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Organism Observations

Students will observe animal behavior via live camera feed and reflect on their observations. Then they will learn about how animal behaviorists use camera traps and field observations to infer meaning from animal behaviors.

Data on dwindling migratory species

Students will analyze and compare two graphs to summarize a recent report about animals protected by an international treaty called the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals before discussing the possible next steps and limitations of the treaty.

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.

Designing GMO Campaigns

Humans have modified organisms for millennia through selective breeding and other techniques. But only in the past few decades have people gained the ability to directly alter organisms’ DNA to create Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). GMOs can help advance fields such as medicine and agriculture. In this activity, students will learn more about GMOs and their uses before creating an awareness campaign to address GMO misconceptions.

AI in bioacoustics research

Scientists recently used bioacoustics and AI to study whether certain bird species still exist in the wild. Use this lesson plan to teach students about bioacoustics and instruct them to think critically about the role of AI in the research process.

A sweaty plant adaptation

Sweating has a surprising purpose for one desert plant. Students will learn about a chemical adaptation that allows the plant to collect moisture in an arid environment. They’ll answer questions about using videos to collect data and then draw molecular diagrams that illustrate the plant’s adaptation.

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.

Social sharing

Working in a social group provides a variety of benefits, including the ability to learn from others and share resources. However, disadvantages can also come with working in a social group. In this activity, students will brainstorm and discuss the pros and cons of social behaviors in a variety of realistic situations. After considering how disturbances affect social behaviors, students will write a paper that evaluates the relationship between disturbances, social behaviors, and population distributions.

Little snake, big gulp

This little snake’s “big gulp” puts 7-Eleven to shame. Stretchy tissue in the snakes’ jaws enables them to swallow prey much wider than themselves. And the Gans’ egg-eater snake takes the cake — or egg — for most outsized meals. Learn how snakes gulp down meals much bigger than themselves while answering questions discussing proportions and comparing relative values vs. absolute measurements.

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.

CRISPR Explained

Students will learn how CRISPR gene-editing technology works and discuss its applications and its importance to research. Learning Outcomes: Learning about CRISPR and why it is an important technology

Prairie voles can couple up even without the ‘love hormone

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Prairie voles can find partners just fine without the ‘love hormone’ oxytocin,” which explores how scientists upended a common understanding of the hormone by using CRISPR technology. A version of the article “Voles don’t need oxytocin to bond” appears in the February 25, 2023 issue of Science News.