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Unit two of the "Carbon Connections: The Carbon Cycle and the Science of Climate" curriculum examines the role of carbon and the carbon cycle in current climate. Students discover how carbon in Earth's system is monitored and also investigate the... (View More)

This module focuses on ultraviolet radiation on Earth and in space and how it affects life. Learners will construct their own "martian" using craft materials and UV beads. They will explore how UV radiation from the Sun can affect living things,... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

This is an activity designed to develop a working definition of life. Learners will conduct a simple experiment, looking for signs of life in three different "soil" samples. The experiment introduces children to the difficulty that scientists face... (View More)

Audience: Informal education

In this lesson, a correlation between chlorophyll, sea surface temperature, and sunlight will be derived from NASA satellite data. Students will download a year’s worth of data on each of these variables for the Gulf of Maine. Data will be... (View More)

Audience: Middle school
Materials Cost: Free

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)

Working in pairs, students will create experimental conditions in terrariums in order to study what plants need to live. Variables to study include the presence or absence of soil, water, and sunlight. Students will record the growth of radish... (View More)

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