2010 Annual Science Report

Carnegie Institution of Washington Reporting  |  SEP 2009 – AUG 2010

EPO Activity: Student-Teacher Astrobiology Researchers (STARS)

Project Progress

In summer 2010, one science teacher from a local high school and 11 rising high school seniors formed a team to conduct authentic scientific research on the question ‘What Organisms are Living in Extreme Environments Around Me?’ The team met daily with Carnegie scientists over 2 weeks where they were introduced to the field of astrobiology, learned how to plan an expedition and to collect samples aseptically, how to design an investigation, the basics of microbiology, how to manage data and much more. The teacher/student team then returned to their high school laboratory for 4 additional weeks to conduct literature searches, establish research questions, devise protocols and collect/analyse specimens. During this process, the STARs collaborated with Carnegie researchers via video conferencing as they applied their protocols to the samples collected, isolated and identified microorganisms, created data bases and analyzed results. This research experience culminated in a presentation of results to an audience of peers (including Carnegie scientists). The teacher is now applying the skills learned to guide other students to conduct original research for senior projects.