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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.

Getting ready for lift-off

Students will answer questions about the online Science News article “When James Webb launches, it will have a bigger to-do list than 1980s researchers suspected,” which details the long journey of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to make it into space to explore other galaxies. A version of the story, “The origami satellite,” appears in the October 9, 2021 & October 23, 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.
erupting volcano

Shaking up Earth

In this guide, students will learn about the development of the theory of plate tectonics and discuss how scientific theories are formed.

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.

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.
International Space Station

Bacteria Can Survive for Years in Space

In this guide, students will learn about research conducted aboard the International Space Station and develop their own research question that could be explored on the space station.