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NASA's Search for Habitable Environments:

Instilling Curiosity into Student Learning Through Observation and Critical Thinking

Educator Symposium and Field Trip

Sponsored by NASA’s Mars Program, Curiosity's CheMin Science Team, NASA SMD Science Education Collective, and the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration


Dates: June 19-23, 2017

Application Deadline: This event has been filled for this year!

Locations: Mars Space Flight Facility, School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ and geologic/astrobiological sites in No. AZ.

Cost: Transportation to and from Arizona State University, lodging and meals.

Recommended Grade Levels: Educators who work with Grades 5 and up

How do scientists search for habitable environments beyond Earth?  What makes an environment habitable? Are the criteria for life the same or different for life beyond Earth? The science of Astrobiology is at the forefront addressing these types of challenging questions – including where can life exist?

Currently, NASA’s Curiosity Rover is exploring Gale Crater on Mars to investigate a site that has a very interesting history that could include habitability!  Join the Mars Rover scientists as they lead a field experience to explore areas on Earth similar to environments on Mars.  Help expand your students’ understanding how science really works while exploring the intersections of biology, geology and chemistry and how they are essential to this fascinating search for life elsewhere. This 5-day, interdisciplinary, immersive experience includes:

  • NGSS Standards-aligned, hands-on, inquiry-based activities to enhance your programs;
  • 3.5 days on a truly “out-of-this-world” field trip to great sites:
    • Grand Canyon
    • Meteor Crater
    • Lowell Observatory
    • Sunset Crater Volcanic Area
    • Rover analog field sites. 

This Symposium and Field Trip will be led by NASA’s Curiosity Rover’s CheMin Science Team and NASA Education STEM Specialists.  See how the Next Generation Science Standards and teaching through Essential Questions can enhance your programming by understanding them through the lens of this field experience! Learn how to boost and instill curiosity into your learning spaces and programs by being immersed in the process of science. Gain understanding in the value of science observations and questioning from the NASA Science Team while visiting world-class sites! Participants will receive a certificate with a minimum of 45 professional development hours.  Some hiking will be required to participate in this field experience.


Day 1: Start at Arizona State University / Northern AZ

Day 2: Northern AZ

Day 3: Northern AZ

Day 4: Northern AZ / Arizona State University

Day 5: Arizona State University

Participants will be responsible for transportation to and from Arizona State University, any lodging and meals. Lodging rates are approximately ~ $150/night. We will help to connect people who are interested in sharing accommodations/costs. Transportation to and from the field sites will be covered.  Space is limited to 30 participants and will be available based on your application. Selected participants will be notified and will be given instructions about making reservations at the Symposium hotels.

Don't delay - Submit your application today!

Questions:  Please contact Sheri Klug Boonstra: sklug@asu.edu - (480) 215-0410