Classroom Astrobiology

Are you one of these educators:

  • STEM teacher
  • Homeschooling parent or guardian
  • Parent active in your child's school or classroom 
  • Camp counselor
  • After-school programs leader

and do you want materials for your science learners which fit ALL of these?

  • Aligned with 21st century skills
  • Free 
  • Engaging and unique
  • Creative
  • Make science come alive
  • Are endorsed by NASA and other science organizations
  • Don't have memorization and scary math 
  • Teach students real thinking skills 

If so, you've come to the right place.

Check out this video which summarizes this project.

SAGANet is now hosting a project called Classroom Astrobiology, a science package for various grade levels and adaptable to various learning environments. Classroom Astrobiology is organized around the theme, “Are we alone in the universe?” It is continuously under development by Svetlana Shkolyar, an astrobiology PhD candidate at Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration. Whether you are a science or STEM teacher, a teacher in training, a homeschooling parent, or an informal kid's activity leader, welcome and enjoy!  Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. If you would like to partner with me, leave me a comment below.

 

Science is inquiry, not a “cookbook” lab experiment

No more student regurgitation of science equations! No scary math equations! Just engaging science activities that are fun, effective, and teach students how to think about more than just science in the 21st century. That is what each lesson in Classroom Astrobiology features. Each lesson utilizes the power of next generation teaching technologies beyond the chalkboard and textbook, incorporating 21st Century computer skills, technology standards, and Next Generation Science Standards into each lesson. 

Lagging behind on engaging, reliable resources?

 

The internet is full of excellent as well as low quality teaching activities. Why sift through tons of websites to see what fits your learners' needs? Classroom Astrobiology brings the best of freely available, highest quality, NASA endorsed online materials straight into your classroom! Plus, you can adapt all materials to your learner's needs.

Rather than spending unnecessary time developing new materials, this lesson package is designed to supplement and enhance existing curricular materials. 

Classroom Astrobiology brings 21st century science into the classroom.

This results in:

  • Increased teacher confidence
    • Time not wasted looking for innovative materials for learners online
    • Less guess-work supplementing teaching materials in science curricula 
  • Positive student attitudes towards science
    • More students exposed to STEM materials
    • Increased potential for more students undertaking STEM and NASA careers.

Each lesson contains materials to allow students to engage in inquiry-based discussions. This teaches students that science is an iterative and creative process of discovery. Instead of emphasizing facts  -- which is known to prevent true understanding -- these lessons emphasize the practices and concepts of science.

To learn more about this project's origins, history, and inspiration, please visit the Project History page.

Capturing Kids' Imaginations:

"How do we find life in the universe?"

This lesson package is woven together into a narrative of 8 themes spanning the Drake Equation. But don't worry! This is NOT a math equation that your students need to solve or memorize.

The Drake equation is a framework for astrobiologists to wrap their heads around so they can estimate the number of detectable extraterrestrial intelligent civilizations in our galaxy. When adapted to the classroom, it is simply a way to organize the many ideas of astrobiology into 8 themes.

Check out this site or click on the image below to learn more. The goal of Classroom Astrobiology is to create content for all Drake equation themes, but thanks for your patience on this process of continuous development!

Image credit: SETI Institute/

The goal of astrobiology is NOT to solve this equation or find intelligent ETs out there. Rather, it is to understand our planet, who we are, where we come from, where we are going, and if there are any other forms of life, like ours or not, anywhere else out there. By studying in astrobiology, we learn about our planet, our planet's life, and our universe. Also, as new techniques, knowledge, and instruments are created through the study of astrobiology, they benefit our Earth and society in many ways, too.

Let's Dig In to Lessons

Lessons are divided into themes and grade levels. Check out the elementarymiddle, or high school materials. At the beginning of each lesson, there is a summary of the intended grade level, preparation requirements, and learning outcomes. If you read, pilot, or adopt any of the lesson activities, please fill out this feedback survey or leave a comment below and tell me what you think!

Thank You! 

Do YOU want to partner with me? Do you want to be involved in this exciting endeavor as an educator, an intern, or a student? I am currently recruiting help at all levels and capacities for this project. Tell me how you would like to be involved in the comments below! 

Last but not least, a BIG THANKS goes to my sponsors who support this work:

 

 

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Comment by Svet Shkolyar on September 22, 2015 at 4:48pm

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