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AI in Bioacoustics Research and Napping Penguins

Integrate two articles from the January 13 Science News issue to have students explore how AI was used as a research tool in a recent bioacoustics bird study and how an adaptation of the chinstrap penguins’ allows them to keep their guard up while grabbing a few z’s.

AI in bioacoustics research

Scientists recently used bioacoustics and AI to study whether certain bird species still exist in the wild. Use this lesson plan to teach students about bioacoustics and instruct them to think critically about the role of AI in the research process.

Oodles of snoozes

Every little bit of rest counts. For a chinstrap penguin, about 10,000 brief snoozes each day can add up to more than 11 hours of rest. Learn how these animals adapted to their environment by managing to grab this much-needed shut-eye. And they do it without relaxing their guard. Then answer questions discussing the relationship between habitats, behavior and sleep patterns.

Solving Hard-to-Reach Problems with ROVs

Remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, are often used in environments that would be unsafe or difficult for people to enter to explore. In this activity, students will think critically about how engineering practices can be used to monitor environmental issues or solve real-world problems before designing and modeling an ROV that could be used to investigate a real-world problem impacting their local environment.

Evaporation by Light and Scaling Telescopes

Use articles from the December 16 & 30, 2023 issue of Science News to have students investigate a recent study about how light, and not just heat, may aid in the evaporation of water and how describing aspects of The Great Magellan Telescope can provide many examples of scale and relative values.

Scaling the world’s largest telescope

The Giant Magellan Telescope could reveal signs of life on faraway planets — mainly because of the telescope’s massive mirrors. But just how big are they? Use this article to investigate the benefits of using scale and relative values in writing. Then solve a related word problem and devise your own useful examples of scale.

Green light means “go”

Just when we all thought we had evaporation all figured out, clever experiments shine a new light on old assumptions. A new study points to light having the ability to help sever bonds (a type of intermolecular force) between water molecules to boost evaporation. Learn how these findings support new scientific claims and challenge the old notion that light affects evaporation only indirectly, through heat generation.

Prepare Your Community for the Eclipse

This activity will help students learn more about eclipses and how to communicate scientific information through the creation of a video about the upcoming total eclipse on April 8, 2024. Students will practice summarizing information from a variety of Science News Media Group articles and will use their writing skills to create an informative script for their video. For those in the solar eclipse’s path, the video will also discuss where to watch the eclipse and how to get involved in community education projects.

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.