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How an ant shook up an ecosystem

How can one tiny ant species cause a savanna-wide shift in the food web? Outline the cascading effects of the disruption of one mutual relationship and create graphs that highlight how an invasive species can have significant indirect effects on an ecosystem.

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.

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.

Planning a Garden Plot

Gardens have many functions ranging from vegetable and fruit production to flood mitigation and erosion control. Gardens also can be a haven for pollinators and a repository for native plants. Over the course of a year, students will design a garden for their school or a community organization using scientific concepts they learn in class.

A ‘Perfect Comeback’

In a “perfect comeback” move, birds may be fortifying their nests with anti-bird spikes plucked from rooftops and eaves. Learn about the new findings and foster healthy skepticism by inviting students to evaluate evidence used in the article to support claims.

Lake scavenger hunt

Lakes can vary in color based on levels of sediment, organic matter and algae. Sometimes though, a lake will stand out – not matching the other lakes in an area. Look for these anomalies by participating in a virtual lake scavenger hunt, and help figure out why these lakes don’t fit in! In this activity, students will learn how climate change influences lake color and will investigate lakes with irregular colors that have been impacted by natural or human-made forces.

News Stories Give Spiders a Bum Rap

Are your students creeped out by spiders? They aren’t alone. In this guide, students will learn about how inaccurate news coverage has promoted common misconceptions about the largely harmless critters. Students can also discuss misinformation, thinking about where they’ve encountered it before, its impacts and ways to correct it.   

Spinning tales about spiders

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “News stories have caught spiders in a web of misinformation,” which describes new research looking at how spiders are portrayed by the media. A version of the article, “News stories give spiders a bum rap” appears in the September 24, 2022 issue of Science News.

The Age of Dinosaurs May Have Ended in Springtime

In this guide, students will answer claim, evidence and reasoning questions about how scientists used the bones of ancient fish to determine during what season an asteroid wiped out nonavian dinosaurs. They will then explore the physical properties of human bones and how bones offer evidence to support scientific claims.

Dating dino doomsday

Students will answer claim, evidence and reasoning questions about the online Science News article “The Age of Dinosaurs may have ended in springtime.” The article describes how scientists used fossilized fish to determine what season it was when an asteroid wiped out nonavian dinosaurs. A version of the article, “Dinosaur killer may have hit in spring,” appears in the March 26, 2022 issue of Science News.

Dig into bones

Students will discuss the physical properties of human bones and how bones can offer evidence to support scientific claims. Then students can search Science News for examples of how bones have been used as evidence.

Earth May Be Hiding Thousands of Tree Species

In this guide, students will learn about scientists’ efforts to estimate how many tree species Earth has, analyze a related data visualization and discuss the implications the research has for conservation.