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This is a set of three activities about how scientists study other worlds. Learners will explore and compare the features of Mars and Earth, discuss what the features suggest about the history of Mars, and create a model to help them understand how... (View More) scientists view other worlds. The activities help to show why scientists are interested in exploring Mars for evidence of past life, and address the question: "Why are we searching for life on Mars?" It also includes specific tips within each activity for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 4 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
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) comparing conditions on Earth and Mars, and then discuss ways in which organisms may protect themselves from UV radiation. They will then take part in a Mars Creature Challenge, where they will change their creature to help it survive harsh UV conditions — like on Mars. They will then test their Mars creatures by subjecting them to different environmental conditions to see how well they "survive" in a martian environment. This investigation will explore shelter and protection as one of life’s requirements and how Earth’s atmosphere protects life from harmful UV radiation. It also includes specific tips for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 5 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
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) in defining life. By observing the soil samples, participants try to determine if any contain signs of life and work to identify, refine, and create a set of characteristics that may be used to identify living versus nonliving things. The activity concludes with the development of a group definition of life. This group definition will be referred to in subsequent activities. It also includes specific tips within each activity for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 1 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
This activity focuses on the relationship between science of looking for life and the tools, on vehicles such as the Mars Rover, that make it possible. Learners will create their own models of a Mars rover. They determine what tools would be... (View More) necessary to help them better understand Mars (and something about life on Mars/its habitability). Then they work in teams to complete a design challenge where they incorporate these elements into their models, which must successfully complete a task. Teams may also work together to create a large-scale, lobby-sized version that may be put on display in the library to engage their community. The activity also includes specific tips for effectively engaging girls in STEM. This is activity 6 in Explore: Life on Mars? that was developed specifically for use in libraries. (View Less)
This is a graphic novel 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.
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) variation or patterns in answers from men and women or people of different ages. To do this, students will need to design their own method for tracking demographic data. This activity is part of the "Cosmic Questions Educator's Guide" that was developed to support the Cosmic Questions exhibit. Activities in the guide can be used in conjunction with or independently of the exhibit. (View Less)