In a “March Madness” game of survival of the fittest, will your microbe and its genes survive the test of changing conditions on Planet Earth and beyond? Students choose genes from a “toolbox” and pit their microbe against their classmates’, using critical thinking and argument writing to determine the microbe with the best chance of success. Based on PolarTREC
Analogs are used in science investigations to better understand systems we can’t access ourselves. In this lesson, students explore the Dry Valleys of Antarctica to better understand microbial communities on early Earth and what might have been possible on ancient Mars. Students will examine photographs, written descriptions, and artistic renderings of early Earth, the Dry Valley lakes, and
The report is written by teacher participants upon return from their field expedition portion of the PolarTREC program. It summarizes the benefit of the expedition to the teacher, a description of activities, and a summary of how teachers plan to link this experience in classrooms and communities. This is a public document that will be posted in teacher portfolios and
This article summarizes the research of cyanobacterial mats in Lake Joyce during the 2014 field season. It describes the importance of the mats to better understand Earth history and understanding of other planetary systems. Additionally, it describes the sediment trap experiement that will conclude in the next field season.
On 6 October 2014, Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, CA interviewed Dawn Sumner, Tyler Mackey and Lucy Coleman on connections between the research in Lake Joyce, Antarctica, and work by the Mars Curiosity rover. To listen to the interview, click here.
PolarTREC teacher Michael League and researchers at the University of Delaware are examining tiny worms that inhabit the frigid sea off Antarctica to learn not only how these organisms adapt to the severe cold, but how they will survive as ocean temperatures increase. This article from the University of Delaware website outlines the research being undertaken to determine whether the