Origin of Life Teacher Resources

Find Origin of Life educational ideas and activities

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A brief reading introduces high schoolers to different theories on the origin of life. A research project follows in which learners gather information on each theory and then hold a discussion about which they believe to be the most reliable. Beliefs include special creation, cosmology, evolutionary biology, biochemical evolution, spontaneous generation, and more. Perhaps this could be used as an enrichment assignment for your biology class.
Students create and observe coacervates. In this origin of life lesson, students create coacervates by mixing carbohydrate and protein solutions. They observe the life-like qualities of the structures and discuss the origin of life.
Students are taken on a simulated "voyage" backward in time, to the beginning of our planet. They "witness" that beginning, the origin of life, and a number of key events from then to the present.
Twenty-seven slides will give your students a complete overview of the biological and chemical theories behind the development of life on Earth.  There are fabulous real life photos and labelled diagrams to give details about the first eukaryotes, and explosions of diversity in history. Students could use this PowerPoint in an independent study or as a source of information for research.
This sequence of slides presents information about the hypothesis of key events in the Origin of Life. The conditions on early earth are given and the process that would allow for living organisms to develop. The evidence will stimulate discussion in your class and your students may be interested in continuing research on their own. This slideshow stands on its own, so with basic prior knowledge your class could use this in personal study time.
In this origin of life worksheet, young scholars write answers to five questions. They describe characteristics of the first life forms and how scientists believe oxygen accumulated in the Earth's atmosphere.
Five pages take biologists on a generalized survey of the origin of life. Queries are made regarding theories of how life developed, ancient Earth conditions, and the ever-changing field of taxonomy. The experiments of different scientists are to be analyzed and a diagram of geologic areas is to be labeled. This is a well-rounded survey, suitable for a general or AP biology course.
Students analyze 5 separate theories of evolution in order to help them explain the different meanings of theory, how human values influence science, and that the scientific view of the origin of life does not involve supernatural forces.
In this origin of life worksheet, high schoolers will review the different theories on how life originated on the Earth including the experiments conducted by Louis Pastuer, Francesco Redi, and Miller and Urey. Students will complete 14 fill in the blank questions and 14 short answer questions.
RAISE - Rural Alliance for Improving Science Education has put together an incredible lesson on fractals. Examples using Mandelbrot Sets, Sierpinski's Triangle and Koch's Snowflake are discussed with activities for each. There is a worksheet in which measurements are made on a segment of a river using 3 different scales. Note: There is a computer lesson for those who have access.
High schoolers read Lamarck's obituary and respond to questions.Students can work individually or in small groups.This activity can be used at the beginning of an evolution unit.
Students explore the ocean depths. In this scenario based lesson, students pretend they are on a submarine in an unknown part of the ocean. By using clues the class discusses and determines where they are in the ocean. They follow up this activity by discussing why it is important to explore the ocean.
High schoolers conduct a series of activities to explore the nature of cells. In this biology lesson, students observe plant and animal cells under the microscope and compare them. They differentiate osmosis and diffusion.
Students build star centers and perform experiments to evaluate the properties of stars. Using a radiometer, they make calculations and record their data on a class chart.
Students investigate the possibilities of life in deep oceans.  In this oceanography lesson, students listen to a CD of ocean music and role-play as though they are on a deep sea mission exploring unknown areas.  Students practice using ocean vocabulary and discuss ways they can navigate in unknown waters.
Young scholars read information about the ancient origins of art and archaeology with a focus on the Malian culture. In this art origins instructional activity, students read background information for the topic and compare ancient and contemporary objects. Young scholars complete an archaeological activity using artifacts.
Your scientists-in-training extract DNA from a banana. Then, they wrap it around a glass rod in order to view the threads of DNA. They draw their observations.
Students complete an experiment in which they observe different natural sample in which they uncover the microbial world. They complete a two part worksheet that accompanies the lesson.
Learners discuss the difference between designed and natural elements. After reading an article, they discover information about current controversies in evolutionary science. In groups, they research and write dialogues between two competing theories on a topic of interest to them. They write their own opinion paper about higher beliefs in science.
Engage young biologists with four laboratory activities that explore the fossil record. Learners examine fossil images, a fossil kit, the rock record, and geologic time scale. They even experiment with the oxygen production of an Elodea plant as an example of how the ancient atmosphere might have developed. Not only are activities provided, suggestions for comprehensive assessment questions are available as well. Use this resource as a complete mini-unit on evolutionary processes.

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Origin of Life