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Earth and Space Science

Create an alien project

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Cynthia Malcolmson Cynthia Malcolmson 2365 Points

I need to "create an alien" for my grad school science methods class. My alien needs to come from Saturn. I have boat loads of facts about Saturn but seen unable to get started creatively. Any ideas of how to get started would be most appreciated. Cindy

Cynthia Malcolmson Cynthia Malcolmson 2365 Points

Well, I took a huge creative leap and started my project - creating an alien from Saturn. Have never really thought outside of the box before.... This is what I have so far: Since Saturn has no surface I am making him be a legless creature that glides thru the atmosphere of Saturn on the strong wind currents. He naturally blends into the sulfur around him because he is yellow. He feeds on clouds of crystallized Ammonia and since he isn't a carbon life form, electric currents don't bother him, they actually give him energy. He breathes hydrogen and exhales the helium from the atmosphere. He is warm blooded to deal with the varying temperatures among the clouds. He has antennae to use radar to find mates. He has large eyes because it is darker on Saturn than Earth and he is in a colored atmosphere. Does this make any sense? Any suggestions appreciated. Thanks.

Betty Paulsell Betty Paulsell 48560 Points

I think your "alien" sounds great!! You have covered a lot of the aspects of Saturn. Are you drawing your alien also and does he have a name?

Christine Medaglia Christine 770 Points

Hi All, I was just browsing through the forums and stumbled upon this one. I am just finishing up a unit on the Solar System and I was looking for a culminating assignment that would be fun and interesting, yet utilize the info learned in the unit. I was thinking of using a project where the students researched myths and legends of the constellations, but my students are WAY more interested in the question, "Is there life on other planets?" I think it would be fun to assign the students a planet, and then make the create an "alien" from their planet. Thanks for the info! Can't wait to put this project together! Christine Medaglia

Jolene Wu Jolene Wu 510 Points

I'm so happy to have come across this forum topic! I'm planning on starting the Solar System unit shortly and this seems like a great idea for a culminating project. I agree with Tina about the importance of identifying misconceptions about our solar system and about what makes something "living". I'm wondering if a group discussion of conceptions about the solar system would be an appropriate way to introduce the unit. Student conceptions are crucial in informing ourselves as teachers of learner background and potential roadblocks in understanding rather abstract concepts. I'm also wondering if such a project should have two parts; one part for the planet research and the second part for the creative alien portion. I also like the idea of incorporating student's prior knowledge about life processes/animal biology. Such a project can encourage students to start thinking about how subject areas can be related to each other. My experience has been that high school students distinctly separate knowledge according to periods of the day and subject areas, which leads to difficulty in trying to build interdisciplinary connections.

Diane Ripollone Diane Ripollone 3170 Points

I just finished planets, but this is definitely an idea I'll have to work on for next year. ET is always a topic of discussion in my classes. Thanks for the great idea. Diane

Brandi Schonberg Brandi Schonberg 720 Points

What a great project! Space and earth are my favorite topics in middle school science, and I think I want to do this - maybe as an end of the year project!

Steve Kirsche Stephen Kirsche 9145 Points

This sounds like a fun project for just about any level student. A bit of scaffolding might be required for younger students, but they would love it.

Christine Medaglia Christine 770 Points

Hi, My plan is to start this project mid-week. After reading some of the previous comments, I think I have a better idea on how to present and guide this project. For starters, I think I will break the project into two parts, like Jolene recommended. The first part will focus on the students researching their assigned planet to get a good grasp of how their planet functions. The second part will be quick, but I think very important. We will review the characteristics that they need to create and justify in their alien. Specifically, what shape will their alien be and why? What will they eat and why? What color will they be and why? How do they move about their planet? How do they communicate? How do they see? etc... To better cement this connection, we will review these characteristics and how they relate to the atmosphere and features found on Earth. Students will be asked to think about why humans eat what we do, why we have the skin color we do, why our eyes function like they do, etc. I think this activity will help make the alien creation project less abstract. Lastly, the students will review their planetary research and begin creating their alien. For grading purposes, the students will need to submit their planetary research, a drawing of their alien, and justifications for the structure and functions of their alien. Crossing my fingers for a smooth project.... Thanks again for everyone's input!

Diane Ripollone Diane Ripollone 3170 Points

Christine, I like the way you are setting up this project. Is this for high school or middle school? Could you update your post when you finish to share how it went? Thanks Diane

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