​NGSS Lesson Planning Template​[AL1] [Ma2

Grade/ Grade Band​: 3-5​th Topic:​ Is It Living? Lesson #​ ​__6__​ in a series
grade (Astrobiology) of ​_7___​ lessons

Brief Lesson Description​: Mission crew will need to sustain themselves when they land on
Mars. This lesson helps students think about how to support life and deal with misconceptions
about what is living and what is not living.

Performance Expectation(s):
4-LS1-1 Construct an argument that plants and animals have internal and external
structures that function to support survival, growth, behavior, and reproduction.

4-LS1-2 Use a model to describe that animals receive different types of information
through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the
information in different ways.

Specific Learning Outcomes: Students will engage in a field research study to
determine the conditions for supporting life on Mars. Based on observations,
categorizations, and evaluations about Earth conditions, students will begin a
narrative about how to support the Mars mission crew once they get established on
the surface.

Lesson Level Narrative

Now that we are on the surface of Mars, it is time to transform the surface so that is can
support life. Your task is to figure out what on Mars needs to be transformed, what about
Mars makes it inhospitable to life currently, and how can we change it? You will construct the
criteria for supporting life based on observations that you have made about planet Earth.
Science & Engineering Disciplinary Core Ideas: Crosscutting Concepts: ​
Practices: LS1.A Structure and Function Systems and System models
Developing and Using · Plants and animals · A system can be
Models to test interactions have both internal and described in terms of its
concerning the support of external structures that serve components and their
life on Mars. various functions in growth, interactions​[AL3]
survival, behavior, and
Engaging in Argumentation reproduction.
from Evidence ·
· Students will
construct an argument
based on their observations
about what is living and
what is not living. They will
come up with the best
criteria for supporting life on

Possible Preconceptions/Misconceptions:
Students will need to know that the atmosphere on Mars is thin and cannot currently support
life on the surface. In addition, it is very cold, it has a carbon dioxide based atmosphere, and
it has a source of water (which is extremely important). Students will need to have this
discussion with you about what can happen on the surface to help transform the surface to
support Earth-based life. So, the mission crew would need breathable air (they would need to
use the water to support plant life, because plants make O2 as a byproduct of
Preconceptions of students may include seeing food as substances (water, air, minerals, etc.)
that organisms take in directly from their environment [Anderson, C., Sheldon, T., Dubay, J.
(1990). The effects of instruction on college nonmajors' conceptions of respiration and
photosynthesis. ​Journal of Research in Science Teaching​, 27, 761-776]. Students may also think
that food is a requirement for growth, rather than a source of matter for growth. They have
little knowledge about food being transformed and made part of organism.

Teacher does: Students do:

ENGAGE ​(Christine)​: Opening Activity – Access Prior Learning / Stimulate Interest /
Generate Questions:
O.k. engineers and scientists, we have successfully launched, landed and built our
Rover to explore the surface of Mars. We will now explore the science of Astrobiology.
We know what life is like on Earth, so now we must find out what it would take to have
Life on Mars. The purpose of our Rover right now is to find if that life can be
sustainable ( can humans and/or plants live here?) and what we must look for that will
Show evidence of that:
-How many of you know what that term means? Astrobiology
-What type of samples would you look for on Mars? (What would you collect?)
-Where would you begin to look?
-Do you think we will find traces of evidence that there was water on Mars?
-If we do, how will we go about testing that sample?
Keep in mind that the atmosphere is much thinner than Earth’s, and the temperature
Is much colder. Now I will let Kabir further explore with you what our objective will be.
Dormant​: suspension of activity ( like staying asleep).
Astrobiology: ​the study of the origin evolution,distribution and future of life in the
Universe: extraterrestrial life and life on Earth.
Habitat:​ ​a place or environment where a plant or animal naturally or normally lives.
Sustain​:​ to give support or relief
Adapt:​ to make fit by modification.
Microscopic life:​ very small or very fine specimen without detection of a microscope.
Example: algae: plant or plant-like organism; bacteria: a small mass of living
That cause disease.
Hydrothermal vents: ​a fissure in the ocean floor that emits super-heated mineral-rich
Water. ( Also known as underwater volcanoes).
EXPLORE ​(Kabir)​: Lesson Description – What should the teachers ask and do? What
will the students do?

Will have discussion with students about what constitutes Life, including herediary material,
catabolism, anabolism, gas exchange, move, response to stimuli and reproduction.

responsiveness to the environment;
growth and change;
ability to reproduce;
have a metabolism and breathe;
maintain homeostasis;
being made of cells; and.
passing traits onto offspring

We will then discuss how all of the characteristics of life must be met.

Then the activity will be introduced with the 3 cups with different substances inside. How will
we detect life? Does a chemical reaction that is observed mean that life certainly exists?

EXPLAIN ​(Jenna)​: Concepts Explained and Vocabulary Defined:

*In this portion i will explain the ​worksheet​ (only) that the students will be working on
will doing the lab*
​ *Explain* -> ​verbal portion can include things like what you see, smell, touch. Draw
what you see in the circles below
​After I’m done explaining​:
​*Now for your materials, I ask you all to turn to my friends Christine and Kav*

*I will also be making a chart for student information and filling it out after they
complete the portion with the sand*
​*Hand off to Katty after the chart is complete*


Dormant​: lack or delay of activity.
Astrobiology:​ ​the study of the origin evolution, distribution and future of life
Habitat:​ ​a place or environment where a plant or animal normally lives.
Sustain​:​ to give support or relief
Adapt:​ to make fit by change.
ELABORATE ​(Katty)​: Applications and Extensions:
I will give a sample of soil to the students. I will then have the cups get filled with water. I will
ask the students to check if they notice any differences in the soil (smell, critter, etc)

EVALUATE ​(Rafeka)​:

Formative Monitoring (Questioning / Discussion):
What knowledge did you gain by doing this experiment?
-Do you find somes of evidence from the sample?
- Did you see any difference from three tested sample?

Summative Assessment (Quiz / Project / Report):
Rafeka : ask students to tell you in their own words what are the criteria for life

you learn from Jenna vocabulary:

Astrobiology : we know earth have existence of living organisms but you know may be
planets has living organisms.
Habitat : ​The area or natural environment in which an organism or population normally lives.
Sustain: Environmental Science. the quality of not being harmful to the environment or
depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.

Elaborate Further / Reflect: Enrichment:

Comments from Dr. Linton:

[AL1]​Possible Journal Entries:

Required: Candidates need to make a connection to their content courses (biology, chemistry,
and geo). This does not have to be related to the lesson, but encourage them to use their
imagination to make a connection. This will be easy for the geo students, this might be harder
for the bio and chem folks.
My Science Story Spill can talk about how they can relate ANYTHING to what they are learning
in the content based courses or in the NASA course.

Remember that they need at least one page of reflection from this lesson/learning experience.

lesson considers systems in terms of an individual organisms and of an environmental
system. Students will likely connect living to animals. Remind students that plants, fungi,
bacteria will also be a part of the system.