Life in the Universe

Explore life in extreme conditions – on Earth and beyond…

Project page

Our Place in Space


7-8 8-9 9-10 10-11


The solar system and beyond Sustainability and our future


Lesson plan


60 minutes

How do lifeforms survive in extreme conditions here on Earth – and what might we find living in the universe beyond our planet?

This free PDF lesson plan provides an overview of lifeforms who live and thrive in extreme environments: such as tardigrades, ‘water bears’ who measure just 0.5mm when fully grown. The lesson also explores such unusual places as the Atacama Desert, which has a similar environment to Mars – and considers how we could use technology to find life elsewhere in the universe.

The PDF features illustrations by Oliver Jeffers, the acclaimed children’s author and artist, and contains several films that introduce key topics. The lesson plan contains plenty of prompts for discussions and creative activities inspired by these themes – making a film, creating an e-book, designing a robotic space probe and more.

Lesson Plan

Curriculum links

Science: Working Scientifically, Earth & Space Y5.
Key Stage: KS2

Northern Ireland:
The World Around Us: Place – Our Place in the Universe
Key Stage: KS2

Sciences: Planet Earth – Space
Level: Second Level

Science and Technology: Being Curious, Matter.
Progression Step: PS3