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Life on Other Planets
Created by Morgan Woroner Last updated 3/17/2014
Does life exist on other planets? Learn how scientists explore this question & how studying life on our planet can give us clues about what life may look like in extreme environments.
- Elementary / Middle School - This is a lesson about the field of astrobiology, the study of life in the universe, and ice as a preservative for evidence of life. Learners will consider the relationship between ice and life as they investigate the conditions required for life to exist and sustain itself.
- Elementary / Middle School - This is an activity about the requirements of life. Learners will explore what living things need to survive and thrive by creating and caring for a garden plot (outdoors where appropriate) or a container garden (indoors).
- Middle School - This is a lesson about extremophiles and using DNA sequences to classify them. Learners will describe the characteristics of a newly discovered thermophyllic organism and use the DNA sequence to place that organism in the phylogenetic tree of life.
- Middle School - his is a lesson about using analogues to look for life on other planets. Learners will use the results of previous lessons to write a scientific proposal to explore another planet or moon in our solar system for signs of life.
- Middle School - This collection of activities presents learners with intriguing questions about the universe and provides an opportunity to explore topics related to the search for life beyond our own planet.
- Middle School - This is a lesson about the evidence for life on other planets. Learners will play a game to examine processes in cellular metabolism and explore both direct and indirect evidence for fingerprints of life.
- Middle School / High School - This is a lesson about organisms living under extreme conditions on Earth serving as analogs for extraterrestrial life. Learners will play a card game to create a set by matching an extremophile, an extreme habitat on Earth, and an extraterrestrial habitat that may be similar to an Earth habitat.
- Middle School / High School - Learners will compare real and fake or live and dead objects and brainstorm ideas about what life is; refine the definition by playing 20 Questions to identify an object or organism; and test the definition by comparing "mystery" samples.AAAS Benchmarks: 12D/E7
- Middle School / High School - This is a lesson about characteristics necessary for life. Learners will identify the top candidates for life in the solar system by examining Habitability Cards, which discuss each planet and the six large moons in terms of water temperature, atmosphere, energy, and nutrients.
- Middle School / High School - In this activity, students develop a timeline relating technological advances, particularly in microscopy, to how scientists have classified living organisms throughout history.
- Middle School / High School - This is a lesson about the requirements for life on another planet. Learners will grow organisms in one of 12 classroom environments and identify common requirements (such as water, nutrients, and energy).
- High School - This is a lesson about the categorization of the three domains of life on Earth and how they relate to the study of astrobiology. Learners will explore, compare, discuss, and explain the basic differences between organisms assigned to the eukaryotic, bacterial, and archaeal domains.
- Informal Ed / General Public - This is a graphic novel history about NASA's search for life in the universe. It tells the story of some of the most important people and events that have shaped the NASA Exobiology and Astrobiology science.