Worksheet on Wilson’s The Future of Life, Chapter 1

The purpose of what we are doing in our study of the Prologue and chapters 1 and 2 is to model things that you and your group members could build into your presentations. You must get your classmates to use the elements to analyze the chapter. This is the sort of worksheet that you could design, and you would want to assign parts of it to specific groups so that getting through it does not take the entire period. In other words, this worksheet provides good practice for applying the elements to your own chapter (a key step in preparing your presentation). Remember that the three parts of your presentation are as follows: elements, disciplinary lenses, and some sort of game.The first two are required; the third is a really good idea. Any order is fine. Mark the chapter as you work through the worksheet.



IMPLICATION: The title is “To the Ends of the Earth”? What does this title IMPLY?

1) About life:

2) About the chapter:


INFORMATION: How do we know that Wilson is surveying the whole biosphere?

1) See pages 3, 7, 9, 10, and 20.

2) How is the information organized? What is the shape or "trajectory" of the chapter?

3) What analogy does Wilson introduce on page 20? 



CONCEPTS: What concepts structure the chapter (see hints below)? In other words, what are the chapter’s sections/divisions? Note: You can start with large structures as we did with Tompkins (i.e., do an outline). Or you can start with smaller stuff.

1) Page 3: Life’s prolif_____ (word not used on this page; a form of it is on page 10)


2)     Pages 10-14: Patterns . . .

        a. Four . . .

        b. Three . . .

        c. ASSUMPTION: Gaia

        d. Eight . . .

        e. Three domains:

3)     Page 14: Exploration . . .



What is Wilson’s POINT OF VIEW? Find at least three or four.

1) Everywhere:

2) Pages 11-15:


What are the most important CONCEPTS? Note: When you have a ton of concepts to deal with, it helps to decide which are really important, which are less important, and which are okay not to call attention to.

      Tier one (most important concepts): See pages 3, 10-11, and 13.


      Tier two (other important concepts): See pages 4, 7, 13, and 19.



What are the chapter’s QUESTION AT ISSUE and PURPOSE?





What CONCLUSIONS arise? Note: The first one is a quotation.

1) Page 15:



2) Page 21:



CONSEQUENCE and ASSUMPTION: How would you summarize chapter 1? Note: If you're copying this handout to make your own, be advised that you should not pair assumption and consequence in later chapters. These elements have a unique relationship in chapter 1. Do you know what it is?

1) Write a paragraph in which you tell a friend what Wilson's first chapter is about. Include, for example, what you think the major element is in chapter 1. What is the main standard that Wilson meets here? Remember: ABC DIPS.




2) What assumption about human nature (see Prologue, letter to Henry) is important here? 




Evaluation: A standards check—SUFFICIENCY? What is the relationship between Wilson’s CONCLUSIONS and ASSUMPTIONS in chapter 1? See the final paragraph. What is "begging the question"?



Now that you have analyzed the chapter and done a quick standards check, consider the following question: If you were going to play a game based on chapter 1, how would you do it? For example, if you wanted to design a Jeopardy game, what categories would you come up with?