Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Touring Through the Beginning of Earth

Mark Howell


Students create a series of front-page newspaper articles about different theories of how life began on Earth.


The student knows various scientific theories on how the universe was formed.


-Internet-accessible computers
-Reference materials
-Colored pencils
-11 x 14 sheets of white paper
-Local newspapers, preferably one per student
-One checklist per student (See Associated File)


1. Purchase 11 x 14 paper, and any other materials that are used in this lesson if you don't have them already. The 11 x 14 paper will be used in making the front-page newspaper article.
2. Preview and bookmark the Websites for students. (See Weblinks)
3. Download and copy one checklist per student. (See Associated File)


1. At the beginning of the lesson, ask the class if they can tell you of any theories they may have heard about that relate to how the Earth was formed within the universe.

2. Record answers given on the chalkboard.

3. Tell the class that you would like them to focus on two theories of how the Earth was formed: The Extraterrestrial Origin Theory and The Big Bang Theory.

4. Without going into detail about the theories, explain to the class that you would like them to write two front-page newspaper stories, one about each of the theories, including one major story, and other smaller articles that will fit on the page.

5. Tell the class that reporters are often put in a situation to write a story about a topic on which they have no previous knowledge about, but learn as they interview others and research topics on their own; that is precisely the situation that they're in now.

6. In order to find out more about the theories, the students will have to use the Internet or the school's library resources.

7. Review local newspapers with the students, focusing on the front pages.

8. Ask the students to point out different sections of the page so that they can see a real example.

9. List those sections on the board.

10. Let the students know that usually the front page is made up of a large picture, and several articles that are related to that picture.

11. They should model their front-page articles after the real examples that are available to them as they work on creating their own.

12. You might even read some of the articles so the students can hear how a newspaper article sounds. This may help them in the writing. Point out the headline and the style of writing.

13. Allow for a question-and-answer period so the students fully understand what they will be doing.

14. Explain that you will provide them with two 11 x 14 sheets of white paper that can be used to create their front pages. Articles can either be written out, cut or pasted, or printed directly onto the paper.

15. Provide the class with the Websites attached and tell them they should be able to create their two front pages based on the information on the sites. However, other sites can certainly be used.

16. Read through and provide the students with a checklist they can use while preparing the articles. (See Associated File)


After the students have completed writing the newspaper articles, ask them to share the articles with the rest of the class. The articles must describe the differences between the scientific theories on how life came to be on earth, as well as other requirements asked for on the checklist. (See Associated File)

Web Links

Web supplement for Touring Through the Beginning of Earth
The Origins of Life

Web supplement for Touring Through the Beginning of Earth
The Big Bang Theory

Attached Files

This document contains the Checklist for Front-Page Articles.     File Extension: pdf

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