About This Chapter
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.
|Day||Topics||Key Terms and Concepts Covered|
|Monday||The 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
|Wednesday||Geologic 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
|Friday||Life 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
5. The History of Life on Earth: Timeline and Characteristics of Major Eras
The Earth is over 4 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Other chapters within the Astronomy 101 Syllabus Resource & Lesson Plans course
- The History of Astronomy Lesson Plans
- How Scientists Think & Work Lesson Plans
- Matter in Astronomy Lesson Plans
- Light in Astronomy Lesson Plans
- Newton's Laws in Astronomy Lesson Plans
- Momentum & Energy Lesson Plans
- Rotational Motion & Momentum Lesson Plans
- Earth's Spheres Lesson Plans
- Climate Influences Lesson Plans
- Orbits, Gravity & Orbital Motion Lesson Plans
- The Earth, Sky & Moon Lesson Plans
- The Formation & Phases of the Moon Lesson Plans
- Earth & Planet Atmospheres Lesson Plans
- The Sun & Energy Lesson Plans
- The Solar System Formation Lesson Plans
- The Solar System Characteristics Lesson Plans
- The Solar System's Smaller Objects & Satellites Lesson Plans
- Star Qualities Lesson Plans
- Star Types Lesson Plans
- The Birth & Life of Stars Lesson Plans
- Star Death & Stellar Remnants Lesson Plans
- The Milky Way Galaxy Lesson Plans
- Properties of Galaxies Lesson Plans
- Universe Theories Lesson Plans
- Celestial Time & Navigation Lesson Plans
- Relativity in Time & Space Lesson Plans
- Telescopes Lesson Plans