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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.
people riding in a backhoe amid flooding in China

Earth Cannot Avoid a Warmer Future

In this guide, students will learn about a United Nations assessment that concludes human-caused climate change is behind extreme weather events. Then, students will discuss and compare climate scenarios and visualize some of the data.

Visualizing climate change scenarios

Students will learn about climate scenarios, analyze a chart of climate change impacts under four scenarios and create a data visualization for one climate change impact.

Looking ahead to a hotter future

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “The new UN climate change report shows there’s no time for denial or delay,” which describes a massive scientific assessment that concludes human-caused climate change is behind extreme weather events. A version of the story, “Earth cannot avoid a warmer future,” appears in the September 11, 2021 issue of Science News.

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.

In hot water

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Earth’s oceans are storing record-breaking amounts of heat,” which explores how the upper oceans’ heat storage capacity has changed over time. A version of the story, “Earth’s oceans broke heat records in 2020,” appears in the February 13, 2021 issue of Science News.

Communicating data

Students will discuss how graphs and quantitative analogies are useful for interpreting and understanding data. Then, students will analyze and compare how effective each strategy is at communicating a scientific claim. As an extension, students may propose an alternative method of displaying or explaining given data.

A bridge to conservation

Students will learn about the effects of habitat fragmentation on a critically endangered species, explore scientists’ process for designing and engineering a solution to the problem, and discuss the importance of conservation.

Gibbons learn the ropes

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A rope bridge restored a highway through the trees for endangered gibbons,” which describes how researchers helped critically endangered Hainan gibbons in China navigate a gully after a landslide. A version of the story, “A rope bridge restored an ape highway,” can be found in the November 21, 2020 issue of Science News.

Get to know the SN 10

Students will answer questions about a scientist featured on Science News’ SN 10: Scientists to Watch list for 2020, which explores the work of 10 early- and mid-career researchers who are tackling some of science’s biggest questions.

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.

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.