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May 14, 2021

Can machine learning provide better diagnoses—and be used as a tool for justice in healthcare? Plus, more on the CDC announcement that fully vaccinated people can unmask often. And, how Elon Musk’s Neuralink fits into neurotechnology research.

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Educational Resource

Mineral Madness

Geologists are greatly interested in minerals because they can reveal an enormous amount about the history of the geologic environment in which they are found. Geologists can classify and identify minerals by observing various properties such as streak, hardness, luster and, in some cases, fluorescence. In this activity, students will examine 10 mineral specimens and explore the different properties that minerals exhibit.

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Geek My Pumpkin

Maniac Pumpkin Carvers Marc and Chris carve hundreds of pumpkins each fall, which go for a few hundred bucks and rarely end up on stoops. They gave us some tips for how to bring our pumpkins to the next level this Halloween.

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Video

Spinning Eggs In Space

NASA astronaut Don Pettit did science experiments in Space that interested him–like testing whether raw and hard-boiled eggs spin differently in space (as they do on Earth).

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Educational Resource

Termite Symbiosis

In this activity, students will sort and classify interactions between pairs of organisms under the appropriate symbiotic relationship of commensalism, parasitism, and mutualism. Then students will observe mutualism in action, as they perform a termite dissection.

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Educational Resource

Wind Power

In this activity, students will discuss the differences between the Bear Creek Wind Park and Bergey Windpower turbines. Students will learn the basic parts of a wind turbine and then build their own model wind turbine out of recyclable materials. Students will test their model wind turbines using three different-sized blades to determine which size harnesses the most wind.

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Educational Resource

Colorful Chromosomes

In this activity, students review how human physical traits, such as eye color, are determined by specific segments of genes. Students will use basic crafts materials to build a simplified model of a pair of chromosomes that represents some of their own physical traits. Then students will compare and contrast their models, to determine which traits are most frequently found among their classmates and therefore can be called high frequency traits.

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Educational Resource

Fossil Detectives

In this activity, students will learn about the two main types of fossils, body and trace fossils. Students will observe and examine a set of fossils to classify them as body fossils and trace fossils. Students also will act as paleontologists and try to identify each fossil.

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Video

Solar Spotting

Using the Swedish Solar Telescope, a ground-based observatory, Goran Scharmer and colleagues probe the penumbra—that’s the stringy structure around the perimeter of the dark part of the sunspot.

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Educational Resource

Delicious Smelling Chemistry

Use household materials to investigate and explore your ability to smell an odor, then compare and contrast results to determine if some individuals have a better sense of smell than others. Observe the Maillard reaction and how different odor molecules are released into the air.

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