Evolution up close

Every year, Jim Brown, a teacher at Sand Creek Middle School, teaches his students about Darwinism through textbooks and worksheets, hoping to explain to them, as best he can, evolution.

But this year, Brown will not only teach his curriculum. He will become a part of it.

Brown has been selected, along with 29 other teachers in the country, to take part in a program in which teachers will be able to study the Galapagos Islands by traveling there and conducting research on site. Brown's trip will begin Saturday, Nov. 22, when he takes a flight to Florida to meet up with other teachers throughout the country before departing with them to Ecuador.

The American teachers will be met by 30 teachers from Ecuador who are also taking part in the program.

The program, called the Toyota International Teacher Program, is funded by the car maker and run in collaboration with the Institute of International Education.

According to program coordinator for the Institute of International Education Laura Parker, this is the 10th year the program, which originally brought teachers to Japan, has been in operation. This year, Parker said, the program has seen the highest number of applicants ever.

Jim was selected, I think, out of 970 applications, she said.

In order to be qualified for the program, teachers must write a personal essay that describes why the knowledge they would obtain on the trip would help them in their career, as well as receive several recommendations from co-workers and administrators in their district.

According to Parker, though 970 applications were received, only 30 teachers are chosen to actually go on the trip. Those who are accepted go on a two-week fully funded trip.

In the beginning of the trip, Parker said, the American teachers go on a three-day cruise with the local teachers.

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