Teach about science in the news in 2020

What do wildfires, drought, and extreme weather have in common? All these events in the news can be doorways to exploring weather, climate, and more with your students. NSTA’s Book Beat issue this month features lessons by NSTA Press authors that will help you teach timely topics your students may have on their minds at the start of this new year.

Wildfires and drought

Cover image of NSTA Press book "Big Data, Small Devices"
Big Data, Small Devices, by Donna Governor, Michael Bowen, and Eric Brunsell

News coverage of the bushfires in Australia raises questions about why and how wildfires spread and what might be done to combat them. Download the lesson “Wildfires” from Big Data, Small Devices: Investigating the Natural World Using Real-Time Data to help grade 3-12 students determine whether there is a correlation between drought and wildfires using data from online databases. Along the way, students explore the role of water in Earth’s surface processes and natural hazards while analyzing and interpreting data. For additional lessons related to climate change and data analysis, check out Understanding Climate Change, Grades 7–12.

Climate and location

Book cover of "Argument-Driven Inquiry in Third-Grade Science"
Argument-Driven Inquiry in Third-Grade Science, by Victor Sampson and Ashley Murphy

Elementary students can learn about weather patterns and climate as well as how latitude affects climate during the lesson “Climate and Location: How Does the Climate Change as One Moves From the Equator Toward the Poles?” from Argument-Driven Inquiry in Third-Grade Science: Three-Dimensional Investigations.This lesson gives students the opportunity to describe and predict the patterns in the seasons of the year and then use their developing understanding of patterns to help them figure out how latitude affects climate. For more lessons like this related to Earth science, biology, and physical science, visit the Argument-Driven Inquiry series page to download sample lessons.

Understanding environmental impacts on species

Discovery Engineering in Biology, by Rebecca Hite and coauthors

Climate change threatens the survival of many species, especially those that overheat in higher temperatures. Help your students explore this current issue through “Triumph of the Pika: Understanding Environmental Impacts on Species,”  a lesson about pikas (an animal related to rabbits) from the newly released book Discovery Engineering in Biology: Case Studies for Grades 6–12. This case-study lesson begins with a surprise discovery by scientists that a pika population survived a wildfire that destroyed an entire forest. Through examining this case, students will learn how we obtained valuable information about the pika’s survival, information that may help us protect wildlife in the face of climate change. Be sure to also check out the other book in this series, Discovery Engineering in Physical Science: Case Studies for Grades 6–12.

Celebrate the new year with 20 percent off these 20 new NSTA Press books

NSTA Press is offering 20% off our 20 newest books and e-books through January 31, 2020. Use promotion code NEW20 when ordering and visit our page that lists the eligible books you can choose from. Offer is valid on purchases made through the online Science Store and shipped to U.S. addresses and may not be combined with other offers. Find your next science-teaching resource and save.

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