the world? Oscar and Mae Johnson were nine and twelve when they traveled to the Galapagos Islands with their scientist dad. The Galapagos are isolated tropical islands made famous by Charles Darwin, who came up with the theory of evolution based on his research there. Mae and Oscar followed in Darwin’s footsteps. With help from their parents, they conducted their own research and got it published in a scientific journal - a big deal for scientists of every age! Hear Mae and Oscar tell their own story of science discovery in this episode.


Oscar and Mae's parents shared these photos from their adventure with us.

Oscar, Mae, their, mother, and an iguana.

Here's "Droopy," the marine iguana that Mae and Oscar befriended.

Tribulus plant. It has green leaves and yellow flowers

This is the plant that Tribulus comes from.

Tribulus seed

And here's Tribulus! This photo demonstrates how the seeds have genetic variation, which causes them to grow (or not grow) different numbers of spines.

Orange painted tribulus seeds

This is what they looked like when Oscar and Mae spray painted them orange. Spiny Cheetos, anyone?

Oscar and Mae looking in the dirt.

Oscar and Mae doing their experiment. They are holding envelopes and looking at the dirt.

Oscar and Mae out in "the field" doing their experiment.

Oscar and Mae dispersing the seeds while Mae records the data.

Oscar "dispersing" the seeds while Mae documents the data.

A shoe about to crush a tribulus seed

Closeup on Tribulus about to get stomped.

Oscar and Mae holding a towel.

They also used a towel to simulate how Tribulus might get dispersed by beach goers.

Oscar, Mae, and their mother in the road near a yellow rope.

The family on the road!


This video from the Galapagos Conservation Trust introduces you to all the unique species there.

This half hour documentary shares the relationship between the Galapagos and the theory of evolution.

Want to learn more about Tribulus and Darwin's finches? There's a great book for adults called "The Beak of the Finch."

This video also provides a great look at the research in the book.

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