Astrobiology was developed by TERC and funded in part by the National Science Foundation. TERC is a research-based organization that works at the frontiers of theory and practice to contribute to a deeper understanding of learning and teaching. The Astrobiology curriculum has undergone a rigorous iterative process of writing, testing in real classrooms, and rewriting.
After a brief, motivating introduction (Setting the Stage), each chapter of Astrobiology begins with an engaging and meaningful Challenge—a “real-life” question, problem, or task that students are charged with solving or completing by the end of the chapter. Research shows that when students are motivated, they learn and remember more. The guided-inquiry activities that follow help elucidate points of the Challenge and enable students to collect the data necessary for answering their questions. Meeting the Challenge, a performance-based assessment, brings students full-circle to complete the original chapter Challenge. This feature synthesizes students’ ideas, results, and work, and is used as a demonstration of mastery of conceptual understanding.
Astrobiology is a hands-on, minds-on curriculum, where doing science is essential to learning science. Each activity is based on a 5E learning cycle and moves from concrete to abstract. Hands-on activities provide the basis for exploring student beliefs about how the world works and for manipulating variables that affect the outcomes of experiments, models, or simulations. After each activity, terminology is introduced through readings used to describe the processes that students have explored through hands-on activity. This flow from concrete (hands-on) to abstract (formal explanations) is progressive.
Kit components are identified, designed, and tested over time to meet the needs of the activities specific to the Astrobiology program. Several activities in Astrobiology can also be adapted for use in conjunction with our einstein™ Tablet+ or Fourier data loggers and sensors. There are also several great places where you can visit online to learn more about Astrobiology. They offer timely and cost-effective ways to learn more about this powerful and fast-growing field of science.
It’s About Time® is committed to providing comprehensive, ongoing professional-development support services for districts or schools implementing Astrobiology. Our highly experienced implementation specialists will lead workshops to get you started with teaching Astrobiology, follow-up sessions that provide additional content and pedagogical support, as well as online and onsite mentoring. There are also several great places where you can visit online to learn more about Astrobiology. They offer timely and cost-effective ways to learn more about this powerful and fast-growing field of science.