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Mathematical models of a dog’s age

Students will define, apply and analyze a new mathematical model for determining dog age in human years before comparing it to an old version of the model. Then, students will give examples of mathematical models in other fields and think about models’ benefits and limitations.

Old dog, new math

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Calculating a dog’s age in human years is harder than you think,” which explores how scientists used molecular biology to more accurately compare canine aging with human aging. A version of the story, “Calculating a dog’s age requires a bit more math,” can be found in the August 15, 2020 issue of Science News.

Taking notes and creating visual summaries

This activity asks students to practice two literacy skills: note-taking and summarizing. Note-taking helps students identify and remember important information, enhancing comprehension as they read. Creating a visual summary encourages students to consolidate and communicate key information.

The home as laboratory

Science isn’t done just in a laboratory. Observing phenomena and collecting data in the real world are key parts of the scientific effort. This activity, designed for at-home learning, encourages students to collect and analyze data in their own homes to develop a research question for future exploration.

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.

Collaborating to stop an epidemic

Students will imagine that they are officers at the World Health Organization and will work in groups to develop action plans to prevent the spread of a new virus, such as coronavirus.

The truth about bats and viruses

Students will answer questions about the Science News article “Why bat viruses are so dangerous,” which explores how the animals’ immune defenses might lead to killer human pathogens.

The path from outbreak to pandemic

Students will explore the definitions of outbreak, epidemic and pandemic and research how an outbreak becomes an epidemic or pandemic.

Protective headgear design challenge

Concussions are a common sports injury. After reviewing Newton’s laws of motion, force diagrams, momentum, and elastic and inelastic collisions, students will test various materials that might protect the head from sports collisions and use those materials to design protective headgear.

The difficult path to diagnosis

Doctors often have to diagnose an injury or disease based on incomplete information. In this discussion, students will explore how symptoms and other biological information — including protein biomarkers in particular — can help doctors identify a problem and recommend a treatment.

Searching for concussion clues

Students will answer questions about the Science News article “Concussion leaves clues in the blood,” which examines the search for a better way to diagnose concussions.