by Tina Hesman Saey
We've identified these texts as great options for text pairings based on similar themes, literary devices, topic, or writing style. Supplement your lesson with one or more of these options and challenge students to compare and contrast the texts. To assign a paired text, click on the text to go to its page and click the "Assign Text" button there.
Are Humans Really Headed To Mars Anytime Soon?
- Nell Greenfieldboyce
In "Are Humans Really Headed To Mars Anytime Soon?" various experts and stakeholders discuss the possibility that humans will venture to and colonize Mars in the near future.Pair “Are Humans Really Headed to Mars Anytime Soon?” with “Will We Know Alien Life When We See It?” and ask students to discuss the elements on Mars working against the possibility of humans inhabiting the planet anytime soon. How do these challenges support the idea in “Will We Know Alien Life When We See it?” that life on other planets may be unrecognizable to scientists on Earth. Is it possible for humans to successfully live on Mars if scientists cannot agree on criteria for life that goes beyond how it looks on Earth? Why or why not?
They're Made Out of Meat
- Terry Bisson
In “They’re Made Out of Meat,” two aliens have to decide if they want to interact with foreign beings that are made out of “meat.”Pair “They’re Made Out of Meat” with “Will We Know Alien Life When We See It?” to provide students with a short story about two aliens’ discovery of humans. Ask students to discuss why humans aren’t what the aliens expect. How does this compare to the discussion of possible alien life in “Will We Know Alien Life When We See It?” How do both texts explore the flexibility needed for defining life?
Any More Earths Out There?
- Vicki Oransky Wittenstein
In the informational text “Any More Earths Out There?” Vicki Oransky Wittenstein discusses how astronomers find planets outside of our solar system and whether or not they could support life.Pair “Any More Earths Out There?” with “Will We Know Alien Life When We See It?” and ask students why astronomers are looking at Earth-like planets for life. How does this compare to what astrobiologists focus on when looking for life on other planets? How do astronomers’ definition of “life” in “Any More Earths Out There?” limit the life forms they’re looking for?