Science Scope

Magazine for middle and junior high science teachers, containing teaching tips, instructional reviews, detailed laboratory procedures, posters, professional updates, and association news.

Articles from Vol. 36, No. 8, April-May

Cold Scat Creamery: Using Ice-Cream-Parlor Tricks to Create Fake Scat
Cold Stone Creamery is an ice cream chain that uses mix-ins to make custom ice cream creations for each customer. Patrons first choose an ice cream flavor then select from a variety of items to add to their creation (mix-ins), such as chocolate chips,...
Ecological Investigations within an Interactive Plant Community Simulation
Teaching ecology to middle school students can be challenging because of the vast complexity of possible interactions among key factors in natural living systems. Designing teaching modules that demonstrate such concepts becomes a difficult task. The...
Exemplary Science: Best Practices in Professional Development (Revised 2nd Edition)
Edited by Susan S. Koba and Brenda S. Wojnowski. 2013. $29.95. 268 pp. NSTA Press. Arlington, VA. ISBN: 9781936959075 Thinking of doing professional development but not sure exactly what approach to take? If so, then Exemplary Science: Best Practices...
Exploring Biodiversity's Big Ideas in Your School Yard
We love taking students outside and investigating what lives beneath a log or under a rock in a stream. Students' excitement at and interest in the small creatures they find is something to be cherished and nurtured. Exploring biodiversity in your...
Having pHun with Soils
Through many different iterations of national science standards, teachers have been encouraged to allow their students to learn science by doing their own exploration or inquiry (Achieve 2012; NRC 1996, 2012). Many studies have provided evidence that...
Hightail It out of There!
When people or animals are thrust into threatening situations such as combat or attack by a predator, stress hormones are released to help prepare the organism to defend itself or to rapidly escape from danger--the so-called fight-or-flight response....
Lone Wolf Mystery Solved
Researchers at Australia's University of Adelaide have found the answer to one of natural history's most intriguing puzzles--the origins of the now-extinct Falkland Islands wolf and how it came to be the only land-based mammal on the isolated islands--460...
Natural Disasters: Investigate Earth's Most Destructive Forces with 25 Projects
By Kathleen M. Reilly. 2012. $21.95. 128 pp. Nomad Press. White River Junction, VT. ISBN: 9781619301467 If you want to engage students, talk about interesting and exciting topics, such as natural Disasters--these destructive events mesmerize children....
Respect the Web
Middle school science teachers often use food chains, food webs, and energy pyramids to illustrate the feeding relationships of organisms within an ecosystem. Even so, most students are unaware of the similarities between humans and other living things:...
Science Fair Warm-Up: Learning the Practice of Scientists
By John Haysom. 2012. $12.95 per volume (student books); $15.95 for the teachers guide. NSTA Press. Arlington, VA. ISBN: 9781936959228 This series comprises three student books and a teachers guide. The first student book, for grades 5-8, includes...
Science Meets the Arts
Anyone who has visited a museum of science will recall exhibits depicting wildlife in their natural habitats. These artistic representations give viewers a glimpse of the natural world while also conveying interesting scientific information about individual...
Simulating Biodiversity: The Effects of Human and Environmental Factors
Our students often struggle to understand how human actions and natevents combine to affect the biodiversity of a community of plants and animals over time. As part of a larger unit in which students measure the current biodiversity in their urban...
Sizing Up for Safety
Not the typical classroom Science laboratories are among the most unusual classrooms inside a school because they can be potentially dangerous places to work or learn. There is a multitude of hazards, including harmful chemicals and biological elements,...
Teaching Middle School Students about Biodiversity
Most biologists have had a pivotal experience during which they fell in love with the natural world, whether it was a trip to the woods, the desert, or the ocean. Experiences with nature--especially when accompanied by a knowledgeable guide--can be...
Testing for Toxins Using Daphnia Spp. and Table Salt
There is global concern about the quality of the world's ecosystems--pollution has altered some into toxic environments unable to support normal flora and fauna, which affects humans in many ways. To ensure that our food and available drinking-water...
The Geography of Eclipses
Because our planet and our Moon are positioned where they are with regard to the Sun, we have a regular cycle of both lunar and solar eclipses each year. While both kinds of eclipses are visible, each eclipse is dependent on the position of the Sun,...
The Human Impact on Biodiversity a Case Study with Corn
What exactly is biodiversity, and why is it important to teach in our science classrooms? When we consider biodiversity in an ecosystem, we can think of it as the total amount of variation of life-forms. Naturally, there are inherent differences in...
The Next Generation Science Standards and the Earth and Space Sciences: The Important Features of Earth and Space Science Standards for Elementary, Middle, and High School Levels
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), due to be released this spring, represents a revolutionary step toward establishing modern, national K-12 science education standards. Based on the recommendations of the National Research Council's A Framework...
Using Mathematics to Conduct Social Analyses of Bottlenose Dolphins in Science Classrooms
The study of common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) is largely thought of as a biological science. However, scientists researching these animals often employ methods that also involve technology and mathematics. For example, when investigating...