Directions for teachers:

Have students read “Nobel Prize winners announced” (Readability: 10.3), in the print version of the magazine, for an overview of the 2019 Nobel Prizes. (If time permits, they can complete the related comprehension questions.) Let students pair up and choose to explore one of the discoveries or advances recognized with a 2019 Nobel Prizes. If you want to give students additional options, they could also use the Science News archive to explore winning discoveries or advances from previous years.

Once students decide on a prize-winning discovery or advance, they should read the more in-depth, online Science News article covering the related prize. Students will then use the discussion prompts below and the Science News archive, along with other resources as necessary, to research and develop a timeline of key events associated with the discovery or advance. Students will distill each important event into a tweet of 280 characters or less. If time permits, students could find a creative way to display their timelines in the classroom.

2019 Nobel Prize article options include:

Nobel Prize in chemistry: “The development of the lithium-ion battery has won the chemistry Nobel Prize” (Readability: 13.2)

Nobel Prize in physics: “Physics Nobel awarded for discoveries about the universe’s evolution and exoplanets” (Readability: 10.9)

Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine: “Discovery of how cells sense oxygen wins the 2019 medicine Nobel” (Readability: 11.7)

Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences: “Economics Nobel goes to poverty-fighting science” (Readability: 12.0)

Note to teachers: Example answers are given for lithium-ion batteries, which won the 2019 Nobel Prize in chemistry. But questions can be used for any current or previous Nobel Prize–winning advance or discovery.

1. First, create an event outlining the winning of the Nobel Prize for your timeline. The information below should be included.

Date: 2019
Tweet (include key players): John B. Goodenough, M. Stanley Whittingham and Akira Yoshino win the Nobel Prize in chemistry for their research on lithium-ion batteries.
#NobelPrizein(subject area): #NobelPrizeinchemistry
Resource(s) referenced:

2. Research the work completed by the scientist(s) who won the Nobel Prize. Create one or two events for each scientist that summarize his or her major contribution.

Scientist 1: M. Stanley Whittingham
Date: 1970s
Tweet (include key players): M. Stanley Whittingham creates the first lithium-ion battery by combining lithium as anode material with titanium disulfide as cathode material.
#(last name of scientist)buildingblock: #Whittinghambuildingblock
Resource(s) referenced:

Scientist 2 (if needed): John B. Goodenough
Date: 1970s–1980s
Tweet (include key players): John. B. Goodenough uses cobalt oxide instead of titanium disulfide as a cathode and doubles the voltage potential of the existing lithium-ion battery.
#(last name of scientist)buildingblock: #Goodenoughbuildingblock
Resource(s) referenced:

Scientist 3 (if needed): Akira Yoshino
Date: 1985
Tweet (include key players): Akira Yoshino uses petroleum coke as an anode and creates a safer and longer-lasting lithium-ion battery.
#(lastnameofscientist)buildingblock: #Yoshinobuildingblock
Resource(s) referenced:

3.  Research findings from other scientists or additional developments that advanced the work or might advance it in the future. Create at least two timeline events for these additional #buildingblocks.

Date: 1991
Tweet (include key players): Lithium-ion batteries are commercially available for the first time.
Resource(s) referenced:

Date: 2017
Tweet (include key players): Scientists at Stanford University test a way to add a flame retardant to lithium-ion batteries to make them safer while retaining their efficiency.
Resource(s) referenced:

4. Identify the earliest mention of the topic or concept that you think should be noted on your timeline. Create at least one event for this historical foundation.

Date: 1800
Tweet (include key players): Alessandro Volta invents the first version of an electric battery. This prototype was known as a “voltaic pile” and was made of zinc and silver disks separated by pieces of cloth soaked in brine.
Resource(s) referenced:

5. Make a list of the dates of your events and then think about the scale of your timeline. Does your timeline span decades, centuries or millennia? Are there any large chronological gaps? If so, research whether another development should be included as an additional event. Add it, if needed.

Our timeline covers decades of history.

Date: 1859
Tweet (include key players): A French physicist named Gaston Planté created the first rechargeable battery. Planté’s design contained a lead anode, a lead dioxide cathode and sulfuric acid as an electrolyte.  
#buildingblock or #historicalfoundation: #historicalfoundation
Resource(s) referenced:

6. Identify one example of impact that the Nobel Prizewinning discovery or advance has had on the world. Create an event for this impact. Then predict one future event that will occur based on the work and include it in your timeline.

Date: 1990–2019
Tweet (include key players): In part because they are portable and rechargeable, lithium-ion batteries become widespread, used in everyday objects such as cars, cell phones and computers.
Resource(s) referenced:

Date: 2020–2035
Tweet (include key players): An increased reliance on electric vehicles will heighten the demand for lightweight and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.
Resource(s) referenced:

7. If instructed by your teacher, determine how you would display your timeline to present this information to your class. Try to make the presentation creative and engaging. Then, build your timeline and prepare to share it.