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This is a lesson about generating hypotheses and testable questions. Learners will use critical thinking and a collaborative approach to pose questions related to the study of Mars and evaluate the quality of their questions. They will explore... (View More) remote-sensing data collected by a camera orbiting Mars - the Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) and develop a team science question. Students will practice critical thinking skills, use a collaborative approach to this first critical step of the scientific process. Exploring the images of the surface of Mars in Visible (VIS) images, students will come up with a topic of study, their team science question and hypotheses. The lesson models scientific inquiry using the 5E instructional model and includes teacher notes and vocabulary. (View Less)
This is a lesson about using evidence to construct sequences of geologic events. Learners will interpret real NASA science data to identify features on the surface of Mars, determine the surface history of the area, calculate the size of features,... (View More) and develope investigable questions. Students will study images taken by NASA's Mars Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera orbiting Mars. Students will use the THEMIS images to analyze the surface features and geological history of Mars. The lesson models scientific inquiry using the 5E instructional model and includes teacher notes and vocabulary. (View Less)
This activity is an interactive word find game with words related to comets and NASA's Comet Nucleus Sample Return mission. Accompanying text and pictures describe what comets are and why we are interested in them.
This is a game about planning what to take on a space trip to Mars. Learners will decide on the appropriateness of items to take on a long trip to Mars and take into consideration the effects of zero gravity, limited electrical power, etc.
This is a game about the formation of the solar system. Learners dynamically engage in modeling the growth of asteroids from specks of matter. Similar to tag, the children run around, have fun, and burn off energy. Different from tag, there is... (View More) science involved! The end of activity debriefing discusses strengths and limits of the model. Note the setting for this activity should be large and open where students can run. (View Less)
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) habitat that may be similar to an Earth habitat. They will assemble a crew of extremophiles and target them to specific locations on a planet or moon. The activity concludes with a debate on the ethics of sending Earth life to other worlds. Includes background reading for teachers, student pages, reflection questions, and blackline masters. This is activity 4 in the educators guide, Astrobiology in your Classroom: Life on Earth..and Elsewhere? (View Less)
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) in the Milky Way galaxy that have life using the Drake equation. Includes background reading for teachers, student pages, reflection questions, and blackline masters. This is activity 5 of 5 in "Astrobiology in your Classroom: Life on Earth..and Elsewhere?" and builds on the previous activities. (View Less)
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) atmosphere, energy, and nutrients. A math extension is provided on the Inverse Square Law. Includes background reading for teachers, student pages, reflection questions, and blackline masters. This is activity 3 of 5 in the educators guide, Astrobiology in your Classroom: Life on Earth..and Elsewhere? Note: See Related & Supplemental Resources (right side of this page) to download a separate PDF of the Habitability Cards used in this lesson. (View Less)
This is the concluding lesson in the Astro-Venture Biology Unit. Learners will draw and explain concept maps that show how the members of the food web interact with many different systems to support human habitability and write a report of their... (View More) findings explaining how astronomical, atmospheric, geological, and biological features work together as a system to support human habitability and how this balance can be maintained. The lesson models scientific inquiry using the 5E instructional model and includes teacher notes, prerequisite concepts, common misconceptions, student journal and reading. This is lesson 7 in the Astro-Venture Biology Training Unit that was developed to increase students' awareness of and interest in astrobiology and related STEM career opportunities. The lessons are designed to be used with the Astro-Venture multimedia modules. (View Less)