Principal Investigator: Dan Barstow

Funders: National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation

Why afterschool? Why astrobiology?

The Astrobiology Afterschool Instructor's Guide has been designed to meet the unique needs of afterschool students. Astrobiology Afterschool engages learners in the fascinating study of the possibilities of life elsewhere in the universe.

Download: PDF of the full Astrobiology Afterschool curriculum

The Astrobiology Afterschool curriculum offers a hands-on and minds-on exploration of life and how it might exist on other planets. Learners consider what is life, what organisms need to survive, and how life adapts to extreme conditions on Earth. Students learn the environments of planets in the solar system and how life might adapt to them. They conclude by comparing Earth to Mars and investigating the rigors of sending a manned mission to the red planet.

Astrobiology Afterschool is richly multi-disciplinary. Topics include:

  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Astronomy
  • Geology
  • Enginering and Rocketry


Ideal for afterschool settings, this curriculum offers the content, skill-building and problem-solving also appropriate for formal classrooms. Each activity is described for the instructor with concept points, materials, preparation, presentation, and directions for implementing the activity, and a closing section or extensions.

Most of the activities and concepts presented in this Instructor’s Guide are based on Astrobiology: An Integrated Science Approach, a high-school textbook developed by TERC.