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image of a hand snapping on a yellow backdrop

Camera Captures Physics in a Snap

In this guide, students will learn about an experiment inspired by the movie Avengers: Infinity War that investigates the role of friction in a successful finger snap. Students will then apply their scientific knowledge to assess scientific accuracy in movies and other media.

Science in a snap

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “New high-speed video reveals the physics of a finger snap,” which details scientists’ exploration of the friction required for finger snapping. A version of the article, “Camera captures physics in a snap,” appears in the December 18, 2021 & January 1, 2022 issue of Science News.

Science on screen

Students will discuss the physics of finger snapping and apply their scientific knowledge to think critically about the scientific accuracy of movies and online demonstrations.

How ducklings dodge drag

Students will discuss the physics of drag using real-world examples.

Quacking the physics of duckling swimming

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Here’s the physics of why ducklings swim in a row behind their mother,” which details how baby ducks save energy by surfing their mom’s waves. A version of the article, “Why baby ducks swim in a line,” appears in the November 20, 2021 issue of Science News.
image of a letter written by Marie Antoinette with a blacked out section next to an image of the same letter where the blacked out section is visible

Marie Antoinette’s Letters Are Uncensored by X-rays

In this guide, students will learn how scientists used chemistry to unravel a historical mystery and discuss the uses and limitations of spectroscopy.

Solving a French Revolution mystery with chemistry

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “Ink analysis reveals Marie Antoinette’s letters’ hidden words and who censored them,” which details how scientists used chemistry to unravel a mystery from the French Revolution. A version of the article, “Marie Antoinette’s letters are uncensored by X-rays,” appears in the November 6, 2021 issue of Science News.

Revealing secrets with spectroscopy

Students will discuss how spectroscopy relates to atomic structure, how the technology can help solve historical mysteries and the limitations and ethics of such work.

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.

Speaking of science

Students will investigate animals that regenerate, discuss how energy plays a role in the process and think about why scientists might be interested in studying animal regeneration. Students will use what they’ve learned to write a script and narrate a Science News video of regenerating sea slugs.

Sluggish regeneration

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “A sea slug’s detached head can crawl around and grow a whole new body,” which explores how some sea slugs regenerate. A version of the story, “No body is no problem for detached sea slug heads,” appears in the April 10, 2021 issue of Science News.

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.