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Covering the Eclipse

On April 8, 2024, a total solar eclipse will be visible in the contiguous United States. The next total eclipse visible in the contiguous United States will be 20 years later, in 2044. In this activity, students will create a video that informs the public about this rare celestial event and provides guidelines about how to have the best viewing experience.

Make a Möbius Strip and A Sweaty Plant Adaptation

Check out recent articles from the December 2 issue of Science News to have students navigate some unexpected turns in the mathematics of a Möbius strip and apply their knowledge of electrostatic attraction forces to explore a chemical adaptation of desert plant.

Make a Möbius strip

A surprise twist brings a Möbius strip mystery to an end. So simple in structure yet so perplexing a puzzle, the Möbius strip's twisted loop grants some unexpected turns. Learn about what a Möbius strip is by constructing them from paper and tape, then use these deceptively simple structures to challenge intuitive judgments about their construction ratio limits.

A sweaty plant adaptation

Sweating has a surprising purpose for one desert plant. Students will learn about a chemical adaptation that allows the plant to collect moisture in an arid environment. They’ll answer questions about using videos to collect data and then draw molecular diagrams that illustrate the plant’s adaptation.

Analyzing Images and an Exoplanet Collision Afterglow

Use news articles from the November 18 Science News issue to show students an animation of an exoplanet collision along with infrared and visible light graphs to have them assess related scientific claims and get students wondering about the 2023 Nikon Small World photo contest winner or any scientific image from the article archive.

Observing and analyzing an image

Use this short bellringer to guide students through observing details of a scientific image taken from Science News or Science News Explores articles. Students will consider the scientific process or concept behind the image. Student questions are framed around the “What I See” and “What It Means” technique.

When worlds collide

Astronomers just spotted a big explosion. Scientists studied this glowing afterburn of pulverized planets — comparing infrared and visible light — to peel back layers of space and time. They also answered questions about how probability can be used to draw conclusions and assess scientific claims.

Pink diamonds and Demystifying myths with data

Integrate recent articles from the November 4 Science News issue to have students explore how scientific inquiry and data can help size up the probability behind myths and how Earth’s tectonic plate history may explain the structure and location of pink diamonds today.

Pink diamonds

Colliding tectonic plates might make your diamond blush. Learn how differences in crystal structure give rise to distinctive physical differences, such as the rare pink diamonds of Western Australia. Answer questions about the value of skepticism in science and discuss how uncovering the history of our planet can give us a treasure-hunting lead.

Demystifying myths with data

Data science can help size up the probability behind myths, including that of the Loch Ness Monster. Use the example from the article to guide students through using the scientific method to investigate myths and have them think of an idea for a research study that could be done on a myth of their choice.

Social sharing

Working in a social group provides a variety of benefits, including the ability to learn from others and share resources. However, disadvantages can also come with working in a social group. In this activity, students will brainstorm and discuss the pros and cons of social behaviors in a variety of realistic situations. After considering how disturbances affect social behaviors, students will write a paper that evaluates the relationship between disturbances, social behaviors, and population distributions.

Snake Gulps and Chromosome Sequencing

Engage students with news articles from the October 7 & 21, 2023 double issue about record-breaking snake gulp proportions and recent studies that fully sequenced Y chromosomes for the first time and teach about relative values vs. absolute measurements and genetics.