Life in the Universe

  • Recommended Grade Level:  6-8     
  • Estimated Time:  10 forty-five minute sessions

Life in the Universe is a free and innovative 10-day curriculum that provides interactive videos, hands-on activities, lesson plans, and student worksheets to engage students in the science and social implications of the search for extraterrestrial life in the universe. The curriculum can be used for classroom instruction or during out-of-school programs.

The program covers the objects within our solar system; distance and size scales within the universe; planetary conditions necessary to support life; history of the search for exoplanets; and methods for searching for exoplanets (with a focus on the Transit Method). Join us as we use WorldWide Telescope to journey around the solar system in search of life in the universe!

Comprehensive Teacher's Guide

This Teacher's Guide details all the necessary materials for each day of the 10-day Life in the Universe curriculum. You will find included: daily lesson plans; student activity sheets; classroom activities; and (on most days) interactive instructional videos.

Life in the Universe | Teacher's Guide  (pdf)

Students using WWT within LITU
Students making models within LITU

Activity Sheets

In this section you'll find an Activity Packet that contains all the Activity Sheets that your students will need for this curriculum.

Activity Packet  (google doc)

Activity Packet  (word .docx)

Day-by-day WorldWide Telescope tour files

For session 1-4, we provide instructional WorldWide Telescope (WWT) tours (to run either on a classroom projector or on individual student computers). For sessions 5-10, groups of students use WWT tours as a resource as they build their capstone presentations.

How do I run a WWT tour on my Windows computer?

You will need to download WorldWide Telescope to your Windows computer to run a WWT tour file.

  1. Download WWT (for free) from
  2. Download the day-by-day LITU WorldWide Telescope tour files (.wtt) above.
  3. Double-click the .wtt file to open and run a LITU tour.

Day-by-day slide deck

Provided below are slideshows that you can use to guide students through each day's lesson.

Slide Deck (google slides)
Slide Deck (powerpoint)

Capstone Project Template

Students should use the slideshow template provided here in order to build a slideshow presentation for their Capstone Project.

Capstone Project Template (google slides)

Video Resources

Here are two playlists of useful videos while implementing the LITU curriculum.

Sample Videos

A playlist of sample videos recorded from the WWT tours provided within the LITU curriculum. There are 3 videos within the playlist. Click through to Youtube to access each video individually.


Video Resources

A playlist of video resources that students might find helpful for their capstone projects. There are 18 videos in the playlist. Click through to Youtube to access each video individually.