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Planning ahead to prevent future disasters

Students will take on the role of a planning board for a region identified as having an increased risk for natural hazards — wildfires, floods, droughts, heatwaves or hurricanes — due to climate change. After proposing regulations and other strategies to reduce the natural hazard’s impact, the students will discuss the merits of the proposed solutions before voting on a disaster plan and budget for their region.

Neuroscience fiction and fact

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Three visions of the future, inspired by neuroscience’s past and present,” which explores how advances in the field of neuroscience are bringing scientists closer to expanding, linking and healing human brains. A version of the story, “Our brains, our futures,” can be found in the March 13, 2021 issue of Science News.

Building better brains?

Students will explore advances in neurotechnology by making connections between examples they’ve seen in popular culture and what is currently possible. Students will then think critically about positive and negative effects of advancements in this area of science.

COVID-19 lessons for colleges

Students will explore and analyze various approaches some universities have taken to manage the COVID-19 pandemic on their campuses before comparing the strategies to those used at their own school.

COVID-19 goes to college

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “How 5 universities tried to handle COVID-19 on campus,” which explores five universities’ strategies for monitoring and stemming the spread of the coronavirus on campuses. A version of the story, “COVID-19 on campus,” appears in the February 27, 2021 issue of Science News.

Building better boxes based on beetles

In this activity, students will learn about the seemingly indestructible diabolical ironclad beetle and review Newton’s laws of motion and force diagrams. Then, students will design, build and test crush-resistant packaging using biomimetics, the practice of solving problems using solutions inspired by biological structures and systems.

How a scientific theory is born

Students will discuss the development of the theory of plate tectonics to determine how scientific theories are created.

Earth on the move

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “How the Earth-shaking theory of plate tectonics was born,” which explores how scientists formed the theory of plate tectonics. A version of the story, “Shaking up Earth,” can be found in the January 16, 2021 issue of Science News.

Pandemic reflection

Students will review a timeline of major events related to the COVID-19 pandemic and discuss lingering questions about the pandemic. With a partner, students will reflect on how the pandemic has affected their life and what changes the near future may bring.

The joy of science

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “From Elvis worms to the Milky Way’s edge, these science stories sparked joy in 2020,” which summarizes Science News stories from 2020 that provided a happy distraction from the world’s worries. A version of the story, “Stories that sparked joy,” can be found in the December 19, 2020 & January 2, 2021 issue of Science News.

How bias affects scientific research

Students will study types of bias in scientific research and in applications of science and engineering, and will identify the effects of bias on research conclusions and on society. Then, students will discuss how biases can be eliminated — or at least recognized and addressed — and develop bias prevention guidelines of their own.

Ancient women hunted big game too

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Female big-game hunters may have been surprisingly common in the ancient Americas,” which describes how a woman buried with hunting tools thousands of years ago is challenging scientists’ ideas of ancient gender roles. A version of the story, “Early American women hunted game,” can be found in the December 5, 2020 issue of Science News.