Earth and Space Sciences in New Zealand ESS

In New Zealand, Earth and Space Science (ESS) is a new subject based on the Planet Earth and Beyond strand of the New Zealand curriculum (NZC) with astrobiology links.

ESS is assessed by standards derived from levels 6, 7 and 8 of the NZC.

All Level 1 ESS standards are part of the Science matrix, internally assessed and worth 4 credits each. They are numbered AS 1.13 – 1.16. Students do not need Level 1 ESS standards to take Levels 2 and 3 ESS, although courses assessed by these standards would give valuable background.

Download the ESS matrix: here.

Many of the new ESS standards have considerable flexibility and could assess courses in astronomical, geological, marine and/or atmospheric contexts. Full year courses in Earth and Space Science, Earth Science, Astronomy, Marine Science, and Antarctic studies could be assessed. Standards could be included from other sciences as well.

Download ideas for courses using ESS standards as assessments: here.

 KiwiSpace Resources

Mars Analogue Missions

Kiwi Space organised analogue missions to the Mars Desert Research station in Utah USA. During and after the missions, resources for classrooms have been produced. You can access these here KiwiMars, TasMars and MDRSWSW 2013.

Space Seeds – with the Japanese Space Agency

Space Seeds was a project initiated by the Japanese Space Agency that looked at the behaviour of seed in microgravity. Students from New Zealand had the chance to grow their seeds in tandem with the astronauts on the International Space Station and then compare results.

NASA Astrobiology Institute Resources for Astrobiology

The Astrobiology Institute of NASA has great resources for teaching astrobiology in the classroom.  We compiled some of them here but you can find many more on their website.

Exoplanet Education Guide

Artist's conception of an exoplanet. Art by Karen Teramura.


Two cards from the activity. Credit: ASU

 Big Picture Science Radio Show

  • with Seth Shostak

Seth Shostak is a famous astronomer and science communicator who is best known for taking the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) to a new level: science.

‘In addition, Seth is keen on outreach activities: interesting the public – and especially young people – in science in general, and astrobiology in particular. He’s co-authored a college textbook on astrobiology, and has written three trade books on SETI. In addition, he’s published more than 400 popular articles on science — including regular contributions to both the Huffington Post and Discover Magazine blogs — gives many dozens of talks annually, and is the host of the SETI Institute’s weekly science radio show, “Big Picture Science.” ‘

 Astrobiology Math

If you have wondered what Astrobiology and Mathematics have in common and how to use that in your class room, well… keep reading on this link below.

Life on Earth….and Elsewhere?

This is a great workbook for classrooms and we will receive some hard copies of it from NAI in the near future alongside with a poster for your classroom. Please contact us if you wish to receive a hard copy of the booklet and poster.

European Space Agency Education resources

Explore Saturn and Titan at school

Lunar and Planetary institute

Mars Workshop for teachers

The materials, including presentations, used during the July 8-11 high school teacher workshop are now available on the LPI website at .
Please feel free to share this link with teachers you think may be



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