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Educator Resource: Curriculum Module

Perplexing Puddles

Can life be found nearly one-mile underground? If so, what does it look like and how does it survive in such an extreme environment? Might biologists be on the trail of biologic dark matter?
High School
Time required
Minimum of six 55-minute sessions

Students consider what attributes define life, and then use those ideas to hypothesize what life nearly one mile underground might be like, if it exists. Students gather information about the microenvironments in Sanford Underground Research Facility and consider the likelihood of life in such extreme conditions. Students learn about extremophiles, culture an everyday biofilm, and observe the biofilm to draw conclusions about the potential for life underground. 


Perplexing Puddles-- Life Underground

HS-LS2-2 Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.

HS-LS2-8 Evaluate the evidence for the role of group behavior on individual and species’ chances to survive and reproduce.