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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.

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.

Reimagining plastics recycling

Students will evaluate experimental methods for recycling plastics, gather data about the types of plastics they use at home, research plastics recycling in their community and write a letter to local officials that advocates for improving plastics recycling.

Building better boxes based on beetles

In this activity, students will learn about the seemingly indestructible diabolical ironclad beetle and review Newton’s laws of motion and force diagrams. Then, students will design, build and test crush-resistant packaging using biomimetics, the practice of solving problems using solutions inspired by biological structures and systems.
coated thermal material

Coating Provides Infrared Camouflage

This guide, based on the Science News article “Coating provides infrared camouflage,” asks students to explore the physics and potential technological applications of a material, discuss the various types of electromagnetic radiation, analyze infrared images and research how infrared imaging is used across a range of fields.

Seeing in infrared

In this activity, students will analyze infrared images and then explore how infrared imaging is used across a range of fields of work. Skills include researching, evaluating, synthesizing and presenting information.

Hiding heat radiation

Students will answer questions about the Science News article “Coating provides infrared camouflage,” which explores the physics and potential technological applications of a material.
carbon nanotubes

Computer Chip Milestone Reached

This guide, based on the Science News article “Computer chip milestone reached,” asks students to explore transistors and Moore’s Law. The activity leads students as they design a simple circuit out of logic gates.

Telling two scientists’ stories

Students will answer questions based on the Science News articles "Flowing toward a sustainable future" and "Mapping stars across generations."

A look inside the smartphone

These discussion prompts ask students to describe how various smartphone sensors work, and analyze three graphs related to data gathered by such sensors.