Education and Outreach

Teachers from Around the World Examine Life in Extreme Environments

By Keith Cowing
November 10, 2009

This summer, sixteen teachers from around the world convened with NAI’s team at Montana State University for a week-long class called “Examining Life in Extreme Environments: Insights into Early Earth and Beyond.” Students in the course gained an understanding of the relation of extreme environments to early Earth, learned about the latest research conducted in these areas, and worked on how to teach and discuss these topics within their own classrooms.

Part of the class included a field trip to Yellowstone National Park in which the teachers sampled and characterized extreme environments. Joe Deluca, who teaches in the Netherlands, was amazed by Yellowstone and was most surprised by “how drastically and quickly the changes in microbe gradients were in the thermal features.” Paula Wang, a teacher from Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. called the class “fun, convenient, and practical.”

The class was offered by MSU as part of the Master of Science in Science Education Program (MSSE) and is only one of the many MSSE courses that involve field work in Yellowstone and the surrounding areas. The course provided graduate credit in chemistry and/or biology for professional development purposes. This interdisciplinary course featured NAI scientists John Peters, PI of the NAI MSU team, and John Priscu, professor of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences and member of the NAI Icy Worlds team. More information about MSU’s Astrobiology Biogeocatalysis Research Center can be found at and the MSSE program can be found at [Source: NAI Newsletter]

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻