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Castleton Tower, a sandstone formation near Moab, Utah

Climbers Help Scientists Vibe With Utah’s Rocks

In this guide, students will learn about a citizen science project that is helping scientists better understand the physical properties of rock formations. Students will then explore other citizen science projects that they could participate in based on their hobbies and interests.

Joining forces for rock science

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “How climbers help scientists vibe with Utah’s famous red rock formations,” which describes how researchers teamed up with rock climbers to collect data that can help assess the seismic stability of red rock formations in Utah. A version of the article, “Climbers help scientists vibe with Utah’s rocks,” appears in the April 23, 2022 issue of Science News.
image of wildfire haze over the Golden Gate bridge and the San Francisco skyline

Wildfires May Boost Urban Ozone Levels

In this guide, students will explore chemical interactions within wildfire smoke and how urban air pollution can influence the reactions.

Chemistry of wildfire smoke

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Wildfire smoke may ramp up toxic ozone production in cities,” which explores new research into the interactions between wildfire smoke and air pollution in cities. A version of the article, “Wildfires may boost urban ozone levels,” appears in the January 15, 2022 issue of Science News.

Where there’s smoke, there’s science

Students will discuss the composition and properties of air and wildfire smoke, and explore how substances in smoke react to ramp up a certain type of air pollution.

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.

How a scientific theory is born

Students will discuss the development of the theory of plate tectonics to determine how scientific theories are created.

Earth on the move

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “How the Earth-shaking theory of plate tectonics was born,” which explores how scientists formed the theory of plate tectonics. A version of the story, “Shaking up Earth,” can be found in the January 16, 2021 issue of Science News.

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.

Zone in on the ocean

Students will explore how the ocean environment changes with depth and how various organisms’ physical traits allow the organisms to thrive at different depths. Students then will discuss the benefits and limitations of the ocean zone model.

Getting deep with the ocean’s master divers

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A beaked whale’s nearly 4-hour-long dive sets a new record,” which describes a new record for longest dive by a marine mammal, set by the Cuvier’s beaked whale. A version of the story, “Whale’s breathtaking dive impresses,” can be found in the November 7, 2020 issue of Science News.

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.