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Grade Level: 9-12
Science Education Standards: Standard C3:
Regulation and Behavior
- All organisms must be able to obtain and use resources, grow, reproduce and maintain stable internal conditions while living in a constantly changing external environment.
Diversity and Adaptations of Organisms
- Millions of species of animals, plants and microorganisms are alive today. Although different species might look dissimilar, the unity among organisms becomes apparent from an analysis of internal structures, the similarity of their chemical processes and the evidence of common ancestry.
Short Description: Once scientists have determined where they want to look for life in the solar system, the next step is to figure out how it is to be done. In this lesson, students first create an operational definition of life, and put it to the test by observing a mystery object. They then define and conduct an experiment, modeled after the life science experiments performed by the Viking Landers on the surface of Mars, to determine if they have discovered life forms in simulated Martian soil samples. The experiment is a simple but dramatic model exploring the differences between chemical and biochemical reaction -- which is key to revealing the presence of life.
Source: MESSENGER Education