PHY 580 - ASTROBIOLOGY FOR
The two main goals of this course are:
1. To provide
information on the central concepts related to the field of
2. To provide
experiences with using and creating student-centered and
inquiry-based curriculum materials for teaching astrobiology
that are aligned with the National Science Education
- Identify NASA's science goals for the
study of Astrobiology
- Complete lab activities designed to
develop knowledge and skills in Astrobiology
- Create an original reading activity
that synthesizes Astrobiology information
- Develop inquiry-based curriculum in
- Field test an Astrobiology lab
activity with middle or high school students
- Write an implementation plan for
teaching an existing lab activity with
- Identify and explain the importance
of NASA's goals for Astrobiology program.
- Explain how solar system dynamics has
influenced the existence of life on Earth.
- Describe how terrestrial mechanisms
have affected life on Earth.
- Survey students to determine existing
concepts related to the study of
- Analyze student surveys to provide
qualitative and quantitative data on student beliefs
about astrobiology topics.
- Discuss the use of inquiry-based
learning in the classroom.
- Identify Astrobiology topic and
activity content goals to be used for the first
Curriculum Development Project.
- Select the lab activity and dates for
the Field Test Project.
- Develop reading comprehension
questions at the synthesis level using the Jakosky
- Identify extreme environments on
Earth where microbial life exists.
- Compare and contrast extreme
environments on Earth to other environments found in the
- Explain how remote sensing allows
scientists to gather data about other places in the Solar
System and universe.
- Identify and match unknown spectra to
known line spectra from a catalog.
- Describe how false color images and
line spectra are used to gather information about the
temperature and chemical composition of other worlds to
infer the possibility of life outside of
- Identify how characteristics of
living organisms help them survive in specific
- Explain how living organisms evolve
and adapt to their environment.
- Create a DNA code that represents
given characteristics of a hypothetical
- Explain how living organisms have
adapted to life in extreme environments.
- Investigate the diversity of organic
life in extreme environments.
- Identify the processes by which
organisms interact with their environments.
- List the types and species of
organisms according to which extreme environments they
- Sequence the major eras of Earth's
geologic ages according to age, biologic and geologic
- Create a timeline that includes the
name, age, geologic features and biologic lifeforms for
each stage in Earth's history .
- Explain how the gravitation
interaction between from planets and stars cause a star's
orbit to wobble.
- Calculate the location of the center
of mass for a two-body system.
- Make inferences about planetary
bodies given stellar and orbital
- Gain experience with using the
Doppler method to find extra-solar planets.
- Classify stars according to physical
- Define the location and
specifications of the "habitable zone" for planets around
stars of different stellar class.
- Hypothesize about the possibility of
life on newly discovered planets based on orbital
- Develop real estate ads for imaginary
planets that meet qualifications for supporting
- Explain the relationship between
stellar mass and luminosity.
- Describe how stellar characteristics
influence the potential for finding complex life forms on
- Identify the variables that are
essential to estimating the number of civilizations in
the Milky Way Galaxy that are capable of communicating
- Explain how estimations are used to
approximate unknown values for specific variables in the
search for life.
- Use the Drake equation to estimate
the number of civilizations that could be present in the
- Investigate the equipment and
personnel needed and science mission goals for a manned
mission to Mars.
- Write a press release that details a
manned mission to Mars.
- Develop a new lab activity related to
one of NASA's goals for Astrobiology as the second
Curriculum Development Project.