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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.

Starting small to curb climate change

When it comes to fighting global warming, it’s hard to know where to start. How can individuals make meaningful contributions to this effort? This activity, designed for in-class or at-home learning, encourages students to find ways they can reduce their own carbon footprints, as well as help others work toward the same goal.
Tongue-dwelling bacteria

Where Bacteria Live On Our Tongues

In this guide, students will learn about bacterial communities on the human tongue and use existing knowledge of interspecific interactions to create metaphors about relationships in the students’ own communities. In an activity, students will practice note-taking and summarizing skills.

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.

Taking a bacterial census

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Here’s where bacteria live on your tongue cells,” which maps how bacteria build communities on human cells. A version of the story, “Where bacteria live on our tongues,” can be found in the April 25, 2020 issue of Science News.

Ecological relationship status

Students will use their knowledge of interspecific interactions to explore bacterial communities on human tongue cells. Then, students will apply those concepts to create metaphors for relationships in their own community.
small dinosaur

A Tiny Dino and Iron Rain

In this guide, students will learn about the smallest-known Mesozoic dinosaur and use phase diagrams to explore meteorology on an exoplanet. In an activity, students will collect and analyze data in their own homes. Editor’s Note: A study included in this guide has been retracted. Please see the comprehension questions for more detail.

Sizing up a dinosaur

Students will answer questions about the Science News article “This ancient dinosaur was no bigger than a hummingbird,” which reports on a fossil of a many-toothed, Mesozoic predator.
Egyptian fruit bat

Why Bat Viruses Are So Dangerous

This guide will help students understand how viruses in other animals can infect people, sometimes leading to epidemics or pandemics. In a group activity, students will imagine they are health officials developing action plans to prevent or stop an epidemic.

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.

Cats and Punnett squares

Scientists would like to breed cats that don’t trigger allergies in people. By constructing and analyzing a Punnett square for two low-allergen cats, students will review key concepts including patterns and probabilities of inheritance, genotype, phenotype, genes, alleles, chromosomes and mutations.