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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. The collection includes eight existing classroom... (View More)

This is a lesson about the definition of life. 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... (View More)

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... (View More)

In this activity, learners will explore the question, What is the chance that we are the only life in the universe? They determine what we need to know to predict the chances of extraterrestrial life. They then make estimates of the number of worlds... (View More)

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). They will also design a mission to identify... (View More)

This is a lesson about the 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,... (View More)

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... (View More)

Learners will use the results of previous lessons in this guide to write a scientific proposal to explore another planet or moon in our solar system for signs of life. This proposal should predict the types of energy and nutrients available to... (View More)

Audience: 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. Includes teacher notes, learning objectives,... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

In this activity, students survey other people to find out their thoughts about life beyond Earth and compare their ideas with visitors to the Cosmic Questions exhibit. Students can also analyze their survey data to see whether there is any... (View More)

Audience: Middle school, High school
Materials Cost: Free