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Spacefaring bacteria in the spotlight

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “If bacteria band together, they can survive for years in space,” which describes an experiment on the International Space Station that suggests microbes are capable of surviving interplanetary travel. A version of the story, “Bacteria can survive for years in space,” can be found in the September 26, 2020 issue of Science News.

Capturing an exoplanet family portrait

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “This is the first picture of a sunlike star with multiple exoplanets,” which describes a young solar system 300 light-years from our own. A version of the story, “A weird solar system cousin makes its photographic debut,” can be found in the August 29, 2020 issue of Science News.

Why use units

To determine the purpose of units in science, students will identify and compare the units used for common outer space measurements with units typically used for Earth measurements. Then, students will think about the importance of using standard units versus relative values when describing data before creating a scaled drawing of exoplanet distances.

Phase changes: cloudy with a chance of iron rain

Students will use phase diagrams to explore how changes in temperature and pressure affect a substance’s phase of matter before applying the concepts to meteorology on Earth and the exoplanet WASP 76b.

Seeing into the moon

Students will answer questions about the Science News article “Rover peers beneath moon’s farside,” which details new geologic evidence that could help scientists understand why the lunar nearside and farside look so different.

Dissecting diagrams

Students will explore the value of diagrams, what information they should include and how to draw them. This discussion can be used with any science- or engineering-related article that contains a diagram.

Geologist for a day

Rocks found across the world offer clues to geological processes, as well as the history of Earth and the rest of the solar system. In this activity, students will review types of rocks and the rock cycle and will apply that knowledge to interpret data on two rock samples.

Ten top science stories from 2019

Students will answer questions about one of Science News’ Top 10 stories of 2019.

Lunar orbit

Students will practice analyzing and graphing data about the moon’s orbit. The activity will help students understand the Earth-moon system and the nature of elliptical orbits.

How are elements created?

Students will explore how elements are created — in nature and in the lab — while focusing on the concepts of atomic structure, stability and stellar evolution.

Stellar smashup creates elements

Students will answer questions based on the Science News article “Strontium found in neutron star crash.”

A Nobel timeline in tweets

Students will track the scientific progress associated with a discovery or advance that was awarded a Nobel Prize by creating a timeline of key events and players.