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Demystifying myths with data

Data science can help size up the probability behind myths, including that of the Loch Ness Monster. Use the example from the article to guide students through using the scientific method to investigate myths and have them think of an idea for a research study that could be done on a myth of their choice.

Paint a clearer picture with AI

Artificial intelligence, or AI, provides a new way to focus a camera’s lens! Researchers have now used AI to overcome limitations in thermal-imaging technology — and they didn’t stop there. Learn how applying this AI to existing technology, such as self-driving cars, might solve safety problems and help transform what had been science fiction into reality. Apply knowledge to new applications and answer questions that confront the nuance sometimes lost by dichotomies as literary devices.

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.

Bee Geometry

How clever! Bees use geometry tricks to make the most of their hive’s space. Learn how bees, wasps and other hive-makers accommodate changes in their colony’s needs, answer questions about evolution’s approach to problem-solving and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of analogies as literary devices.

Confounding Life and Science Research

In this quick activity, students will discuss confounding factors in their own lives and in scientific research to determine why it is important to identify and control for those factors. Learning Outcomes: Reviewing confounding factors and learning why it is important to identify them in science.

What can ChatGPT really do?

Students will answer questions about the online Science News Explores article “Think twice before using ChatGPT for help with homework,” which explains the pros and cons of using ChatGPT.

Can AI fool you?

Students will discuss the meaning of AI and its uses before testing their ability to distinguish between answers written by students and answers written by ChatGPT. After taking a ChatGPT quiz produced by Science News Explores, students will talk about their results and the educational and ethical implications of using the chatbot. Learning Outcomes: Develop an understanding of artificial intelligence and apply that knowledge to current technologies that use AI.

The Past, Present and Future of Spaceflight

Have you ever wondered how the people who get to fly in space are chosen? The path to becoming an astronaut has changed a lot over the years. In this activity, students will learn about the space travelers of the past and present — and consider a future where the diversity of astronauts better reflects the diversity of all of humankind. Students will use their creative writing skills to imagine this future.

The Metric System Has Gained New Prefixes

In this guide, students will learn about new measurement prefixes, work with those prefixes in metric conversions and create their own units of measure.

New prefixes for the metric system

Students will answer questions about a Science News article that explores new prefixes for the metric system. A version of the article, “The metric system gains new prefixes,” appears in the January 14, 2023 issue of Science News.

Measuring up with metric prefixes 

Students will review prefixes and their meanings, learn about the metric system’s newest prefixes and apply the definitions in metric conversions. Learning Outcomes: Proportion and scale, measurement and dimensional analysis, a deeper understanding of the metric prefixes.

Form fits function in extreme environments

From buildings to machines to household objects — and even in the natural world — the structure of something relates to its function. Sea urchin skeletons, for example, have a recurring geometric design called a Voronoi pattern that also shows up in honeycombs and dragonfly wings. The pattern probably strengthens the skeleton and could inspire the creation of strong, lightweight materials. In this activity, students will explore aspects of structure and function in everyday objects before applying the same concepts to the natural patterns found in sea urchin skeletons. Inspired by the sea urchin, students can use an engineering design process to brainstorm solutions to real-world problems.