A science curriculum was created to enhance student awareness of Astrobiological research and to assess the effectiveness o f computers on learning. Three curricular units (water, microscopic life, hydrothermal vents) emphasize life's origins and the potential existence of life beyond Earth.
This study assessed the academic benefits of computers among Grade 4 students (n=49). The curricular material between test (computer use) and control groups differed only in student use o f computers (Internet. Excel, Kid Pix. and Powerpoint) for activities. All students’ scores improved from pre- to posttest
(t=l 7.4. p=0). Posttest scores did not differ between groups (t=0.54, p=0.59), suggesting the assessments’ inability to detect student computer skills and the variability in usefulness of different computer applications. Take-home projects involving Internet research resulted in higher scores among test group students (t=2.7, p=0.01). Test group students were on par with the control group for every assessment, and developed valuable skills in the process.