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A swarm of locusts flies over a field.

Insect Swarms Might Electrify the Sky

Large swarms of insects could produce as much electricity as a storm cloud. In this guide, students will explore how insect-induced static electricity might affect the atmosphere, review the concepts of electric charge and electrostatic force, and apply those concepts to their own experiences and the biological phenomenon of insect swarms. In a quick activity, students will create a poem or song about serendipity in science.

Sticking to static electricity with Coulomb’s law

Students will use their experiences of static electricity to learn about electric charge and electrostatic force, then apply the concepts to a biological phenomenon. Learning Outcomes: Reinforcement of Coulomb’s Law with interdisciplinary examples.

Insect swarms get charged up

Students will read and answer questions about the online Science News article “Insect swarms might generate as much electric charge as storm clouds,” which explores how insect-induced static electricity might affect the atmosphere. A version of the article, “Insect swarms might electrify the sky” appears in the December 3, 2022 issue of Science News.

What’s the deal with DART?

In this quick activity, students will create a TikTok video about the outcome of a NASA mission to knock an asteroid off course.
A blue split stream of dust and rock wafting off the asteroid Dimorphos seen after the DART spacecraft mission

NASA’s DART Mission Is a Success

Did you hear about the spacecraft that crashed into an asteroid — on purpose?! In this guide, students will learn about NASA’s DART mission and discuss the core physics principles behind it.

May the force move you

NASA’s DART mission knocked an asteroid off course. Use the mission to teach core physics principles — including force and Newton’s laws of motion. Learning outcomes: Application of forces and Newton’s laws of motion.

Bumping asteroids off course

Students will answer questions about a NASA mission to smash a spacecraft into an asteroid after reading a Science News article and watching a Science News TikTok video about the mission. A version of the article, “NASA’s DART mission is a success,” appears in the November 5, 2022 issue of Science News.
A child throwing a toy football to an older man standing in the driveway of a suburban neighborhood

Why Spiraling Footballs Sometimes Miss the Mark

Engage your students in science using sports! In this guide, students can explore the physics of football throws and apply the scientific method to a sport of their choice.  

Flying football physics

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Spiraling footballs wobble at one of two specific frequencies,” which describes how researchers figured out why spiraling footballs sometimes drift sideways. A version of the article, “Why spiraling footballs sometimes miss the mark,” appears in the September 10, 2022 issue of Science News.

Exploring materials

After reading a journalistic article about materials science and engineering over the last century, students will discuss and research why and how new materials are developed and how they transform society. Student groups will develop museum-style exhibits to communicate what they learned to the rest of the class.
image of a scoop of ice cream

Cellulose Helps Ice Cream Go Down Smooth

In this guide, students will learn about how food scientists are using chemistry to improve the texture of ice cream, discuss the science of ice cream on a molecular level and brainstorm testable scientific questions about favorite frozen desserts.

The physics of flying seeds

Students will design and build models inspired by flying seeds with the goal of making the models travel as far as possible. Students will test the models, analyze which ones performed the best and explain why those models performed well using physics principles.