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Rethinking whale appetites

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Baleen whales eat (and poop) a lot more than we realized,” which details scientists’ efforts to accurately estimate how much certain whale species eat and what that means for ecosystems. A version of the article, “Whales eat more than we thought,” appears in the December 4, 2021 issue of Science News.

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.

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.

Ancient women hunted big game too

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Female big-game hunters may have been surprisingly common in the ancient Americas,” which describes how a woman buried with hunting tools thousands of years ago is challenging scientists’ ideas of ancient gender roles. A version of the story, “Early American women hunted game,” can be found in the December 5, 2020 issue of Science News.

Arguing from evidence

Students will discuss how a scientific argument uses evidence and reasoning to support a claim. Then, students will compare that process with their own experience of constructing a personal argument.

Zone in on the ocean

Students will explore how the ocean environment changes with depth and how various organisms’ physical traits allow the organisms to thrive at different depths. Students then will discuss the benefits and limitations of the ocean zone model.

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.