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How ducklings dodge drag

Students will discuss the physics of drag using real-world examples.

Quacking the physics of duckling swimming

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Here’s the physics of why ducklings swim in a row behind their mother,” which details how baby ducks save energy by surfing their mom’s waves. A version of the article, “Why baby ducks swim in a line,” appears in the November 20, 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.

In hot water

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Earth’s oceans are storing record-breaking amounts of heat,” which explores how the upper oceans’ heat storage capacity has changed over time. A version of the story, “Earth’s oceans broke heat records in 2020,” appears in the February 13, 2021 issue of Science News.

Communicating data

Students will discuss how graphs and quantitative analogies are useful for interpreting and understanding data. Then, students will analyze and compare how effective each strategy is at communicating a scientific claim. As an extension, students may propose an alternative method of displaying or explaining given data.

Protective headgear design challenge

Concussions are a common sports injury. After reviewing Newton’s laws of motion, force diagrams, momentum, and elastic and inelastic collisions, students will test various materials that might protect the head from sports collisions and use those materials to design protective headgear.

Seeing in infrared

In this activity, students will analyze infrared images and then explore how infrared imaging is used across a range of fields of work. Skills include researching, evaluating, synthesizing and presenting information.

Exploring electromagnetic radiation

Students will watch a NASA video about the electromagnetic spectrum to learn about properties of the various types of radiation. Then, students will explore and discuss technologies that use specific types of electromagnetic radiation.

Move into a hermit crab’s shell

These discussion prompts connect concepts including energy, competition, adaptation, speciation, natural selection and chemical and physical changes to a real-world example.

Tracing tracks and guessing gaits

Students will use what they know about physics and human range of motion to analyze classmates’ trackways and infer how their classmates made the tracks.

Escaping from a black hole

Students will come to better understand black holes and Hawking radiation by deriving expressions and calculating theoretical data that relate to these phenomena.

A look inside the smartphone

These discussion prompts ask students to describe how various smartphone sensors work, and analyze three graphs related to data gathered by such sensors.