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The Scientists to Watch Lesson Plan Collection

Want to expose your students to various fields of scientific research and inspire them to pursue STEM careers? Introduce them to some rising stars of science! In this guide, based on Science News’ list of up-and-coming researchers, students can hear the stories of inspiring scientists and explore pathways to STEM careers. Learning Outcomes: STEM careers, fields of scientific research
a close-up photo of a jumping spider

News Stories Give Spiders a Bum Rap

Are your students creeped out by spiders? They aren’t alone. In this guide, students will learn about how inaccurate news coverage has promoted common misconceptions about the largely harmless critters. Students can also discuss misinformation, thinking about where they’ve encountered it before, its impacts and ways to correct it.   

Being mindful of misinformation

Let spiders and their unfair reputation help you teach students about identifying and correcting misinformation. Learning outcomes: Media literacy, communicating information.

Spinning tales about spiders

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “News stories have caught spiders in a web of misinformation,” which describes new research looking at how spiders are portrayed by the media. A version of the article, “News stories give spiders a bum rap” appears in the September 24, 2022 issue of Science News.
A child throwing a toy football to an older man standing in the driveway of a suburban neighborhood

Why Spiraling Footballs Sometimes Miss the Mark

Engage your students in science using sports! In this guide, students can explore the physics of football throws and apply the scientific method to a sport of their choice.  

Solving sports problems with science

Get your students exploring the scientific method by applying scientific problem-solving to their favorite sport. Learning outcomes: Scientific method.

Extraordinary scientists are ordinary people

Help your students connect and relate to current scientists from diverse backgrounds with this activity. Students will then find articles about ongoing science research that links the work of the scientists to real-world questions. Learning outcomes: Basic collaboration and listening skills; ability to use a computer with internet access

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.
Castleton Tower, a sandstone formation near Moab, Utah

Climbers Help Scientists Vibe With Utah’s Rocks

In this guide, students will learn about a citizen science project that is helping scientists better understand the physical properties of rock formations. Students will then explore other citizen science projects that they could participate in based on their hobbies and interests.

Citizens for science

Students will explore the concept of citizen science and use their hobbies and interests to find a citizen science project they could participate in.

Exploring STEM career paths

After considering their interests and skills, students will identify potential STEM careers that they might want to pursue and create a map or flowchart showing how they might reach that goal. Students will then use the Science News archive and other online resources to research a STEM professional whose career resembles one that students might choose for themselves.

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.