Origin of Life

Initial Publication Date: May 30, 2013


This module explores various hypotheses concerning the origins of life on planet Earth and their plausibility when applied to Mars.

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Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • Explain the conditions of the Miller-Urey Experiment
  • Define "life" and the requirements for life
  • Determine if the Miller-Urey Experiment has applicability on Mars

Context for Use

This module is meant for adaptation in an Earth science course, particularly a segment discussing Pre-Cambrian/Hadean environmental conditions on Earth. Biology instructors are also encouraged to adapt this material.

Description and Teaching Materials

Compiled In-Class Activities and Homework

In-Class Activity

Teaching Notes and Tips

  1. Encourage a discussion about the requirements for life and what "life" means in the In-Class Activity
  2. Have students determine the viability of the Miller-Urey Experiment as a theory for the origin of life.


Methods of assessment are within each individual In-Class Activity and Homework.

References and Resources

  1. Miller-Urey Experiment YouTube Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iahBQolXQH8
  2. NASA Astrobiology Institute- NAI: https://astrobiology.nasa.gov/nai/