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Ch 25: Life in the Universe Lesson Plans

About This Chapter

The Life in the Universe chapter of this course is designed to help you plan and teach the science behind life on Earth and the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe in your classroom. The video lessons, quizzes and transcripts can easily be adapted to provide your lesson plans with engaging and dynamic educational content. Make planning your course easier by using our syllabus as a guide.

Weekly Syllabus

Below is a sample breakdown of the Life in the Universe chapter into a 5-day school week. Based on the pace of your course, you may need to adapt the lesson plan to fit your needs.

DayTopicsKey Terms and Concepts Covered
MondayThe basic nature of life
Human lifetime compared to time since the universe began
Components of life such as DNA and RNA as well as biological evolution and natural selection
Human lifespan compared to the universe's lifespan using the cosmic calendar
Tuesday Origin of life on Earth
The work of Stanley Miller
Scientific explanations for the origin of life; protobionts, cells, Oparin's hypothesis, primordial soup
Miller's experiment that shows how life may have begun
WednesdayGeologic time scale
History of life on Earth
Theory of Evolution
Timeline of major eras, epochs and periods
Characteristics of major eras and periods
Darwin's theory, population genetics, Lamarckian inheritance, natural selection
Thursday Natural selection and adaptation
Types of natural selection
Intelligent life in the universe
Evolutionary fitness, homologous structures, selective pressures, adaptation
Balanced polymorphism, directional selection, disruptive selection, heterozygote advantage
Anticoded messages, Drake equation, water hole, SETI
FridayLife on other planets?
Planetary predictors of extraterrestrial life
Types of space missions
Debate over supposed fossil evidence on Mars
Planetary atmospheres and their compatibility with life
Orbiters, landings, flybys, sample return missions and the advantages and disadvantages of each

14 Lessons in Chapter 25: Life in the Universe Lesson Plans
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Basic Nature of Life

1. The Basic Nature of Life

What is life? This lesson will attempt to define this and what the basic nature of life is on Earth. We'll go over DNA, RNA, biological evolution, and natural selection.

Comparing the Human Lifetime to the Universe

2. Comparing the Human Lifetime to the Universe

Did you ever wonder how long your lifespan actually is compared to the lifespan of the entire universe if it's condensed to one year? This lesson will tell you that and much more.

The Origin of Life on Earth: Theories and Explanations

3. The Origin of Life on Earth: Theories and Explanations

Ever wonder how living things came from non-living things? We will explore what conditions on early Earth may have created life from non-living items.

Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

4. Geologic Time Scale: Major Eons, Eras, Periods and Epochs

The geologic time scale is an essential tool for understanding the history of Earth and the evolution of life. In this lesson, explore the principal eons, eras, periods, and epochs that help us track major events in geologic history.

The History of Life on Earth: Timeline and Characteristics of Major Eras

5. The History of Life on Earth: Timeline and Characteristics of Major Eras

The Earth is over 4.6 billion years old. Ever wonder what happened during certain time periods in that large amount of time? We will look at the major eons and eras of Earth's history along with important characteristics of each.

Theories of Evolution: Lamarck vs. Darwin

6. Theories of Evolution: Lamarck vs. Darwin

We'll look at the interplay between population genetics and environment. Are traits individually acquired or do entire populations evolve? The flying hamsters and a few other notable experiments will provide the answers.

Natural Selection & Adaptation: Definition, Theory & Examples

7. Natural Selection & Adaptation: Definition, Theory & Examples

How does natural selection help shape the amazing types of animals we witness around us? In this lesson, we'll explore adaptations and what they can tell us about a species' past evolution.

Natural Selection: Definition, Types & Examples

8. Natural Selection: Definition, Types & Examples

We'll take a look at the types of natural selection that can occur. From flying hamsters to moths, you'll start to grasp the different paths organisms can take as they respond to their changing environments over time.

Intelligent Life in Our Universe

9. Intelligent Life in Our Universe

This lesson will explore the possibility of finding intelligent life beyond Earth by traveling to it or by detecting its signals, as well as the chances that such life exists in the first place.

Is There Life on Other Planets?

10. Is There Life on Other Planets?

This lesson will explore the places and conditions in our solar system and beyond that may make life possible. We'll discuss extremophiles, the habitable zone, Mars, and Europa.

Planetary Predictors of Extraterrestrial Life

11. Planetary Predictors of Extraterrestrial Life

Investigate what is needed for life to exist anywhere and the implications for life in our solar system beyond Earth. Consider Mars and some of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, including Europa, Callisto, Ganymede and Enceladus.

Planets Around Distant Stars

12. Planets Around Distant Stars

This lesson will describe how extrasolar planets can be found and if any have been found. Methods like Doppler shifts, microlensing, and transits will be defined.

Space Mission Types: Advantages & Disadvantages

13. Space Mission Types: Advantages & Disadvantages

This lesson will go over four different types of space missions scientists have conducted, including flyby, orbiter, rover, and human space explorations.

Stanley Miller: Theory, Experiment & Apparatus

14. Stanley Miller: Theory, Experiment & Apparatus

How did life originate on Earth? We may never have a complete and definite answer to that question, but in 1953, chemist Stanley Miller conducted a famous experiment that would show how the early Earth could have produced the chemicals of life.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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