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How Ötzi Got His Ink

When Ötzi, the mummified iceman, was discovered in 1991, researchers thought they knew how he got his ink. But new findings cast doubt on those assumptions. Learn about unconventional approaches to tattooing and answer experimental design questions, such as the importance of sample size to a scientific study and the difference between quantitative and qualitative evidence.

Overcooked & Outplayed

In this study, humans and AI worked together to score the win. But it’s the human partners that got played. Learn how some methods for training AI can also teach AI to influence human behavior, then answer questions about the potential implications of a future world in which AI sways human behavior.

Neutrino-detection issues? Time to tree-cruit!

Physicists propose that trees may help detect high-energy subatomic particles called neutrinos. Learn how Earth’s atmosphere alters these incoming high-energy subatomic particles from space. Then, explore how scientists could use this interplay to develop new ways to detect high-energy neutrinos.

The Tiny “Toad” of Many Crowns

Scientists in Brazil have just discovered a creature that claims two small but fierce titles: the smallest known vertebrate and the smallest known amphibian. This raindrop-sized vertebrate earned a rather misleading name for itself — the “flea toad.” Use metric units to make and compare measurements and learn the differences between toads and frogs before discussing the misleading nature of the amphibian’s name.

All eyes on the sun

On April 8, 2024, approximately 32 million people may have the opportunity to see a total eclipse of the sun. Astronomers predict this eclipse will put on quite a show — one of the most vivid in recent history. Learn how different factors of this solar eclipse will make it especially rare for both scientists and casual observers.

Drawn to a flame

That old saying, "drawn like a moth to a flame," needs a revision. Many flying insects may appear to be captivated by the glow of a nighttime lamp. But things aren't always what they seem. The reality turns long-held assumptions topsy-turvy. New findings suggest that flying insects are not attracted to the light at all, but actually turn their backs to it. Learn how new evidence challenges old theories and hypotheses while answering questions and discussing how the evidence from such studies supports conclusions.

Cannabis and the Teenage Brain

Being legal doesn't mean a drug is harmless. As the adult legal access to cannabis products goes up, teens' perception of cannabis risks falls. Learn how science reveals the harm THC may pose to teens while answering questions and discussing how the evidence from such studies supports conclusions.

Horned reptiles may prefer to lie in wait

Horns grant advantages to some lizard species but can be a liability to others. Learn how differences in hunting styles might contribute to physical differences in lizard species. At the same time, answer questions about evolutionary trees and convergent evolution while considering the value of analogies in helping understand complex concepts.

Oodles of snoozes

Every little bit of rest counts. For a chinstrap penguin, about 10,000 brief snoozes each day can add up to more than 11 hours of rest. Learn how these animals adapted to their environment by managing to grab this much-needed shut-eye. And they do it without relaxing their guard. Then answer questions discussing the relationship between habitats, behavior and sleep patterns.

Green light means “go”

Just when we all thought we had evaporation all figured out, clever experiments shine a new light on old assumptions. A new study points to light having the ability to help sever bonds (a type of intermolecular force) between water molecules to boost evaporation. Learn how these findings support new scientific claims and challenge the old notion that light affects evaporation only indirectly, through heat generation.

Make a Möbius strip

A surprise twist brings a Möbius strip mystery to an end. So simple in structure yet so perplexing a puzzle, the Möbius strip's twisted loop grants some unexpected turns. Learn about what a Möbius strip is by constructing them from paper and tape, then use these deceptively simple structures to challenge intuitive judgments about their construction ratio limits.

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.