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origami satellite james webb

The Origami Satellite

In this guide, students will learn about NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope and discuss how scientific advances have shaped the telescope’s mission.

Unlocking universal questions

Students will discuss the mission of the James Webb Space Telescope and explore how scientific discoveries over the last few decades have shaped the telescope’s to-do list.

The significance of simulations

Students will discuss the purpose, benefits and challenges of using computer simulations in scientific research. Then, students will brainstorm a real-world issue that could be investigated with a computer simulation and think about how the simulation would work.

Ready to rumble

Students will answer questions about the online Science News “Greece’s Santorini volcano erupts more often when sea level drops,” which describes how a computer simulation revealed a hidden relationship between sea level and a volcano’s explosive history. A version of the story, “Sea level dips spur volcanic eruptions,” appears in the August 28, 2021 issue of Science News.
clouds of Jupiter

Physics Helps Alien Rain Stay In Shape

In this guide, students will learn how the laws of physics shape rain on other planets and explore how molecules interact within alien raindrops.

Sizing up alien rain

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “How the laws of physics constrain the size of alien raindrops,” which explores a new model for rain on planets across the Milky Way. A version of the story, “Physics helps alien rain stay in shape,” appears in the May 8, 2021 & May 22, 2021 issue of Science News.

Modeling molecules in alien rain

Students will compare and contrast rain on Earth with rain on other planets and practice drawing molecular structures of various rain substances to examine the substances' physical and chemical properties. Students will use that information, along with the planetary conditions needed to form rain, to create a short weather forecast for one planet.

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.

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.

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.

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.