'Cosmos' Episode 2 Worksheet

'Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey' Material

Cosmic Event

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The series "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey" hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson does an excellent job of breaking down various science topics in an accessible way for even beginning learners.

'Cosmos' Season 1, Episode 2 Worksheet

"Cosmos" season 1, episode 2 titled "Some of the Things That Molecules Do," focused on telling the story of evolution. Showing the episode to a middle school- or high school-level class is a great way to introduce the Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection to students.

The evolution of the eye is explored, and DNA, genes and mutation are discussed, as is abiogenesis—the origin of life from nonorganic matter.

Tyson looks at the five great extinction events and how the micro-animal tardigrade survived them all.

The episode also covers selective breeding, including how humans transformed wolves into dogs.

The following questions can be used to assess how much the students retained. They can be copied and pasted into a worksheet and then modified as necessary.

Giving the worksheet out to fill in as they watch, or even after viewing, will give the teacher a good view of what the students understood and heard and what was missed or misunderstood.

'Cosmos' Episode 2 Worksheet                           Name:___________________

 

Directions: Answer the questions as you watch episode 2 of "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey."

 

1. What are two of the things human ancestors used the sky for?

 

2. What caused the wolf to NOT come and get the bone from Neil deGrasse Tyson?

 

3. How many years ago did wolves begin to evolve into dogs?

 

4. How is being “cute” for a dog an evolutionary advantage?

 

5. What kind of selection did the humans use to create dogs (and all the tasty plants we eat)?

 

6. What is the name of the protein that helps move things around a cell?

 

7. What does Neil deGrasse Tyson compare the number of atoms in one molecule of DNA to?

 

8. What is it called when a mistake “sneaks by” the proofreader in a DNA molecule?

 

9. Why does the white bear have an advantage?

 

10. Why are there no longer any brown polar bears?

 

11. What will most likely happen to the white bears if the ice caps keep melting?

 

12. What is the human’s closest living relative?

 

13. What does the “trunk” of the “tree of life” symbolize?

 

14. Why do some people believe the human eye is an example of why evolution can’t be true?

 

15. What trait did the first bacteria evolve that started the evolution of an eye?

 

16. Why was this bacterial trait an advantage?

 

17. Why can’t land animals just start from scratch to evolve a new and better eye?

 

18. Why is saying evolution is “just a theory” misleading?

 

19. When did the greatest mass extinction of all time happen?

 

20. What is the name of the “toughest” animal to ever live that survived all five mass extinction events?

 

21. What are the lakes on Titan made out of?

 

22. Where does current scientific evidence think life began on Earth?