The primary benchmark for the Origin of Life Module, to which all of the lessons in the module contribute, are:
"Life on earth is thought to have begun as simple, one-celled organisms about 4 billion years ago. During the first 2 billion years, only single-cell microorganisms existed, but once cells with nuclei developed about a billion years ago, increasingly complex multi-cellular organisms evolved." BSL: (9-12), p. 125
The following standards and benchmarks are specific to lessons in the module:
Lesson 1: Introduction/Pre-Assessment
The pre-assessment concept map activity provides insight into students' understanding of earlier grade-level standards and benchmarks that pertain to the module.
Lesson 2: What is Life?
"Cells have particular structures that underlie their functions. Every cell is surrounded by a membrane that separates it from the outside world. Inside the cell is a concentrated mixture of thousands of different molecules which form a variety of specialized structures that carry out such cell functions as energy production, transport of molecules, waste disposal, synthesis of new molecules, and the storage of genetic information." NSES: (9-12), p. 184
"A living cell is composed of a small number of chemical elements, mainly carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorous, and sulfur. Carbon, because of its small size and four available bonding electrons, can join to other carbon atoms in chains and rings to form large and complex molecules." BSL: (9-12), p. 114
"In all organisms, the instructions for specifying the characteristics of the organism are carried in DNA, a large polymer formed from sub units of four (A, G, C, and T). The chemical and structural properties of DNA explain how the genetic information that underlies heredity is both encoded in genes (as a string of molecular "letters") and replicated (by a templating mechanism). Each DNA molecule in a cell forms a single chromosome." NSES: (9-12), p. 185
Lesson 3: History of Life on Earth
"Make and interpret scale drawings." BSL: (9-12), p. 297
"Evidence for one-celled forms of life - the bacteria - extends back more than 3.5 billion years. The evolution of life caused dramatic changes in the composition of the earth's atmosphere, which did not originally contain oxygen." NSES (9-12), p.190
"Many thousands of layers of sedimentary rock provide evidence for the long history of the earth and for the long history of changing life forms whose remains are found in the rocks. More recently deposited rock layers are more likely to contain fossils resembling existing species." BSL: (6-8), p. 124
"Molecular evidence substantiates the anatomical evidence for evolution and provides additional detail about the sequence in which various lines of descent branched off from one another." BSL: (9-12), p.125
Lesson 4: Life Gets Started
"Because all scientific ideas depend on experimental and observational confirmation, all scientific knowledge is, in principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes available. The core ideas of science such as the conservation of energy or the laws of motion have been subjected to a wide variety of confirmations and are therefore unlikely to change in the areas in which they have been tested. In areas where data or understanding are incomplete, such as the details of human evolution or questions surrounding global warming, new data may well lead to changes in current ideas or resolve current conflicts. In situations where information is still fragmentary, it is normal for scientific ideas to be incomplete, but this is also where the opportunity for making advances may be greatest." NSES: (9-12), p. 201
"Life is adapted to conditions on the earth, including the force of gravity that enables the planet to retain an adequate atmosphere, and an intensity of radiation from the sun that allows water to cycle between liquid and vapor." BSL: (9-12) p. 70
Lesson 5: Life Keeps Evolving
"Cells have particular structures that underlie their functions. A membrane that separates it from the outside world surrounds every cell. Inside the cell is a concentrated mixture of thousands of different molecules which form a variety of specialized structures that carry out such cell functions as energy production, transport of molecules, waste disposal, synthesis of new molecules, and the storage of genetic information." NSES: (9-12), p.184
"The sorting and recombination of genes in sexual reproduction results in a great variety of possible gene combinations from the offspring of any two parents." BSL: (9-12) p. 108
Lesson 6: Closing
The closing assessment activities are a sampling of key ideas from across all of the lessons and address all of the standards and benchmarks from the lessons. The inclusion of main concepts in the concept map will vary by student.
Other standards and benchmarks are addressed across the lessons of the module. These include the following:
History and Nature of Science
"Science distinguishes itself from other ways of knowing and from other bodies of knowledge through the use of empirical standards, logical arguments, and skepticism, as scientists strive for the best possible explanations about the natural world." NSES: (9-12), p. 201
"The historical perspective of scientific explanations demonstrates how scientific knowledge changes by evolving over time, almost always building on earlier knowledge." NSES: (9-12), p. 204
Abilities to Do Inquiry
"Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence." NSES: (9-12), p. 175
"Use tables, charts, and graphs in making arguments and claims in oral and written presentations." BSL: (9-12), p. 297
The content, abilities, and skills to be achieved by students in the Voyages through Time curriculum are based on standards from the National Science Education Standards (NSES), National Research Council, 1996, and on benchmarks from Benchmarks for Science Literacy (BSL), American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1993.
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