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Arguing from evidence

Students will discuss how a scientific argument uses evidence and reasoning to support a claim. Then, students will compare that process with their own experience of constructing a personal argument.

A bridge to conservation

Students will learn about the effects of habitat fragmentation on a critically endangered species, explore scientists’ process for designing and engineering a solution to the problem, and discuss the importance of conservation.

Gibbons learn the ropes

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A rope bridge restored a highway through the trees for endangered gibbons,” which describes how researchers helped critically endangered Hainan gibbons in China navigate a gully after a landslide. A version of the story, “A rope bridge restored an ape highway,” can be found in the November 21, 2020 issue of Science News.

Forging paths to STEM success

Students will explore careers in STEM by analyzing and comparing a profile of an SN 10 scientist with that of a scientist highlighted in the Science News for Students “Cool Jobs” collection. Students will think about how the profiles cover the scientists’ personal histories, research and other factors that led the scientists to successful careers in STEM. Then students will reflect on their own STEM goals and possible journey.

Mission to Mars

Students will develop a design for an exploratory Mars mission to gather and study data about one aspect of Mars. The ultimate goal of the mission will be to gather data to help plan for a future human-crewed mission to Mars.

Space for research

Students will learn about the International Space Station and research done by astronauts aboard the space station, and come up with their own research question that could be explored in space.

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.

Chemicals cue behavior

Students will explore the chemical makeup of pheromones, how the chemicals may cue species behavior and why it’s important for scientists to study such information. Students will answer questions related to the pheromone discussed in the Science News article before applying the same questions to a pheromone of their choice.

The science of locust swarms

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A single molecule may entice normally solitary locusts to form massive swarms,” which describes a compound used in locust congregation that might also be used to control the pests. A version of the story, “Chemical coaxes locusts to swarm,” can be found in the September 12, 2020 issue of Science News.

Visual models for how a virus spreads

Students will analyze visual displays of data about clusters of coronavirus cases and work in groups to develop their own visual model of virus spread. Then, students will discuss how the way data are displayed affect data interpretation, and how the displays might inform public health decisions.

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.