LEGO® Life Forms - support for schoolkids
Calling all budding astrobiologists!
The LEGO Group and the Natural History Museum are challenging you to predict what life could look like in other parts of the universe.
Choose from four environments, each inspired by a real moon or exoplanet in our galaxy.
For schoolkids, we've also added examples of adaptations shown by plants and animals on Earth, plus information on how this activity links to the school curriculum.
Use your imagination to build your own LEGO® Life Form that could survive in each of the four environments. You'll need to think carefully about what adaptations life might need to survive in those conditions. You can use any LEGO bricks or materials you have around the house.
Environment one: frozen oceans
Frozen oceans are inspired by Jupiter's moon Europa. We know that this moon is covered in ice with deep oceans beneath. Many scientists think that these oceans could be a fantastic place for life to exist elsewhere in our solar system.
Conditions: icy, cold with deep dark water
Environment two: twilight rocky mountains
Twilight rocky mountains is inspired by exoplanet TRAPPIST-1e. Scientists think that this exoplanet might be like Earth, with a rocky surface and liquid water. However, it is thought that this exoplanet does not rotate like Earth. This means there would be no day and night, and sunlight would be red!
For this environment, imagine a rocky mountain where one side is always in the dark shadows and one side is always in red twilight. The darker it is, the cooler it might be, and it could be wet too.
Conditions: always dark, wet, and rocky
Environment three: ultraviolet desert
Ultraviolet desert is inspired by the Proxima Centauri b exoplanet.
Imagine a desert-like, sandy environment. Since this planet is very close to its star, we predict there might be lots of ultraviolet (UV) light and harmful X-rays. UV rays give us sunburn on Earth, so you can imagine what this might be like from a much closer star.
Any life here would need to be able to protect itself from these rays.
Conditions: sandy and dry with harmful UV rays
Environment four: volcanoes and ash
Volcanoes and ash is inspired by Jupiter's moon Io. This moon has over 400 volcanoes on its surface but is surprisingly cold with unusual snowfields and a surface temperature of -130 degrees Celsius.
This environment would be very hot close to the volcanoes and very cold away from them, with lots of volcanic ash making it dark.
Scientists have observed an aurora on this moon, like Earth's northern (aurora borealis) and southern (aurora australis) lights, so there might be beautiful colours dancing across the sky.
Conditions: extremely hot and cold, ashy, dry
Help with getting started
Adaptations are a feature of a living thing that improves its chances of survival.
When building your lifeform, think about what adaptations it might need to survive in its environment.
- How might your life form move?
- How could your life form sense the world around it?
- How might your life form grow?
- How might your life form get energy?
- How would your life form stay warm/cool?
In the video below, you can find out about adaptations of animals and plants on Earth as Museum staff talk about their favourite specimen. Listen carefully and see if you can remember the features of the different living things that help them to survive.