Life at the Limits: Earth, Mars, and Beyond is a NASA-sponsored field-based workshop for science educators. It will provide you with hands-on, real-world experience and classroom materials to enhance your teaching about space science, with an emphasis on astrobiology - the search for extraterrestrial life.

We will visit field sites in Nevada and California to explore some extreme geological and chemical conditions in which life on Earth can thrive, and we will explore their ecosystems. In the classroom at the University of Nevada-Reno, we will connect field observations with the search for life in our Solar System. What does life need to survive? Where might these conditions exist in our Solar System? Beyond our Solar System? How might we detect the necessary conditions and possible life? In the field and classroom, you will work directly with astrobiologists and planetary scientists. Classroom time will include presentations, discussion, and lab work. You will undertake proven, hands-on, standards-based classroom and laboratory activities that can be transferred directly to your students.

Our field/classroom format will give you the personal experience and the knowledge base to teach about Mars and other planets in new, effective ways. See for yourself — Explore the Web sites of our last two workshops: Floods and Flows: Exploring Mars Geology on Earth, and The Great Desert: Geology and Life on Mars and in the Southwest.

  Sunday, 10 July (arrive in Reno, Nevada) to Sunday, 17 July (depart Reno, Nevada) 2005.

  Aimed primarily for middle and high school science teachers! Others welcome, including pre-service teachers, informal educators, education specialists, early college instructors, and junior college instructors.

  Experience the science first-hand! Gain insights into how science works — and how you can engage your students in exploration.

Explore science content with the scientists! Drs. Allan Treiman and Walter Kiefer, scientists from the Lunar and Planetary Institute, Dr. Ferran Garcia-Pichel, a microbial ecologist with Arizona State University, and Dr. Tori Hoehler, an Astrobiologist with NASA Ames Research Center will be there in the field, lab, and classroom.

Invigorate your classroom curriculum! Participants from previous workshops have been enthusiastic about the workshop and materials. Most teachers report that their curriculum is energized with new ideas, activities, materials, and images.

Participants will receive 60 hours of professional development credit.


Life at the Limits: Earth, Mars, and Beyond will be based at the University of Nevada in Reno.

Sunday, July 10 Arrive Reno, Nevada

Monday, July 11 Introductions and overview of the geology and ecosystems to be investigated. Visit by bus a nearby hypersaline environment to make observations and collect samples.

Tuesday, July 12 Examine samples in the classroom and make connections for students. Discuss conditions for life on other planets. Travel to the Mono Lake, California area by bus for two days of field work. Accommodations on Tuesday and Wednesday will be in the Mono Lake area.

Wednesday and Thursday, July 13 and 14 Visit several field sites by bus in the Mono Lake / Yosemite region to examine and sample different extreme environments in which life occurs. Explore the volcanic setting of the region and its influence on the environmental conditions. Return to University of Nevada - Reno by the end of Thursday.

Friday and Saturday, July 15 and 16 Examine samples in the classroom setting at the University of Nevada - Reno. Explore conditions on other planets within and beyond our Solar System that might be appropriate for life as we know it. Learn about present and future NASA missions that are investigating life on other planets. Draw connections to student exercises and understanding. Following an evaluation, the workshop will close by 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.

Note:  "Extreme Conditions" means extreme for humans! Field studies will include short hikes in very hot weather, with bright sun and (possibly) high humidity. One stop will include a short walk at elevation, near 10,000 feet. Participants must be in good physical condition and must be prepared to participate under these conditions.

  Use the electronic application form to apply for Life at the Limits: Earth, Mars, and Beyond.

Registration is limited to 30 teachers. Applications are due on April 6, 2005. Participants will be notified of their acceptance by April 8, 2005. A credit card or check deposit of $100 is due at the time of application. The deposit will be returned to non-selected applicants. The deposit will not be returned to accepted applicants and will be put toward the registration fee.

The registration fee will be $600.00 per person and is due within two weeks of acceptance. Registration includes transportation during the workshop, lodging (double occupancy), breakfast and lunches, and classroom materials.

Participants are responsible for travel to and from the workshop and for snacks and dinner.

Assistance in funding participation can be sought from school districts, professional development organizations, local private cooperations, NASA's Space Grant Consortium, and members of NASA's Office of Space Science Support Network in your region. A limited number of registration awards are available through the Lunar and Planetary Institute. These awards will be based on the combined merit of the dissemination plan described in the application and financial need. Attendees of previous workshops also are eligible for awards, but they must demonstrate how they have implemented their workshop experiences in the classroom and disseminated the information to their colleagues.

  For further information regarding the workshop, please contact

Ms. Meredith Higbie
Fieldtrip and Workshop Coordinator
Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Blvd.
Houston TX 77058-1113
Phone:  281-486-2175
E-mail:  higbie@lpi.usra.edu

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