Life Underground is an interactive outreach experience for 7th and 8th grade classrooms being produced in collaboration with the NASA Astrobiology Institute at USC
. The goal of the project is to help students understand how the search for microscopic life at a range of subsurface conditions can impact our understanding of both terrestrial and extraterrestrial life. Students take the role of a young student investigating extreme subsurface environments. By allowing students to create experiments with virtual microbial life, the game reinforces their understanding of the scientific method. Ultimately, the Life Underground game’s relatable characters, engaging exploration, and sense of adventure will inspire players to explore STEM-based careers.
As the co-PI for the interactive component of the project, I am working with a team of game designers at the lab to develop and iterate the underlying design so that classroom use would align with the desired learning goals. The team also includes our partners at the Astrobiology Institute, middle school teachers and students.
This project is a work in progress. When it is complete, it will be released to classrooms with curriculum aligned to 7th and 8th grade Common Core science standards.