Programs & Collections

Astrobiology Short Course (full curriculum)
This interactive course is designed to give you an introduction to Astrobiology that you can work through at your own pace and return to at any time. Designed for upper elementary and middle school teachers, this course also contains relevant...    View Details »

Key Concepts: astrobiology, life, DNA, evolution, solar system

Astrobiology: The Search for Life in the Universe (overview lecture)
How does life begin and evolve? Does life exist elsewhere in the Universe? Join Montana State University professor John Peters as he examines these questions and explains the search for life in the universe. Peters is director of the NASA...    View Details »

Key Concepts: astrobiology, astronomy, space, biology, NASA

Astronauts and Aliens: Aliens Party
Yellowstone hot springs and aliens: what's the connection? Come to the alien party at your local library and find out. Come face-to-face with some Sea Monkeys and learn about their travels in space. Make some Shrinky Dinks, hear a fun alien story,...    View Details »

Key Concepts: Yellowstone, hot springs, aliens, sea monkeys, astrobiologists

Astronauts and Aliens: Family Star Gazing Night
Learn more about our solar system and the stars you see at night at a family star viewing party. Gaze at the stars through a telescope, learn a few constellations, and make your own portable guide to the night sky. Discover what stars and planets...    View Details »

Key Concepts: stars, solar system, constellations, planets, astronomy calendar

Astronauts and Aliens: Sun Party
The Sun helps keep us alive. It is our nearest star and it provides us with warmth and energy. Come learn more about our star and make a bracelet or key chain that changes color in the Sun's light. Create your own solar clock, view photos of the Sun...    View Details »

Key Concepts: sun, solar clock

Astronauts and Aliens:Astronauts Party
Have you ever thought about being an astronaut? Come learn more about how to become an astronaut and what life is like in space. View photos of Mars in 3-D, make a rocket, try on some moon shoes, and taste some astronaut food. You'll find out if...    View Details »

Key Concepts: astronaut, life, space, rocket, moon shoes

Buckets of Planets
In this activity, children analyze descriptions of planets and decide which one is most likely to support life. They then search for microbial life by digging through buckets representing the planets. This can be a short demo or a longer in-depth...    View Details »

Key Concepts: microbes, astrobiology

Drake Equation
Students estimate the number of intelligent civilizations in our Milky Way by using observations and predictions based on NASA data. Grades 6-12.    View Details »

Key Concepts: estimate, NASA, Drake equation

Field and Classroom Microscope Trunk
The Magiscope Microscopes are sturdy, durable microscopes that work great in the classroom or out in the field. With only 1 moving part, they are easy to use for students of all ages (K-12 and adults). The trunk includes a set of 12 Microscopes. ...    View Details »

Key Concepts: microscope, field microscope

Grizzly Bears: Ready For Delisting
This lesson has been aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core State Standards, NSES National Science Standards, and NCTM National Math Standards.This lesson uses the flipped learning model where teachers don't stand before the...    View Details »

Key Concepts: Conservation, grizzly bear, threatened species, wildlife populations, data sets, montana wildlife, predators, carnivores,

Life is All Around Us children's book
"Life is All Around Us" is a book designed to help children aged 3 through 8 understand the most basic concept of astrobiology: What it means to be alive. Through beautiful illustrations and child-centered prose, young students will...    View Details »

Key Concepts: astrobiology, biology, what it means to be alive

Meet the Scientist: Joe Shaw
At the spectrUM Discovery Area in Missoula, Montana, visitors can learn about the work of Institute on Ecosystems researchers, as well as enjoy interactive exhibits, including a flight simulator and virtual floodplain.Visitors can also meet some of...    View Details »

Key Concepts: technology, environment, ecosystems, optics, laser, electrical engineering, Yellowstone Lake

Nanotechnology for Teachers
Join Montana State University (MSU) physics professor Yves Idzerda for a talk on nanotechnology. Professor Idzerda gives a general introduction to nano, describing what the term means, how small nano really is, and how this exciting...    View Details »

Key Concepts: nano, nanotechnology, energy, scale, atom, molecule

Planet in a Bottle / Extreme Planet Project
In this activity, students learn the basic principles behind the Goldilocks zone, extremophiles, and astrobiology through a reading, two experiments, and a project. In part one, students conduct experiments on three simulated planets in bottles and...    View Details »

Key Concepts: planets, extremophiles, goldilocks zone, astrobiology

Yellowstone ABCs
This three-part lesson ties together the concepts of pH, Yellowstone extremophiles, and the search for life beyond the Earth. In part one, students conduct a laboratory activity in which they test several substances to determine pH. In part 2,...    View Details »

Key Concepts: pH, Yellowstone, extremophiles, life beyond Earth, astrobiology