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The Curriculum Cosmic Evolution Planetary Evolution Origin of Life Evolution of Life Hominid Evolution Evolution of Technology
Scope & Sequence

Evolutionary change is a powerful framework for studying our world and our place in it. In all realms of the natural world, everything evolves — the universe, the planet Earth, life, human technologies, and science all change, although on vastly different scales. This epic story is the basis of Voyages Through Time.

The goals of Voyages Through Time are for students to understand:

  • evolution as cumulative changes over time,
  • the various processes underlying these changes,
  • the different time scales and rates of change,
  • the connections and relationships across these realms of change, and
  • science as a process for advancing our understanding of the natural world.

Cosmic Evolution

I. What's in the Sky

a. Introduction to Astronomy
b. The Electromagnetic Spectrum
c. Astronomical Objects at Multiple Wavelengths

II. Cosmic Distances

a. Light Years, Time and Distance
b. Our Solar System
c. The Milky Way Galaxy and Beyond

III. Origin of the Universe

a. The Big Bang: Beginning of the Physical Universe
b. Early Events in the Universe
c. Cosmic Timeline

IV. Gravity

a. Observing and Defining Gravity
b. Formation of Galaxies and Stars

V. Evolution of Stars

a. Stellar Spectra and the H-R Diagram
b. Stellar Categories
c. Life Cycles of Stars
d. Origin of the Elements: We are Made of Stardust

Planetary Evolution

I. Our Solar System

a. Meet the Planets
b. Density and Differentiation of Planet Cores
c. Geologic Time and Radioactive Decay

II. Surface Changes of Planets

a. Earth's Plate Boundaries
b. Earth's Plate Motion and the Reconstruction of Pangea
c. The Rock Cycle
d. Plate Tectonics and Mars and Venus

III. Atmospheres and Oceans

a. Origins
b. Evolution of Atmospheres and Oceans
c. The Water Cycle

IV. Earth

a. Greenhouse Effect on Earth, Venus, and Mars
b. Interior, Surface, and Atmosphere Cycles
c. Conditions for Habitability

Origin of Life

I. What is Life?

a. Life's Basic Unit
b. Chemistry of Living Organisms
c. The Genetic Molecule
d. Synthesizing Proteins

II. History of Life

a. The Rock and Fossil Record
b. The Genetic Record
c. Timeline of Life of Earth

III. Life Gets Started

a. Origin of Life
b. The Requirements of Life
c. Microbial Diversity

IV. Life Keeps Evolving

a. Evolution of Eukaryotes
b. Cell Structure and Functions
c. Evolution of Multicelled Organisms
d. Sex and Diversity

Evolution of Life

I. How Diverse is Life?

a. Terrestrial and Aquatic Biomes
b. Quantifying the Diversity of Life
c. Global Diversity Patterns

II. Diversity Over Time

a. Changing Global Patterns
b. Rock and Fossil Record
c. Innovations and Extinctions

III. How Does Life Evolve?

a. Variation within Species
b. Sources of Variation
c. Natural Selection
d. Population Genetics
e. Darwin and the Galapogos Islands

IV. How are Organisms Related?

a. Classification
b. Morphological Evidence
c. Molecular and Historical Evidence
d. Tree of life

Hominid Evolution

I. Hominids Stand Up

a. Primate Comparisons
b. Footprint Evidence
c. Skeletal Comparisons
d. Advantages of Bipedalism

II. Bigger Brains

a. Skull Comparisons
b. The Timeline of Hominid Evolution

III. Migration and Variation

a. Hominid Migrations
b. Variation in Human Pigmentation
c. Pigmentation and Ultraviolet Intensity
d. Other Human Adaptations

IV. Tools and Speech

a. Stone Tools
b. Evidence for Speech

V. Agriculture

a. Grasses as a Food Source
b. Changing Lifestyles

Evolution of Technology

I. Introduction

a. Defining Technology
b. Understanding Human Needs
c. Environmental and Social Pressures

II. Technologies over Time

a. The Evolution of Technology Timeline
b. Project Guidelines
c. Science and Technology
d. History of Technology

III. How Technologies Work

a. Building a Model Radio
b. Underlying Scientific Principles

IV. Effects of Technology

a. Resource Materials and Energy
b. Effects on the Individuals and Society
c. Costs and Benefits

V. Into the Future

a. Rates of Change
b. Future Technologies
c. Presentation of Projects

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Voyages Through Time is an integrated high school science curriculum for ninth or tenth grade based on the theme of evolution and delivered on CD-ROM.