High rise building with green space on top.

It’s a Jungle Up There

Ever heard the term “it’s a jungle out there”? Cities of the future might be just that. Landscape architects are busy designing living walls and green roofs in cities around the world. And the benefits of doing so are extensive. (ASK magazine, July/August 2013) Download pdf: It’s a Jungle Up There

Download classroom activities: It’s a Jungle Up There supplement (Grades 1 to 5)

Washing hands with soap and water

Some dirt won’t hurt

Not only is it okay to get dirty, it may even reduce risk of asthma and allergies. Find out why (and how to clean up properly after playing outdoors). (Science News Explores, Online. July 17, 2013; reprinted in Muse, November/December 2014)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Purple sea urchins and a red sea star

Caught in the act

How do species adapt to a changing environment? Scientists observe species  in the process of evolving. (Science News Explores, Online. December 11, 2013)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Frame of honey comb covered in bees.

Why are bees vanishing?

Scientists find a combination of threats, from pesticides to climate change, may explain declining bee populations.   (Science News Explores, Online. January 10, 2014)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Layers of rock that have been pushed up at an angle.

How people have been shaping the earth

Humans are now the biggest driving force shaping the planet. So much so that scientists are considering renaming our current time period to reflect that influence. (Science News Explores, Online. October 17, 2014)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Mexico City sitting a brown cloud of pollution.

Nano air pollutants strike a blow to the brain

Scientists track super-small pollutants into the brain, where they can cause damage similar to that in people with Alzheimer’s disease. (Science News Explores, Online. December 17, 2014)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Clump of plastics washed up on shore

Tiny plastic, big problem

Scientists find that tiny pieces of plastic travel great distances and wind up inside marine animals, threatening the ocean’s ecosystems. (Science News Explores, Online. April 10, 2015)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Hands holding a clump of healthy soil

The dirt on soil

What lies beneath your feet? More than you ever imagined. Get the dirt on soil and all of the important roles it plays in everything from food to floods to climate change. (Science News Explores, Online. October 16, 2015)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Bio Bus

Powered by poop and pee?

Imagine riding on a bus powered by the stuff you flush down the toilet. One such bus actually exists. It’s just one possible use of human waste as a renewable source of energy. (Science News Explores, Online. February 5, 2016)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Satellite image of eastern United States at night.

Night lights have a dark side

Bright lights at night create light pollution, which alters animal behavior (including our own) and may even lead to diseases like cancer. The good news? It’s the easiest kind of pollution to control. (Science News Explores, Online. July 27, 2017)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Planet Earth surrounded by recycling bins of different colors.

A Trash-Free Future?

Can you imagine a world without trash? It’s possible, but it will take some creative thinking and creative building. One day, we might repair, reuse, and recycle everything. Take a glimpse of this trash-free future. (March 2019) Download pdf: A Trash-Free Future?

Download classroom activities: A Trash-Free Future? supplement (Grades 1 to 5)

Wave curls over as it breaks.

Ocean energy could be the wave of the future

Scientists are harvesting the power of waves to generate clean, renewable energy. Find out how this new technology is making a splash. (Science News Explores, Online. May 30, 2019)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Conservation dog Jax wears a red vest as he works in a field of dried grass.

Conservation is going to the dogs

Detection dogs are the newest tool in the conservation toolbox. These high-energy, ball-crazy dogs seek out scents that help biologists study otherwise hard-to-find critters, plants, and even diseases. Learn more about these conservation canines and how they’re helping ecosystems around the world. (Science News Explores, Online. April 2, 2020)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Coastal wetland

Soggy coastal soils? Here’s why ecologists love them

Coastal wetlands are more than just a bunch of wet land. They’re critical habitats for plants and animals–and they provide essential protection against storm surges and rising sea levels. (Science News Explores, Online. September 17, 2020)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Tasmanian devil walking through tall grasses

Rewilding returns lost species to strengthen ecosystems

Scientists are turning to animals to help them restore ecosystems. Returning species to areas where they once lived can restore ecosystem health, slow climate change, improve water quality, protect against wildfires, and more. (Science News Explores, Online. January 6, 2022)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Diverse garden of native plants and rock.

Making yards more diverse can reap big environmental benefits

Replacing grass with native plants uses less water and fewer chemicals while providing additional benefits to people and wildlife. (Science News Explores, Online. June 1, 2023)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

Green space with grass in the foreground and trees in the distance under a blue sky with a few clouds.

Spending time in green spaces can provide big health benefits

Walking through a park or playing in a yard can make you feel better, both mentally and physically. Here’s how — and evidence it works for people at any age. (Science News Explores, Online. September 28, 2023)

Classroom discussion questions (Grades 6 and up)

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