Course Requirements

Specific requirements for this course include:

A. Class Projects:

During the semester you will be responsible for completing three different projects; two Curriculum Development Projects (CDPs) and an individual Field Test and Implementation Notes Project (FTINP).

Curriculum Development Projects (CDPs):

You will be required to work with a group of your peers in this course on the development of new classroom-ready lessons to teach astrobiology topics of your choosing. These lessons must be aligned with the NSES. In particular, your lessons must emphasize science as a process of inquiry that engages students to reason critically.

CDP #1: Working in a group, you will be responsible for creating an original reading activity that synthesizes. You can of course make use of references that you find elsewhere, but in the end the writings should be yours, not just a set of links to already written material on the web.

Activities should require the students to interact with each other and reason critically about the reading materials that your group creates. This activity portion should be structured for a small collaborative group setting. You are not expected to create a hands-on lab activity or web research project to go with the reading, but a written question based activity. The questions in the activity should flow and lead students to a conceptual model that provides them with a fundamental understanding of the essential content goals of your project. This project should be a single class lesson, not a unit project.

CDP #2: For this CDP you will need to develop your own project ideas, which can be implemented in one of two ways:

  1. You self select yourselves into a group and come up with an idea that you propose to me for approval.
  2. You self select yourselves into a group and then ask me for help with potential ideas. I have several topics and curriculum ideas that could be done for this CDP.

This project is designed to be open-ended and should develop activities that are inquiry based and focus on a concept addressed in the NASA Astrobiology Road Map.


Field Test and Teacher Implementation Notes Project (FTINP):

You will be required to pilot test one of the existing astrobiology laboratory activities in your classroom. After you complete your in-class field test you will write a review of your experiences using the laboratory activities in your classroom. You will also write a set of teacher implementation notes. The implementation notes should include all the information that teachers need to successfully implement the laboratory activity into their courses.

Field Test & Implementation Project Outline


Brief Description:

  • Students explore ……
  • NASA's Astrobiology Goals:
  • Which goal is the activity most directly connected to?

Extended Description:

In this ? part activity, student first… to better appreciate… …they then……to begin to lay the foundation for….. Finally they apply…….to Astrobiology.


By completing this activity, the learner will be able to:

  • -reason about
  • -define and apply
  • -estimate the
  • -calculate
  • -????

Background Information:

Content knowledge or technical abilities that the teacher needs to be competent with, if they are to teach this topic effectively. Provide detail into specific science background information essential for the teacher.

Materials and Technology: The nuts and bolts of using this activity in the classroom.

Student will work in groups of ? Each group will need a copy of ?. As written, this lesson should take ? class hours depending ?. The equipment required includes a hand-calculator, and computer able to access the WWW , ruler, colored pens???.

Science, Mathematics, and Technology Standards:

The information below are examples!! For your project please pick just one or two standards from the NRC NSES, NCTM 2000, NETSS.

  • Science NRC NSES - D: Origin and Evolution of the Universe; F: Science and Technology in local, national, and global challenges
  • Mathematics NCTM 2000 - 1: Use computational tools and strategies fluently and estimate appropriately.
  • Technology NETSS 8: Select and apply technology tools for research, information analysis, problem solving, and decision making in content learning.

Teacher Implementation Notes:

This section should be written to the perspective teacher. The following details the required information to be provided. Any other information that a perspective teacher may need to use the materials effectively in the classroom

An introduction to the teacher.

  • An answer key to the lab including the correct answers to each question (please check with me if you are unsure of any of your answers). If drawings or graphs are asked for, please provide a detailed description of the important features and subtle reasoning required to produce the drawing or graph. If possible also provide an example graph or drawing.
  • For sections that your students needed assistance on, please describe the student difficulty and provide an instructional suggestion (perhaps a set of useful questions) on how to help the student. This information can be embedded in the Answer key or in a separate section.
  • A description on the subtle instructional techniques that you suggest using to make using this lab more effective. In general, tell how to succeed with implementing this lab activity in the classroom.


  • Where could this lesson go next? Provide a couple of.... include the


  • Provide an assessment strategy, tool or set of follow up questions that the teacher could use to see if the students had achieved the objectives set for in the "Objectives" section.

Summary and Suggestions:

  • This section should be written to me. Describe your general thoughts on the merits and deficits of this lab activity. What changes would you make to either limit or enhance the scope or content of the lab? What students do you think that the lab is most appropriate for as written?

B. Laboratory Assignments:

During the semester you will be required to complete nine Astrobiology Lab activities. The names and dates for each Lab activity are provided in the Course Schedule. These Lab activities have been designed to teach students from middle school to high school on various topics associated with astrobiology. You are individually responsible for turning in a completed version of each Lab activity. Complete sentences are required for all written answers. When graphs or drawings are to be completed a description of the graph or drawing should be provided. Each Lab has been designed as a group activity; therefore, throughout the week you and your group members are expected to engage in meaningful discussions about the subtle difficulties presented in the Lab activities. These discussions will contribute to the participation portion of your grade.

C. Homework:

A partial list of Homework questions is provided in the Course Schedule. As with the Lab activities, each student is responsible for completing his or her own homework. However, you are expected to engage in discussions with your Blue Giant or Red Giant group about the homework questions. These discussions will contribute to the participation portion of your grade.

D. Discussion and Participation:

As a course participant, you will be assigned a group for discussion purposes, and will be expected to contribute to the discussions therein on a daily basis. Discussion Questions are provided in the Course Schedule for each week during the semester. Overall, these questions are intended to promote discussion about important content or pedagogy issues associated with teaching about astrobiology. Participation credit is given when you respond to a question or comment in such a way as to move the discussion forward. Logging on to simply state that you agree with the previous statement will not satisfy this requirement. Some questions will be added as the course progresses to facilitate topics of interest brought up in class.

E. Quizzes

There will be two quizzes given during the term. These involve synthesis of content provided in the text and in labs.