Educator Resource Kit
Nearly 65 million years ago, the “KT event” changed life on Earth forever.

Many researchers believe that an asteroid or a comet crashed into Earth, filling the skies around the globe with dust. Darkness reigned. Temperatures dropped. Acid rain fell. Tsunamis were generated, inundating vast areas of land with water.

The “KT event” spanned nearly 10,000 years, triggering the extinctions of thousands of species, (including dinosaurs and plant life). Could it happen again?

“EXTINCTION!” illustrates several ways that it can. Through graphic representations, timelines and interviews with leading scientists, “EXTINCTION!” explores the KT event and the factors that cause extinctions even today.

Narrated by Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actor William Shatner, “EXTINCTION!” effectively weaves entertainment into its educational message, featuring a reenactment of the KT event that engages the senses on many levels.

“EXTINCTION!” also documents other forces that can impact life on Earth catastrophically. A huge volcanic eruption could create massive ash clouds covering land masses. A massive star could explode in space, with the resulting hypernova sending deadly gamma radiation toward Earth. A major shift in Earth’s magnetic fields could reduce the planet’s shield against cosmic radiation. Humans play a role, too: Our choices affect the delicate balance of life on Earth.

In laboratories and field sites, scientists from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and elsewhere study geologic and paleontologic evidence to learn when and why species become extinct. They study the cosmos to learn about planets and stars. “EXTINCTION!” uses their findings as a strong foundation for its message. UNC-CH faculty members Patricia Gensel, Allen Glazner and Daniel Reichart appear in “EXTINCTION!” along with University of Chicago faculty member Paul Sereno.

“EXTINCTION!” extends the Center’s tradition of excellence in educational programming. Its script, written by Will Osborne (author of the Center’s popular “Magic Tree House® Space Mission” show), reflects science objectives outlined in North Carolina’s Standard Course of Study for middle school and high school students. The show also encourages critical thinking about the degree of control humans have in preventing the loss of species on Earth.

Age recommendation

The animations, special effects and story are best suited for students at least 12. The show is also one of the best choices for adults visiting the planetarium.

Seasonal schedules

Visiting soon? Check out Morehead's interactive calendar to see what's happening when you'll be here. Just click the date — the interactive calendar is typically up-to-date within one week of today.

Please note that Morehead does not offer all of its shows every day and that exhibits may be closed for maintenance or for classes during some hours.

If you're planning to visit several weeks from today, check out our current schedule of public shows to plan your trip and check the interactive calendar just before your visit to learn about any schedule updates.

Please note that seasonal schedules change four times each year (spring, summer, fall and holiday), and some shows are not offered during every schedule.

School shows

In addition to its public shows, Morehead offers shows during the week especially for school classes and other field trip groups. These school shows do not appear on the seasonal schedule but do appear on Morehead's daily calendar.

If seats are available, the public may purchase tickets to school shows.

However, school groups with reserved seating have first priority on any remaining seats (for example, if extra chaperons attend), so Morehead cannot guarantee that public seats will be available for school shows.


Read about the people who played important roles in the making of "Extinction!"