Alien Life

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TES Teaching Resource of the Year - 2011

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Are we alone?

Lesson idea. This presentation looks at claims of alien encounters and at arguments on whether humanity is alone. It concludes with a probabilistic argument based on the Fermi paradox. This is lesson 6 of a series of 6 entitled Astronomy Master Class.

Teaching approach. This last of six presentations to recruit students for A level physics, is more light-hearted and simpler than the two previous resources. It considers the arguments around whether or not humanity is alone and includes an initial look at the bizarre nature of many of the claims of alien encounters - including a fictional one for good measure - before moving onto the more serious side of alien hunting. It concludes with a probabilistic argument based on the Fermi paradox. (edit)

Resource details
Title Alien Life
Topic Astronomy
Learning Objectives
  • Understanding that it is extremely unlikely that there is sentient life elsewhere in our solar system.
  • Appreciating that the majority of "encounters" are almost certainly not real and some of the psychological and physiological explanations for this.
  • Appreciating that microbial life may be much more common than sentient life, but is also much harder to find.
  • Understanding the SETI organisation and what it has found so far.
Format / structure

A 26 minute narrated screen cast which is part of the full, six hour 'Astronomy Master Class'. Also supplied as a Prezi and a Acrobat file should you wish to do the presentation yourself.

Subject
Age of students / grade


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