C. elegans and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Grade Level: 9 - 12 Age Range: 14 - 18 Lesson Length: 8 - 9 classes

Thank you to Laura Kleven and Eric Colchin of Johnson Aerospace and Engineering High School for sharing with us the lesson they presented at the Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC 2013) earlier this year.

In this lesson, students design a space craft that will travel to Mars and back carrying C. elegans. Students also come up with a definition of life, read articles about the search for life on other planets, study the life cycle and living requirements of C. elegans so that the space craft they design will support life for these creatures, and present their findings to the class.

The full lesson includes 5 units requiring a total of 8-9 class periods with 1-2 days in the laboratory working with microscopes and Petri dishes holding live C. elegans specimens. PowerPoint of C. elegans information

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