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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.
SEM image of SARS-CoV-2

2020 Year in Review

This guide asks students to reflect on the scientific highs and lows of the last year as reported by Science News. Students will analyze summaries of awe-inspiring discoveries and reflect on the COVID-19 pandemic, including their lingering questions, personal experiences and hopes for the future.

The joy of science

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “From Elvis worms to the Milky Way’s edge, these science stories sparked joy in 2020,” which summarizes Science News stories from 2020 that provided a happy distraction from the world’s worries. A version of the story, “Stories that sparked joy,” can be found in the December 19, 2020 & January 2, 2021 issue of Science News.
Hainan gibbon on a rope bridge

A Rope Bridge Restored an Ape Highway

In this guide, students will learn about how researchers used engineering to help an endangered species navigate its habitat after a natural disaster. Then, students will explore other examples of solutions to habitat fragmentation and discuss the importance of conservation.

A bridge to conservation

Students will learn about the effects of habitat fragmentation on a critically endangered species, explore scientists’ process for designing and engineering a solution to the problem, and discuss the importance of conservation.

Gibbons learn the ropes

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A rope bridge restored a highway through the trees for endangered gibbons,” which describes how researchers helped critically endangered Hainan gibbons in China navigate a gully after a landslide. A version of the story, “A rope bridge restored an ape highway,” can be found in the November 21, 2020 issue of Science News.
Cuvier's beaked whales

Whale’s Breathtaking Dive Impresses

In this guide, students will learn about the extraordinary diving ability of the Cuvier’s beaked whale and what scientists think allows the marine mammal to stay underwater for extended periods. Then, students will discuss the ocean zone model and research the environment and species of a specific ocean zone.

Zone in on the ocean

Students will explore how the ocean environment changes with depth and how various organisms’ physical traits allow the organisms to thrive at different depths. Students then will discuss the benefits and limitations of the ocean zone model.

Getting deep with the ocean’s master divers

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A beaked whale’s nearly 4-hour-long dive sets a new record,” which describes a new record for longest dive by a marine mammal, set by the Cuvier’s beaked whale. A version of the story, “Whale’s breathtaking dive impresses,” can be found in the November 7, 2020 issue of Science News.