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Mighty mitochondria

Students will answer basic questions about cell structure and energy production, draw diagrams to visualize how mitochondria in sea otters may function differently than in other marine mammals and brainstorm a research question for further investigation.

Sea otters’ cellular surprise

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Sea otters stay warm thanks to leaky mitochondria in their muscles,” which explores scientists’ efforts to figure out how the ocean’s smallest mammal maintains an extreme metabolism. A version of the story, “How muscles keep otters warm,” appears in the August 14, 2021 issue of Science News.

Science mystery solvers

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A toxin behind mysterious eagle die-offs may have finally been found,” which explores scientists’ quest to ID a suspect in mass bird deaths. A version of the story, “Elusive killer in eagle die-offs ID’d,” appears in the April 24, 2021 issue of Science News.

Speaking of science

Students will investigate animals that regenerate, discuss how energy plays a role in the process and think about why scientists might be interested in studying animal regeneration. Students will use what they’ve learned to write a script and narrate a Science News video of regenerating sea slugs.

Sluggish regeneration

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A sea slug’s detached head can crawl around and grow a whole new body,” which explores how some sea slugs regenerate. A version of the story, “No body is no problem for detached sea slug heads,” appears in the April 10, 2021 issue of Science News.

COVID-19 lessons for colleges

Students will explore and analyze various approaches some universities have taken to manage the COVID-19 pandemic on their campuses before comparing the strategies to those used at their own school.

COVID-19 goes to college

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “How 5 universities tried to handle COVID-19 on campus,” which explores five universities’ strategies for monitoring and stemming the spread of the coronavirus on campuses. A version of the story, “COVID-19 on campus,” appears in the February 27, 2021 issue of Science News.

Create a recipe for life

Students will research the conditions necessary for the formation of organic molecules and living things. Working in groups, students will then develop a “recipe” for life based on physical, chemical, geological, astronomical and biological principles. Class discussions will cover the role of interdisciplinary research in studying the origins of life on Earth and searching for life beyond our solar system.

Getting deep with the ocean’s master divers

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A beaked whale’s nearly 4-hour-long dive sets a new record,” which describes a new record for longest dive by a marine mammal, set by the Cuvier’s beaked whale. A version of the story, “Whale’s breathtaking dive impresses,” can be found in the November 7, 2020 issue of Science News.

Creating a vascular plant’s ecological niche

Students will learn about the ecological niche concept, conduct online surveys of vascular plants found in a biodiverse region of South Africa, conduct field surveys of vascular plants found in a local ecosystem and present a poster describing the ecological niche for a vascular plant of their choice.

Spacefaring bacteria in the spotlight

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “If bacteria band together, they can survive for years in space,” which describes an experiment on the International Space Station that suggests microbes are capable of surviving interplanetary travel. A version of the story, “Bacteria can survive for years in space,” can be found in the September 26, 2020 issue of Science News.

Chemicals cue behavior

Students will explore the chemical makeup of pheromones, how the chemicals may cue species behavior and why it’s important for scientists to study such information. Students will answer questions related to the pheromone discussed in the Science News article before applying the same questions to a pheromone of their choice.