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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.

Think like a science journalist

Students will learn how science journalists develop stories from scientific studies by analyzing a Science News article and the study on which it is based. Then, students will use a scientific study provided by the teacher to write their own news article.
two bald eagles in a tree

Elusive Killer in Eagle Die-Offs ID’d

In this guide, students will learn about scientists’ quest to solve mysterious bird deaths, discuss how invasive species affect ecosystems and research an invasive species in their region.

Investigating invasive species

Students will define invasive species and discuss how certain species affect ecosystems and human society. Then, students will research invasive species in their region and devise an invasiveness rating scale.

Science mystery solvers

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A toxin behind mysterious eagle die-offs may have finally been found,” which explores scientists’ quest to ID a suspect in mass bird deaths. A version of the story, “Elusive killer in eagle die-offs ID’d,” appears in the April 24, 2021 issue of Science News.
sea slug body next to detached head

No Body Is No Problem for Detached Sea Slug Heads

In this guide, students will explore animal regeneration, discuss why scientists are interested in the process and use what they’ve learned to narrate a Science News video about regenerating sea slugs.

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.

Neuroscience fiction and fact

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Three visions of the future, inspired by neuroscience’s past and present,” which explores how advances in the field of neuroscience are bringing scientists closer to expanding, linking and healing human brains. A version of the story, “Our brains, our futures,” can be found in the March 13, 2021 issue of Science News.

Building better brains?

Students will explore advances in neurotechnology by making connections between examples they’ve seen in popular culture and what is currently possible. Students will then think critically about positive and negative effects of advancements in this area of science.

Building better boxes based on beetles

In this activity, students will learn about the seemingly indestructible diabolical ironclad beetle and review Newton’s laws of motion and force diagrams. Then, students will design, build and test crush-resistant packaging using biomimetics, the practice of solving problems using solutions inspired by biological structures and systems.

Create a recipe for life

Students will research the conditions necessary for the formation of organic molecules and living things. Working in groups, students will then develop a “recipe” for life based on physical, chemical, geological, astronomical and biological principles. Class discussions will cover the role of interdisciplinary research in studying the origins of life on Earth and searching for life beyond our solar system.