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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.

Ice cream under the microscope

Students will analyze and write a caption for microscope images of crystals in an ice cream–like solution, discuss how molecules behave as ice cream freezes and thaws, and pose scientific questions about one of their favorite frozen desserts.

The scoop on ice cream science

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Grainy ice cream is unpleasant. Plant-based nanocrystals might help,” which describes new research into improving the shelf life of ice cream. A version of the article, “Cellulose helps ice cream go down smooth,” appears in the May 7, 2022 & May 21, 2022 issue of Science News.
image of meteorite ALH 84001

Meteorite’s Organics Aren’t Signs of Life

In this guide, students will learn about the origin of organic material found inside a meteorite from Mars and discuss how new evidence can be used to reevaluate scientific claims.

Evaluating scientific claims with new evidence

Students will compare two Science News articles and analyze how new evidence has revised an initial claim and the reasoning behind that claim. As a bonus, students can answer chemistry questions about abiotic and biotic reactions.

Chemistry that’s out of this world

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Organic molecules in an ancient Mars meteorite formed via geology, not alien life,” which describes new research into the origin of organic material found in a space rock. A version of the article, “Meteorite’s organics aren’t signs of life,” appears in the February 12, 2022 issue of Science News.
image of wildfire haze over the Golden Gate bridge and the San Francisco skyline

Wildfires May Boost Urban Ozone Levels

In this guide, students will explore chemical interactions within wildfire smoke and how urban air pollution can influence the reactions.

Chemistry of wildfire smoke

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Wildfire smoke may ramp up toxic ozone production in cities,” which explores new research into the interactions between wildfire smoke and air pollution in cities. A version of the article, “Wildfires may boost urban ozone levels,” appears in the January 15, 2022 issue of Science News.

Where there’s smoke, there’s science

Students will discuss the composition and properties of air and wildfire smoke, and explore how substances in smoke react to ramp up a certain type of air pollution.
image of a letter written by Marie Antoinette with a blacked out section next to an image of the same letter where the blacked out section is visible

Marie Antoinette’s Letters Are Uncensored by X-rays

In this guide, students will learn how scientists used chemistry to unravel a historical mystery and discuss the uses and limitations of spectroscopy.

Solving a French Revolution mystery with chemistry

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Ink analysis reveals Marie Antoinette’s letters’ hidden words and who censored them,” which details how scientists used chemistry to unravel a mystery from the French Revolution. A version of the article, “Marie Antoinette’s letters are uncensored by X-rays,” appears in the November 6, 2021 issue of Science News.

Revealing secrets with spectroscopy

Students will discuss how spectroscopy relates to atomic structure, how the technology can help solve historical mysteries and the limitations and ethics of such work.