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The Curriculum Cosmic Evolution Planetary Evolution Origin of Life Evolution of Life Hominid Evolution Evolution of Technology
Curriculum components

The Origin of Life Module consists of a comprehensive teacher guide on two teacher CD-ROMs (one for home preparation, one for in-class instruction); five student CD-ROMs (one per student team); and a class set of printed student readers (one per student).

Teacher CD-ROM

Each teacher CD-ROM is a complete curriculum for the Origin of Life Module. It includes:

  • a brief overview of the module's content within the context of instruction
  • a calendar of lessons and activities
  • the detailed instructions for all lessons and activities, including learning objectives, student prerequisites, and commonly-held misconceptions
  • the standards and benchmarks addressed
  • science background information
  • student activity sheets and directions
  • assessments and answer keys
  • materials lists and preparation instructions
  • media:
    • 23 videos
    • the Tree of Life Image Library containing a map of living things, categorized by biochemical and physical features, linked to over 361 images with descriptions.
    • the Planetary Database containing an image gallery, a surface feature gallery, an overview, and a sortable database of facts for all planets, moons, comets, asteroids, and extrasolar planets in the Solar System. (over 265 images with descriptions)
    • a media library that contains 90 images

The organization of the teacher CD-ROM provides quick and easy access for both planning and instruction. All of the information the teacher needs for planning is on one, compact, CD-ROM. The browser format and links between components facilitate finding what is needed.

Print Materials

All materials that must be printed, such as student activity sheets, are provided both as PDF files and as MS Word files, allowing teachers to modify printed materials if desired.

Student CD-ROM

The student CD-ROM contains most of the media section from the teacher's CD-ROM, with the videos, images, simulations, the Tree of Life Image Library, and the Planetary Database which are used in core lessons and activities. Additional images and videos that are not integral parts of the core instruction are also provided in an Image Library. These will be useful for students who wish to go further. A glossary of terms used in the module is included, as well as the science overview article, written by a project scientist. While the article is written primarily as a resource for the teacher, it may also be appropriate for better students.

Student Readers

The Origin of Life Module student reader is a soft-cover printed collection of the following six articles:

  • "Is It Alive?" by David Deamer, Ph.D. and Carolyn Csongradi
  • "Life's First Scalding Steps," by Sarah Simpson, Science News, January 1999
  • "To Hell and Back," by Kevin Krajick , Discover Magazine, July 1999
  • "How Cells Work," by Katrina Crawford, SETI Institute, 2002
  • "The Genetic Molecule," by Carolyn Csongradi and Julie Ries, SETI Institute, 2002
  • "Dictyostelium" by Katrina Crawford, SETI Institute, 2002

The articles are integral parts of the instruction and are usually assigned as homework reading for specific activities. Each student receives a reader to keep. Students reading at or near grade level should be able to read the articles independently.


The equipment and materials required for the VTT activities are those typically found in most high school science departments or readily available at modest cost, either locally or from science education suppliers. Preparation directions and lists of materials, including those that must be addressed well in advance of instruction, are repeated at the module, lesson, and activity levels of the curriculum. Please see Material Requirements for more details.

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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.