From Local to Extreme Environments (FLEXE)

Welcome to FLEXE - From Local to Extreme Environments!


FLEXE Project image

The GLOBE FLEXE Project is one of four Earth System Science Projects (ESSPs) funded by NASA and NSF to develop hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science activities for The GLOBE Program. FLEXE (From Local to Extreme Environments) helps students gain an understanding of local and extreme environments, the interconnected Earth system and the process and nature of science. Through FLEXE, students investigate questions such as: 

  • What does it take to flourish along a mid-ocean spreading center 2500 meters below sea level?
  • How do scientists study such remote environments?
  • How is my local environment similar to (or different from) the deep-sea extreme environment?

Why study the deep-sea environment?

Characterized by crushing pressure, near freezing temperatures and no light, the deep sea is the largest environment on Earth. Although conditions are harsh, it is an environment teeming with life. Hot hydrothermal vents and cold hydrocarbon seeps found on the seafloor host lush communities of animals. Since the discovery of seafloor vents in the 1970's, scientists from a variety of disciplines have been conducting investigations to learn more about how they function.

From Local to Extreme Environments (FLEXE) is a GLOBE project led by science educators and researchers at Pennsylvania State University in partnership with Ridge 2000 and InterRIDGE scientists. Through comparative protocols and online interactions with project scientists, FLEXE students collect data from their local environment and compare it with data from an extreme deep-sea environment. Scientists guide students in their analysis of deep-sea data through the on-line FLEXE Forum. Scientific reporting, peer review, and communication with scientists at sea during a research cruise cap the students' experience.

Thank You!

The FLEXE team extends a heartfelt "Thank You!" to all GLOBE students and teachers who participated in the FLEXE pilots from 2007-2010, providing us with invaluable feedback, and a special "Thank you!" to the GLOBE Country Coordinators and Partners who made it possible to bring FLEXE into their GLOBE schools. We very much enjoyed working with you and greatly appreciate all that you have done.