The Voyages Through Time curriculum Overview

The Voyages Through Time curriculum Overview


Voyages Through Time is designed as a one year, integrated science course for ninth or tenth grade students. Individual modules can also be used in discipline-based science courses. For students, a middle-school background in physical sciences, life science, and geosciences is assumed.


The overarching goals for Voyages Through Time are for students to understand:

  • evolution is the result of cumulative changes over time that occur in all realms of the natural world;

  • the various processes underlying these changes;

  • the differing time scales and rates of change;

  • the connections and relationships across these realms of change; and

  • science is a process of advancing our understanding of the natural world, not a set of final answers.

Meta Questions

The major overarching questions posed in each module are:

  • What is changing?

  • What is the rate of change?

  • What are the mechanisms of change?


The Voyages Through Time curriculum is structured as six instructional modules:

Cosmic Evolution - origin of the universe, life cycles of stars, and formation of planets

Planetary Evolution - changes in Earth's surface and atmosphere, how our planet is habitable

Origin of Life - origin hypotheses, common chemistry, life and the planet, multicellular life

Evolution of Life - diversity & diversification of living things and the relationships among them

Hominid Evolution - processes and events in hominid evolution, biological and technological

Evolution of Technology - technologies meet human needs, evolution and impact of technology

Instructional Model

Voyages Through Time uses the "5 E's" instructional model of engage-explore-explain-elaborate-evaluate, developed by Biological Sciences Curriculm Study (1996). This model actively involves students in their learning and reflects science as inquiry.

Content Standards

The content of Voyages Through Time is based on the recommendations in the National Science Education Standards (NRC, 1996) and Benchmarks for Science Literacy (AAAS, 1993). See a list of standards and benchmarks covered by the year-long curriculum. Each module also has links to the standards and benchmarks addressed by specific modules.