Ever wonder how soil and seeds transform into bushes and trees? And why do these plants have specific requirements for light and water? Are there conditions that push plants to the brink? Explore such questions by taking a deep dive into the chemical processes of photosynthesis. Create a series of comics to illustrate how green plants convert light energy into stored chemical energy. Then, investigate how changes to light, water and temperature can impact plants’ ability to photosynthesize and how plants can adapt when conditions aren’t ideal.
Gardens have many functions ranging from vegetable and fruit production to flood mitigation and erosion control. Gardens also can be a haven for pollinators and a repository for native plants. Over the course of a year, students will design a garden for their school or a community organization using scientific concepts they learn in class.
Soil erosion happens naturally and through human actions. In this activity, students will explore how an oil spill changed Louisiana’s coastline, and they will look for examples of landscape features that were created by erosion and examples of human-caused erosion in their area.
Students will discuss a disastrous event that led to erosion and use the event to contextualize the impact of erosion on humans and the ways humans increase and decrease erosion. Learning Outcomes: Determining examples of erosion and its positive and negative impacts on humans and analyzing an example of a human-induced ecosystem disruption and understanding how it caused erosion in the ecosystem over time.
Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “The Deepwater Horizon oil spill ruined long-term shore stability,” which explains how damage to plants and soils is causing coastal marshes to retreat in parts of Louisiana. A version of the article, “Shores still reeling from 2010 oil spill,” appears in the March 25, 2023 issue of Science News.
Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Earth may have 9,200 more tree species than previously thought,” which describes researchers’ efforts to estimate the number of tree species on Earth. A version of the article, “Earth may be hiding thousands of tree species,” appears in the March 12, 2022 issue of Science News
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.
Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A toxin behind mysterious eagle die-offs may have finally been found,” which explores scientists’ quest to ID a suspect in mass bird deaths. A version of the story, “Elusive killer in eagle die-offs ID’d,” appears in the April 24, 2021 issue of Science News.