Life in the Universe (LITU) Curriculum Files


The Science Detectives

This exciting science adventure has students trace the travels of Amelia Spacehart, an astronaut and radio astronomer, who is searching the Solar System for the source of a mysterious radio signal. Is the signal coming from an extraterrestrial intelligence? From her interplanetary NASA spacecraft, Amelia provides clues that lead students to explore features of the Solar System, states of matter, lenses and magnification, and large scale measurements.

Science Detectives




The SETI Academy Planet Project

In this three-volume set, fifth and sixth grade students are invited to become members of the "SETI Academy." As Academy members, they explore Earth's history for clues to the possible existence of life beyond our Solar System. Designed for science classes, these volumes can be used individually or in series to create a comprehensive, thematic, scientific exploration for students.

Volume 1 : Evolution of a Planetary System

After exploring the evolution of our Solar System, students apply that information to simulate the possible evolution of a planetary system beyond our own.

Evolution of a Planetary System

Volume 2 : How Might Life Evolve on Other Worlds?

Through a variety of science activities, students explore the evolution of life on Earth and search for clues to the possible evolution of life on an unknown planet beyond our Solar System. Synthesizing what they learn, they then learn to create life forms that could exist on that distant planet.

Evolution of a Planetary System

Volume 3 : The Rise of Intelligence and Culture

Students examine concepts of intelligence, culture, technology, and communication. Using their new knowledge, they simulate a complex culture for an intelligent organism that could exist on an unknown planet.

Evolution of a Planetary System




Life: Here? There? Elsewhere? The Search for Life on Venus and Mars

Students investigate the phenomena of life through activities that introduce them to the multidisciplinary sciences of planetology and exobiology. Simulating Venusian and Martian conditions, they explore various means of detecting life in the atmosphere and soils of Earth. They use their findings to propose a spacecraft design for life detection on Venus and Mars.

Science Detectives




Project Haystack: The Search for life in the Galaxy

Are there any intelligent civilizations out there? Where might they be? If they are out there, how would they communicate with us and what would they say? How would we respond? Project Haystack is an investigation of these questions and others now being asked by scientists trying to determine our place in the cosmos. Through hands-on activities, middle school students learn about the scale and structure of the Milky Way Galaxy - a cosmic haystack. They study SETI science by using simple astronomical tools to solve some of the problems of sending and receiving messages beyond our solar system.

Science Detectives