Lesson 1 – Introduction to extremophiles

Course:  Life Science, Integrated Science, STEM

Unit:  Ecological Networks Part 1- Network interactions


See Standards Addressed for all NGSS and WA State (Science, Math and Literacy).  In addition to the aligned objectives linked above, for this lesson, here is a breakdown of:

What Students Learn:

  • Extremophiles are organisms that live in harsh environments and are members of the part of the Archaea domain.

What Students Do:

  • Students research their own questions using provided Introduction to Extremophiles reading packet.









In this activity, the students will be introduced to the fascinating world of extremophiles. The students will brainstorm questions and research these unique organisms. In the following lesson, students will be presented with a real life example of an event that affected the Great Salt Lake ecosystem, the building of a causeway. Based on observations of this phenomenon, students will generate hypotheses about factors affecting the growth of one prominent extremophile organism in this ecosystem, Halobacterium. They will then think about how they could design an experiment to test their hypotheses. This will lead to the implementation of an experiment testing the affect of salinity on the growth of Halobacterium. In following lessons, the concept of networks will be expanded to include biological networks. Specifically, the students will be creating a network of the interactions existing in the Great Salt Lake ecosystem.