Astrobiology 101: Where Teachers are the Students
The Winogradsky Column Investigation Team reports.
Credit: SETI Institute

Where can high school science teachers learn more about the growing interdisciplinary field of Astrobiology? In the ASSET program, a summer institution for high school science teachers. U. S. teachers are invited to apply.

ASSET is built upon the contemporary thematic science standards based curriculum foundation, and delivers an exciting professional development opportunity. ASSET alumnae not only incorporate astrobiology into their classrooms, but also share their enthusiasm for science and teaching with others. One teacher has described the experience, "I can tell you how much I appreciate the intellectualism and knowledge I left with, not just notes from lectures of random facts. I left SETI Institute feeling like I could have an intelligent conversation about all of the topics we discussed that week. So again, thank you for a fantastic program!"

The ASSET experience is intense and exciting, interactive and content rich, with presentations by leading astrobiology researchers from the SETI Institute, NASA, and the California Academy of Sciences. Scientists share the latest in astrobiology research on the origin of life on Earth, the extreme conditions in which life exists, Mars exploration, the formation of planetary systems around Sun-like stars, and the search for life in the universe. The weeklong workshop features a combination of cutting edge science, inquiry-based teaching and learning, and leadership skills development to support you as a teacher and teacher trainer. This resident workshop is held at San Francisco State University, for optional graduate credit, July 27 — August 2, 2008

Participants will receive the entire Voyages Through Time curriculum and complementary astrobiology materials, developed by NASA's Astrobiology Institute, for use in their classrooms. Voyages Through Time (VTT) is a standards-based integrated high school science curriculum, delivered on CD-ROMs. VTT consists of six modules: Cosmic Evolution, Planetary Evolution, Origin of Life, Evolution of Life, Hominid Evolution, and Evolution of Technology. Together these modules comprise a yearlong, integrated science course; or they may be used individually in discipline-specific courses. Each module includes a database activity, an image library, videos, detailed lesson plans, and assessment materials. Magazine-style Student Readers bring current science articles to the classroom. To learn more about VTT visit http://www.voyagesthroughtime.org.

Voyages Through Time was developed by the SETI Institute partnership with NASA Ames Research Center, the California Academy of Sciences, and San Francisco State University with major funding from the NSF (Grant IMD #9730693), NASA, Hewlett Packard Company, Foundation for Microbiology, SETI Institute, and Educate America. VTT was successfully field-tested in 24 states with students in more than 80 high school classrooms across the U.S.A.

ASSET is funded by the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), the SETI Institute, Lockheed Martin Corporation, SETI Institute and Educate America. Participating teachers are funded for travel and living expenses, materials, and subsequent outreach activities. NAI conducts collaborative research and education on the origin and evolution of life and the search for life beyond Earth. The SETI Institute is one of the sixteen institutions across the U.S. that comprises the NAI.

When are applications due? Applications are due February 15, 2008.

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