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Social Media Smarts

Social media is part of our everyday lives. It provides entertainment, news, reference information, and so much more. However, not all the content we find on social media is accurate. In this activity, students will investigate the prevalence of misinformation on popular social media platforms. In their investigation, students examine how platforms’ biases and algorithms influence the type of content social media users see and the level of misinformation displayed.

Scaling the world’s largest telescope

The Giant Magellan Telescope could reveal signs of life on faraway planets — mainly because of the telescope’s massive mirrors. But just how big are they? Use this article to investigate the benefits of using scale and relative values in writing. Then solve a related word problem and devise your own useful examples of scale.

Make a Möbius strip

A surprise twist brings a Möbius strip mystery to an end. So simple in structure yet so perplexing a puzzle, the Möbius strip's twisted loop grants some unexpected turns. Learn about what a Möbius strip is by constructing them from paper and tape, then use these deceptively simple structures to challenge intuitive judgments about their construction ratio limits.

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.

Vibration check

Most of us drive across bridges every day and never question their structural integrity. We trust that the bridge will stand. In this activity, students will study a famous bridge collapse and consider how it could have been prevented. They also will learn how engineers are testing whether crowdsourced cell phone data could be used to determine when bridges need repairs. Using simulated data of bridge vibration frequencies, students will identify whether an imaginary bridge might be unstable. Students have the option of creating model bridges and testing their structural integrity.

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.

Fermentation and Pasteurization in the classroom

The multitalented Louis Pasteur was a chemist, biologist, the father of microbiology and the inventor of pasteurization. In this hands-on lab, students will learn about Pasteur’s contributions by conducting an inquiry-based yeast fermentation experiment that explores the concept of pasteurization. In this experiment, students will observe, calculate and graph the volume of carbon dioxide produced by yeast during fermentation at different temperatures and identify the point where the yeast have been killed and pasteurization occurs.

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.

Create your own unit of measure

In this quick activity, students will create their own unit of length to measure something in the classroom and use principles of dimensional analysis to convert their measurement to a partner’s unit. Learning Outcomes: Units of measurement, unit conversion.

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.

Human Population Hits a Milestone

The world population has reached 8 billion people, according to the United Nations. In this guide, students will learn about how the human population has grown over time and how it is projected to grow in the future, then analyze a graph of world population data. In a quick activity, students will think about how a growing human population might impact various industries and how changes at the national or international level might help those industries support a larger population.