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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The genetics puzzle

Scientists are still chipping away at the challenge of completing the puzzle of human genetics. Draw diagrams of DNA, chromosomes, genes and other genetics terms to review their relationships before piecing together the new findings of recent studies that fully sequenced Y chromosomes for the first time.

Shining light on photosynthesis

Ever wonder how soil and seeds transform into bushes and trees? And why do these plants have specific requirements for light and water? Are there conditions that push plants to the brink? Explore such questions by taking a deep dive into the chemical processes of photosynthesis. Create a series of comics to illustrate how green plants convert light energy into stored chemical energy. Then, investigate how changes to light, water and temperature can impact plants’ ability to photosynthesize and how plants can adapt when conditions aren’t ideal.

Planning a Garden Plot

Gardens have many functions ranging from vegetable and fruit production to flood mitigation and erosion control. Gardens also can be a haven for pollinators and a repository for native plants. Over the course of a year, students will design a garden for their school or a community organization using scientific concepts they learn in class.

Fluorescing frogs

Light up your class with examples of fluorescence, including recently found biofluorescence in many frog species. Learn about the discovery of fluorescing frogs, discuss the potential evolutionary advantages of fluorescence, answer questions about the chemistry behind fluorescence and perform a demonstration of fluorescence from common objects.

Syncing the power grid to renewable energy

How is the U.S. doing in its transition away from coal-fired power plants to renewable energy sources? Analyze state and national data to learn about the transition and one of the major challenges: keeping the grid stable as large power plants shut down.