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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.

Century of Science scavenger hunt

Students will use the clues provided and the Science News Century of Science website to explore how science advances. After making connections across scientific subtopics, student groups will research and present highlights of discoveries from an assigned decade.

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.
image of a hand snapping on a yellow backdrop

Camera Captures Physics in a Snap

In this guide, students will learn about an experiment inspired by the movie Avengers: Infinity War that investigates the role of friction in a successful finger snap. Students will then apply their scientific knowledge to assess scientific accuracy in movies and other media.

Science in a snap

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “New high-speed video reveals the physics of a finger snap,” which details scientists’ exploration of the friction required for finger snapping. A version of the article, “Camera captures physics in a snap,” appears in the December 18, 2021 & January 1, 2022 issue of Science News.

Science on screen

Students will discuss the physics of finger snapping and apply their scientific knowledge to think critically about the scientific accuracy of movies and online demonstrations.

How ducklings dodge drag

Students will discuss the physics of drag using real-world examples.

Quacking the physics of duckling swimming

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Here’s the physics of why ducklings swim in a row behind their mother,” which details how baby ducks save energy by surfing their mom’s waves. A version of the article, “Why baby ducks swim in a line,” appears in the November 20, 2021 issue of Science News.

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.

Dig into atomic models

Students will research how knowledge of the atom has changed over time, visually represent a historic atomic model and present that model to the class. Students can also explore the standard model of particle physics and discuss ways it could be depicted.
clouds of Jupiter

Physics Helps Alien Rain Stay In Shape

In this guide, students will learn how the laws of physics shape rain on other planets and explore how molecules interact within alien raindrops.

Sizing up alien rain

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “How the laws of physics constrain the size of alien raindrops,” which explores a new model for rain on planets across the Milky Way. A version of the story, “Physics helps alien rain stay in shape,” appears in the May 8, 2021 & May 22, 2021 issue of Science News.