2021 Online Astronomy Institute - Module 6: Life, Here, and Everywhere?

Of all the areas of scientific investigation, astrobiology is probably the most integrated of them all. Drawing on the findings from astronomy, geology, biology, meteorology, oceanography, chemistry, and physics, astrobiology explores the physical and chemical conditions necessary for the existence of life. Complete details below.

Registration for this option is closed.

With the Drake Equation as a guide, astrobiology seeks to better define the factors leading to the prevalence of life in the universe.  As technology improves, researchers are better able to constrain these factors, including the prevalence of planets in our galaxy, the environments where life can survive and thrive, and how evolution might proceed on a planet far different from our own.

In this module, participants will explore how to identify processes. They will also explore how life might take on interesting and exotic characteristics on a different planet.  They will also examine the Drake Equation, and how current science defines its factors to help answer the ultimate question: are we alone in the universe?

Appropriate for teaching grade levels 3-12.

Dates: March 30 - April 30, 2021

Times: Four live sessions on Tuesdays (April 6, 13, 20, and 27), 4-5pm Pacific Time (7-8pm Eastern)

NGSS focus:

3-LS4-3: Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

3-LS4-1: Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.

5-ESS2-1: Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact. 

MS-ESS1-4: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's 4.6-billion-year-old history.

MS-LS4-1: Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.

HS-ESS2-7: Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth's systems and life on Earth.

Details: Each module lasts five consecutive weeks, with 1-hour webinars offered weekly for four of these weeks.  Each module includes a Materials Kit that will be shipped directly to you at the Shipping Address you provide during Checkout. Please note: Shipping is included for the Continental U.S. If your ship-to address is Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or International, we will contact you with the additional shipping fees.

Before the first and between the webinar sessions, you’ll engage in activities on your own time, including posting ideas and opinions in an online forum and engaging in assignments and activities related to the content.  You’ll also get a chance to try out the activities with your classes between the webinars and share your experiences.

Academic credits: Up to two semester units of academic credit available through The University of the Pacific for participants completing all six modules.  Those completing three modules are eligible for one semester unit of academic credit.

Registration closed February 15, 2021 for Module 6