The Science Teacher

The monthly magazine of the National Science Teachers Association. Articles cover innovations in science and science teaching methods.

Articles from Vol. 79, No. 5, Summer

Ancient Eruption Signals a Wet Mars
Mars's atmosphere is less than 1% the density of Earth's, which is one reason why water can't exist on the Red Planet. But research suggests Mars may have had water in its past, so scientists have increased their studies on the density of its atmosphere...
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Current Research: 2012 Summer Reading Suggestions
Compiled by NSTA's Committee on Research in Science Education, the Association for Science Teacher Education, the National Association for Research on Science Teaching, and the National Science Education Leadership Association. To supplement your...
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Designer Clothes That Repel Mosquitos
A Cornell University scientist and an apparel designer from Africa have together created a fashionable hooded bodysuit embedded at the molecular level with insecticides for warding off mosquitoes infected with malaria, a disease estimated to kill 655,000...
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Early Humans Lived with Giant Beasts
A new University of Florida study provides evidence that humans reached the Western Hemisphere during the last ice age and lived alongside giant, now-extinct mammals. The study, published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, addresses the...
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Editor's Corner
Big Ideas Science curricula are often criticized for being a mile wide and an inch deep. In an age of ever-expanding scientific knowledge, teachers can be forgiven for wanting to expose students to both the traditional science content--itself difficult...
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EVO Teachers Guide: Ten Questions Everyone Should Ask about Evolution
EVO Teachers Guide: Ten Questions Everyone Should Ask About Evolution By Rodger W. Bybee and John Feldman $15.95. 74 pp. NSTA Press, Arlington, VA. 2012. ISBN: 9781936137343 These 10 lessons complement the DVD of the same name and sold...
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Family Engineering
Family Engineering By Mia Jackson, David Heil, Joan Chadde, and Neil Hutzler $39.95. 115 pp. Foundation for Family Science and Engineering, Portland, OR. 2011. ISBN: 9780615493664. Hosting a community family engineering event can be intimidating,...
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Groundwater Pumping Raises Sea Levels
As people pump groundwater for irrigation, drinking water, and industrial uses, the water doesn't just seep back into the ground--it also evaporates or runs off into rivers and canals, eventually emptying into the world's oceans. This water adds up,...
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Growing Water Pearls: Teaching Big Ideas on a Shoestring Budget
Science teachers can find lesson ideas almost anywhere. For example, during a recent visit to a local dollar store (i.e., "the science teacher's best friend"), I stumbled upon a flower vase filled with water pearls, also known as water beads and jelly...
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Hatchery Fish Threaten Wild Fish
A newly published collection of more than 20 studies by leading university scientists and government fishery researchers in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Russia, and Japan provides mounting evidence that salmon raised in...
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Idea Bank
The Nuts and Bolts of Enzymes Knowing how enzymes work is fundamental to understanding chemical reactions that occur at the organismal and cellular level. Enzymes are important biological catalysts that make the basic chemical processes of life...
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Joseph Hooker: Botanical Trailblazer
Joseph Hooker: Botanical Trailblazer By Pat Griggs $17. 64 pp. University Of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL. 2012. ISBN: 9781842464694 This is the story of a trailblazer, British botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker. The book takes us on a delightful...
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Lupus
Lupus By Karin Rhines $34.60. 112 pp. Lerner Publications, Minneapolis. 2012. ISBN: 9780822585824. From the pages of USA Today, this book provides current information about the disease of lupus. Case studies of three people living with lupus...
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Making the Argument: Students Use a Free, Authoritative Online Resource for Environmental Health Issues That Supports Argument-Based Inquiry
The effects of environmental pollutants on human and environmental health are a growing concern. Several years after Hurricane Katrina, water quality continued to be monitored in New Orleans (Roper, Weiss, and Wheeler 2008). First responders to the...
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Plaque Shows What Past Populations Ate
While many modern humans brush and floss plaque (also known as tartar or dental calculus) from their teeth, some anthropologists are rejoicing that past civilizations may not have practiced such careful dental hygiene. University of Nevada, Reno,...
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Plastic Trash Altering Ocean Habitats
A 100-fold upsurge in humanproduced plastic garbage in the ocean is altering habitats in the marine environment, according to a new study led by a graduate student researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego. In 2009 an...
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Proline Plus Pipettes
Specifications Manufacturer: Biohit, Inc. Price: $221 Website: www.us.biohit.com Grade level: high school, college While mechanical, single-channel, adjustable-volume pipettes are most commonly found in research laboratories, I use them...
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Regenerating Body Parts
The summer 2012 action film, "The Amazing Spider-Man," features a villain called the Lizard, a former surgeon who, after losing an arm, experimented with cell generation and reptilian DNA until he could grow back his missing limb. Someday such regeneration...
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Reptiles and Amphibians
Reptiles and Amphibians By Tim Harris $35.65. 64 pp. Black Rabbit Books, Mankato, MN. 2011. ISBN: 9781936333363. Reptiles and amphibians are ectothermic vertebrates that display a wide diversity of lifestyles, shapes, structures, and colors....
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Safer Science
Clean and Green Cleaning methods in schools are facing a "green" revolution. Commercial cleaners used for decades are giving way to safer and healthier alternatives. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is encouraging sustainable practices...
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Science 2.0
Big Tools for Teaching Big Ideas The biggest idea in the universe is useless until it can be shared. Luckily that's now easier than ever. Today's teachers have many stable, powerful communications tools that give their internet-connected classrooms...
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Small Crop Plants Hold Big Promise
Tall, waving corn fields that line Midwestern roads may one day be replaced by dwarfed versions that require less water and fertilizer, thanks to a fungicide commonly used on golf courses. Burkhard Schulz, a Purdue University assistant professor...
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Sports Technology
Sports Technology By Stewart Ross $34.25. 48 pp. Black Rabbit Books, Mankato, MN. 2011. ISBN: 9781599205342. The hardbound, short (46 pages including glossary and index) New Technology series, designed for 8th-grade (or stronger) readers,...
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SUMMER READING THAT INSPIRES: Recharge Your Motivational Batteries with Books Suggested by NSTA Recommends Reviewers
Why did you decide on science as a career? For many, it was the inspiration of a mentor or model--an explorer who could communicate excitement and a sense of adventure to others. During the school year, teachers take on that role of motivator for students....
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Teaching for Creativity: Modify Existing Lessons and Labs to Promote Creativity in Your Classroom
Science teachers are often content to leave creativity to the arts and humanities classes. Fostering creativity in science, if attempted at all, is a challenge often relegated to the gifted classroom. But not just the privileged few have the capacity...
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The Green Room
The Ecology of Food Nowadays, we can eat almost any food item we want regardless of the season. Want a kiwi in South Carolina in December? No problem. But what agricultural and technological hurdles do we jump to make that possible? Food is a crucial...
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The Guppy Game: Understanding the Big Ideas of Natural and Sexual Selection
Adaptation, interactions between species and their environments, and change over time are fundamental principles in biology (NRC 1996). They represent aspects of two of the big ideas in science: evolution and natural selection (NRC 2011). To help students...
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The New Teacher's Toolbox
Summertime Musings of a Former New Teacher With summer often comes a host of emotions for teachers: satisfaction over completing the school year, regret for poor decisions made, resolve to start fresh in the fall, yearning for rest and relaxation,...
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White Dwarf Stars Caught Eating Exoplanets
University of Warwick astrophysicists have pinpointed four white dwarf stars surrounded by dust from shattered planetary bodies which once bore striking similarities to the composition of the Earth. Using the Hubble Space Telescope for the biggest...
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