ASGSB 2003 Annual Meeting Abstracts
INCORPORATING ASTROBIOLOGY INTO THE MIDDLE SCHOOL CURRICULUM.
J.S. Thibodeaux1, and C.S. Brown2,3. 1C.W.
Stanford Middle School, Hillsborough, NC, 2Kenan Institute for
Engineering, Technology & Science and 3Department of Botany, North
Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC.
North Carolina, the treatment of space science at the middle school level is
generally limited in scope to studies of the physical structure of the solar
system and a brief discourse on the history of space flight. To date, the
concept of the conditions for life or the presence of life on other planets
has not been an integral part of the study of space in grades 6-8. As part of
the North Carolina Standard Course of Study (NC SCOS), science concepts
covered in the middle grades include theories concerning the components,
patterns, and cycles of the solar system; cell theory; evolutionary theories
in organisms and landforms over time; and human body systems. Exploring the
Universe Through Astrobiology is an online curriculum that aligns with the
NC SCOS and ties these curriculum concepts together under the theme of
astrobiology, focusing on the topic of extreme environments and the life forms
they contain. Under this program, astrobiology resources are being collected,
analyzed and field-tested on the middle school level. Paralleling NASA’s
Astrobiology Roadmap, the curriculum uses age-appropriate activities to
make direct comparisons between conditions on Earth that have allowed life to
form with conditions that may allow life to develop and survive in
extra-terrestrial environments. When completed, this curriculum will be
disseminated to teachers throughout the state via the Department of Public
The Kenan Fellows Program is a model for enhancing teacher professionalism
and leadership by engaging teachers in the creation of novel curricular
resources in collaboration with the private sector, the Department of Public
Instruction and institutions of higher learning.
(Supported through the Kenan Institute’s Fellowship for Curriculum and
Leadership Development at NC State University.)
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