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In this activity, student teams design and conduct a scientific investigation in which they explore the conditions necessary for life. They conduct observations of environmental conditions both indoor and outdoor, and determine the range of... (View More)

This is a lesson about the amount of atmosphere a planet is likely to have. Learners will look for the relationship between atmospheric mass and other characteristics of the planet. When the results are not completely conclusive, the students... (View More)

Keywords: habitable zone
Audience: Middle school

This is a lesson about the kinds of stars that are suitable for supporting human life. Learners will characterize stars on a HR diagram and identify the characteristics of those most suitable for supporting human life. They then explore the... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

In this activity, students pose several hypotheses for what will happen if you continue heating or supplying energy to the hot and cold planet models (Mercury, Mars, Venus, and Earth) and then test their hypotheses using a spreadsheet based... (View More)

This is a lesson that sets up the final project for the Astronomy unit. Learners will research the requirements for human survival and analyze the planets and moons in our solar system to assess the ability of each to support human survival. The... (View More)

Audience: Middle school

In this activity, student teams create a knowledge map of the essential characteristics or factors of a planet with a habitable climate, identifying range of inputs, outputs and variables of a planetary environmental system. Identified... (View More)

This lesson is comprised of three parts grouped to enable student understanding of classifying organisms. In part one of the lesson, students classify imaginary organisms represented by a mix of breakfast cereals, candies, nuts, raisins, etc.... (View More)

Size and shape are important in astrobiology. In this activity and slideshow, students observe the importance of relative size and morphology in identifying microscopic structures when viewed with the scanning electron microscope. This activity is... (View More)

This series of six activities encourages students to think about the characteristics of life and the possibility of looking for life on Mars. The first three activities from Destination: Mars establish the criteria for recognizing life. The other... (View More)

In this activity, students develop a timeline relating technological advances, particularly in microscopy, to how scientists have classified living organisms throughout history. Students use Internet and/or library resources to investigate important... (View More)