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Crash Course


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, History

Resource Type

  • Videos, 13 minutes, 37 seconds, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus


The History of Life on Earth

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  • This video details the history of Earth in terms of ecology and the organisms that lived and evolved here over time. 
  • Students will learn about the Archaean, Proterozoic, and Phanerozoic Eons, the organisms that existed in each, changes in climate and the atmosphere, and the periods in our Eon, which includes several extinction events. 
Teaching Tips


  • This video is incredibly informative and well organized. 
  • The speaker is able to deliver complex information in a way that is engaging and entertaining. 

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have some prior knowledge of biology before viewing this video. 
  • The video moves quickly, so you may want to pause the video periodically for students to take notes or to recap main topics. 


  • This resource could be used in a social studies class considering the "big picture" of history. 
  • This video would make a great introduction to ecology or a study of any of the Eons or periods discussed. 
  • During viewing, prompt students to create a list of questions they have or concepts they would like to learn more about. Afterward, use these lists to guide the conversation and future activities. 
  • Consider having students complete a defined list of vocabulary terms ahead of time and create a timeline of Earth's history that shows the different Eons for students to fill in with details while watching the video.
Scientist Notes
The video emphasizes how living things interact and adapt to their surroundings as well as the evolution of species. This is wise advice that should be used in the classroom.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-7. Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth’s systems and life on Earth.
    • LS1: Structures and Processes
      • HS-LS1-6. Construct and revise an explanation based on evidence for how carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen from sugar molecules may combine with other elements to form amino acids and other large carbon-based molecules.
    • LS2: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics Within Ecosystems
      • HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
    • LS4: Biological Evolution
      • HS-LS4-1. Communicate scientific information that common ancestry and biological evolution are supported by multiple lines of empirical evidence.
      • HS-LS4-2. Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in the environment.
      • HS-LS4-4. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how natural selection leads to adaptation of populations.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • SL.11-12.1 Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on topics, texts, and issues, listening actively, and building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.
      • SL.11-12.3 Understand and evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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