How to use this site in the classroom | Science News for Students

How to use this site in the classroom

Founded in 2003, Science News for Students is an award-winning online publication dedicated to providing age-appropriate, topical science news to learners, parents and educators.

SNS

Science News for Students publishes stories about recent research across the full breadth of STEM fields. We offer several types of articles, blog posts and weekly features. Each article is associated with additional content that can aid the classroom.

Stories are grouped into topics, such as “space,” “life & evolution” or “math & technology.” Each topic includes assorted subtopics. “Space,” for example, includes the subtopics astronomy — the science of the cosmos, planets — which focuses on the solar system and exoplanets, and space — reports on spacecraft and missions. Each topic and subtopic can be viewed in the dropdown menu at the top left of the page. Articles also can be searched by keywords using the search bar at the top right of the page.

In addition, many additional resources accompany stories to boost their impact in classrooms and on overall science literacy (see below).

Article Types

News Stories: The latest in science news, written for everyone. These are shorter news pieces (typically 350 to 800 words), usually focused on a single research study or advance.

Features: Published weekly, these longer pieces (around 1,300 to 1,800 words) have a broader focus, and include reference to several scientists and research projects.

Explainers: What are tectonic plates? What is a computer model? Why does El Nĩno happen? SNS offers explainers on many topics, from areas of the brain to the greenhouse effect. Each is designed to help teens and others understand science news and research. Look for these explainers in convenient sidebars within news stories and features.

Cool Jobs: Scientists aren’t just people working in labs wearing white lab coats. This series offers dozens of feature-length articles about careers in science, technology, engineering and math. From scientists who study volcanoes to those who study art, crime scenes or pets, this series has something for everyone. Since September 2015, Arconic Foundation has offered its generous support to greatly expand the Cool Jobs series.

Invention and Innovation: Students today are growing up amidst a proliferation of new technologies. This series offers news stories on the latest in scientific innovations from wet suits inspired by sea otters to tiny robots that work in teams. This series is made possible with generous support from the Lemelson Foundation.

Features for educators: What role does creativity play in research? What’s “wrong” with the scientific method? What benefits come from making mistakes? What’s the difference between mentors and role models as inspirations in STEM? How can educators incorporate current events in the classroom? These and other topics are covered in occasional features geared expressly for educators. They can be found in the “Careers and Teaching” subtopic of “For Educators.”

How to get into research: Many students are stymied on how to find a research project for a science fair or some other activity. The Pathways to Research series offers some suggestions. They can be found in the Educators’ topical page, which you enter from our menu. Choose "Careers and Teaching," then find the subtopic (upper right) that says  “Teaching Science.” Bethany Brookshire also developed a 17-part blog series — Cookie Science — that outlines (from hypothesis generation to publication) how to do science, and do it right. There are even three segments on statistics. You can delve into this under her Eureka! Lab blog or search for the package under the topical headings of “collections.”

Scientists Say: How do you pronounce “zika?” This series on our Eureka! Lab blog features a new term every week. Each is defined, used in context, and accompanies an audio clip so that students can hear how the words are pronounced. Scientists Say fulfills Common Core English Language Arts standards for reading informational text.

Blog posts: Science News for Students incorporates blogs. See them at Eureka! Lab.

On Eureka! Lab, Bethany Brookshire takes students through real scientific research projects, showing them how to apply the scientific method to develop their own experiments. With a background in scientific research and a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology, Bethany takes normal classroom demonstrations and turns them into full experiments, with hypotheses, methods, results and analysis.

Eureka! Lab also include posts about students, scientist or educators conducting their own successful scientific research. Many profiled students have taken their projects to Society for Science & the Public’s competitions — The Broadcom MASTERS, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and the Regeneron Science Talent Search.

Classroom resources

Readability level

Each article includes a readability score at the bottom of the page, indicated by a Flesch-Kincaid grade-level score of 6.0 to 9.0. Articles also can be searched and sorted by readability level and subject, using the search bar at the top right of the page.

Power words

Each article comes with a set of “Power words” located beneath the text. These glossary terms help students understand the scientific words they may encounter in the news and support Common Core English Language Arts standards for reading informational text.

Further readings

Each news and feature article has further readings on the topic listed to the right of the page. These links lead to other SNS articles about similar topics, allowing teens to dig into a topic more deeply, following their scientific curiosity.

Citations

Every article will include a citation to any scientific research paper, report or meeting presentation referred to in the piece. The citation also includes a link, where available, so that educators and students can find the scientific study for more information.

Classroom questions

Each feature-length article contains a link to a series of classroom questions. The questions are broken into groups to be answered before, during and after reading to enhance reading comprehension. Some questions also can be used to stimulate classroom discussions.

Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core

Beginning in fall 2016, stories will contain links to codes related to the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core standards that they support. In addition, stories will be searchable by the appropriate middle-school or high-school codes.

Word find

Each feature-length article also contains a word find puzzle, incorporating Power Words used within the article.

Related stories in Science News

Many SNS stories are based on a story in Science News. Where this occurs, look for a link to that story at the top of the related readings. SN stories tend to use more advanced terms and more complex sentence structures — and thus read at an upper high school to college-level Flesch-Kincaid score. In some instances, educators may wish to have some of their students tackle the SN version. But rest assured, SNS stories are not dumbed down versions of the SN stories. Both contain the same facts, citations and sources. Both also are written by the same team of renowned journalists.

Truly “current events”

Like its sister site, Science News, SNS is a news site. It’s where students and their teachers can come to learn more about breaking news — sometimes within hours of a research paper’s publication or an event occurring. And emerging stories — such as the  Zika outbreak or Pluto flyby — will be covered in a succession of stories over days to weeks, as the material warrants.