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Designing GMO Campaigns

Humans have modified organisms for millennia through selective breeding and other techniques. But only in the past few decades have people gained the ability to directly alter organisms’ DNA to create Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). GMOs can help advance fields such as medicine and agriculture. In this activity, students will learn more about GMOs and their uses before creating an awareness campaign to address GMO misconceptions.

A sweaty plant adaptation

Sweating has a surprising purpose for one desert plant. Students will learn about a chemical adaptation that allows the plant to collect moisture in an arid environment. They’ll answer questions about using videos to collect data and then draw molecular diagrams that illustrate the plant’s adaptation.

Shining light on photosynthesis

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.

Planning a Garden Plot

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.

Shores Still Reeling from 2010 Oil Spill

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.

Cascading effects of erosion

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.

Why soils in marshes matter

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.

Earth May Be Hiding Thousands of Tree Species

In this guide, students will learn about scientists’ efforts to estimate how many tree species Earth has, analyze a related data visualization and discuss the implications the research has for conservation.

Mapping biodiversity

Students will look at data from a primary research article to explore how tree biodiversity differs across continents and biomes.

Counting Earth’s tree species

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

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.

Elusive Killer in Eagle Die-Offs ID’d

In this guide, students will learn about scientists’ quest to solve mysterious bird deaths, discuss how invasive species affect ecosystems and research an invasive species in their region.