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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.

When worlds collide

Astronomers just spotted a big explosion. Scientists studied this glowing afterburn of pulverized planets — comparing infrared and visible light — to peel back layers of space and time. They also answered questions about how probability can be used to draw conclusions and assess scientific claims.

Pink diamonds and Demystifying myths with data

Integrate recent articles from the November 4 Science News issue to have students explore how scientific inquiry and data can help size up the probability behind myths and how Earth’s tectonic plate history may explain the structure and location of pink diamonds today.

Pink diamonds

Colliding tectonic plates might make your diamond blush. Learn how differences in crystal structure give rise to distinctive physical differences, such as the rare pink diamonds of Western Australia. Answer questions about the value of skepticism in science and discuss how uncovering the history of our planet can give us a treasure-hunting lead.

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.

Snake Gulps and Chromosome Sequencing

Engage students with news articles from the October 7 & 21, 2023 double issue about record-breaking snake gulp proportions and recent studies that fully sequenced Y chromosomes for the first time and teach about relative values vs. absolute measurements and genetics.

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.

Little snake, big gulp

This little snake’s “big gulp” puts 7-Eleven to shame. Stretchy tissue in the snakes’ jaws enables them to swallow prey much wider than themselves. And the Gans’ egg-eater snake takes the cake — or egg — for most outsized meals. Learn how snakes gulp down meals much bigger than themselves while answering questions discussing proportions and comparing relative values vs. absolute measurements.

AI Technology and Photosynthesis

Dive into recent news articles from the September 23 issue of Science News to have students learn how applying AI to existing technology in self-driving cars might solve safety problems and to explore the chemical processes of photosynthesis and how changes in environment can impact plants’ ability to photosynthesize.

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.

Paint a clearer picture with AI

Artificial intelligence, or AI, provides a new way to focus a camera’s lens! Researchers have now used AI to overcome limitations in thermal-imaging technology — and they didn’t stop there. Learn how applying this AI to existing technology, such as self-driving cars, might solve safety problems and help transform what had been science fiction into reality. Apply knowledge to new applications and answer questions that confront the nuance sometimes lost by dichotomies as literary devices.