National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Properties of Living Things: Fingerprints of Life

This web seminar for teachers of grades 5–8 included an inquiry-based lesson introducing life forms living in extreme environments. The seminar featured the “It’s Just Right” activity, an experiment to determine a range of tolerance for temperature extremes in samples of baker’s yeast. During the seminar educators saw how temperature is related to the growth and survival of organisms. They also explored a number of online resources for astrobiology lessons focused on related topics, such as the diverse conditions where life can be found on Earth.


This web seminar is part of a series of electronic professional development experiences sponsored by the NASA Explorer Schools (NES) project. NASA Explorer Schools invests in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics educators to inspire and engage a whole generation of future scientists, engineers and technicians that NASA needs to continue our journey. NES gives educators of grades 4-12 free access to NASA’s people, missions, research, and facilities. We take the work out of searching through thousands of materials on the NASA website and provide a comprehensive set of teaching materials for dozens of STEM concepts. For additional information about the NASA Explorer Schools project, visit

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