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Human Population Hits a Milestone

The world population has reached 8 billion people, according to the United Nations. In this guide, students will learn about how the human population has grown over time and how it is projected to grow in the future, then analyze a graph of world population data. In a quick activity, students will think about how a growing human population might impact various industries and how changes at the national or international level might help those industries support a larger population.

Graphing global population trends

Students will explore a graphic representation of trends in the size of the global human population and analyze the importance and implications of projected data.

The human population sets a new record

Students will answer questions about the Science News article “The world population has now reached 8 billion,” which explores trends in human population growth. A version of the article, “Human population hits a milestone,” appears in the December 17, 2022 & December 31, 2022 issue of Science News.

Students will define what an outlier is and discuss why outliers occur, how to identify them and how they can be useful for science and society.

A Weird Solar System Cousin Makes Its Photographic Debut

In this guide, students will examine a photograph of a distant solar system, learn how astronomers captured the image and learn about the system’s inhabitants. Students will then discuss units of measure and create a scaled drawing of the distant solar system.

Why use units

To determine the purpose of units in science, students will identify and compare the units used for common outer space measurements with units typically used for Earth measurements. Then, students will think about the importance of using standard units versus relative values when describing data before creating a scaled drawing of exoplanet distances.

Calculating a Dog’s Age Requires a Bit More Math

In this guide, students will learn how scientists used molecular biology to rethink a popular mathematical formula for finding a dog’s age in human years. Students will then analyze and discuss mathematical models.

Mathematical models of a dog’s age

Students will define, apply and analyze a new mathematical model for determining dog age in human years before comparing it to an old version of the model. Then, students will give examples of mathematical models in other fields and think about models’ benefits and limitations.

Old dog, new math

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Calculating a dog’s age in human years is harder than you think,” which explores how scientists used molecular biology to more accurately compare canine aging with human aging. A version of the story, “Calculating a dog’s age requires a bit more math,” can be found in the August 15, 2020 issue of Science News.

Lunar orbit

Students will practice analyzing and graphing data about the moon’s orbit. The activity will help students understand the Earth-moon system and the nature of elliptical orbits.

Many Moore transistors?

After watching a video about transistors, your class can use these discussion prompts to analyze transistor technology and predict future trends in computer processing.

Dusty data dive

Students will practice analyzing and graphing data using two data tables from a primary research study about space dust.