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Reimagining plastics recycling

Students will evaluate experimental methods for recycling plastics, gather data about the types of plastics they use at home, research plastics recycling in their community and write a letter to local officials that advocates for improving plastics recycling.

Dig into atomic models

Students will research how knowledge of the atom has changed over time, visually represent a historic atomic model and present that model to the class. Students can also explore the standard model of particle physics and discuss ways it could be depicted.

Think like a science journalist

Students will learn how science journalists develop stories from scientific studies by analyzing a Science News article and the study on which it is based. Then, students will use a scientific study provided by the teacher to write their own news article.

A fair shot

Students will analyze a graph to identify inequities in COVID-19 vaccine access among nations based on wealth, discuss how affluence affects access to and distribution of vaccines as well as how disparities in vaccine distribution affect global pandemic recovery. Students will then work in groups to research COVID-19 vaccine access and distribution in their state or local area, identify potential inequities in vaccine access and distribution and construct a graph of their own.

Get to know your local geology

Students will learn about plate tectonics, research the geologic and tectonic history of their region or state and analyze geologic maps to understand how plate tectonics shaped the landscape.

A century of science podcast

Using the Science News archive for reference, students will make a podcast detailing the developments in an area of science over the last century.

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.

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.

Diversity in science

Students will explore diversity in the STEM community and discuss how future textbooks might highlight the scientific contributions of the women who won the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry. Students also will research and present on the achievements of women in STEM throughout history.

Create a recipe for life

Students will research the conditions necessary for the formation of organic molecules and living things. Working in groups, students will then develop a “recipe” for life based on physical, chemical, geological, astronomical and biological principles. Class discussions will cover the role of interdisciplinary research in studying the origins of life on Earth and searching for life beyond our solar system.

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.

The hunt for other worlds

Students will research exoplanets and their properties and detection methods. Then students will use fictitious data to create a light curve of a transiting exoplanet and to calculate the exoplanet’s motion through its solar system.