Science in the News

As summer break will soon be coming to a close for many, take this time to squeeze in some last-minute, at-home learning or prep for being back in the classroom. Some very exciting discoveries in the scientific world have happened recently, so why not draw inspiration from these for your K-12 learners? Recent findings have been in fields that include climate change, animal behavior, and human sleep cycles. Take a look!

One study found that artificial light can disrupt our bodies' natural internal clocks by thowing off when we produce melatonin, a hormone that makes us sleepy. If we choose to stay up later than our bodies normally would, the artificial lights we use after dark keep us awake longer, but also keep us sleepy after we wake up. Luckily, the study also found that by staying away from artificial light and using only the sun as a light source for just one week, the body's disrupted internal clock can be restored. Learn more about sleep cycles with our Too Bright at Night? lesson (grades 6-8), Adolescent Sleep lesson (grades 9-12), and our Sleep & Gene Expression Science Update (grades 6-12).

Another study in Science found an interesting link between climate change and human behavior: it found that during time periods that have been either hotter or wetter than normal, human conflict and violence have also increased. The researchers looked at data spanning thousands of years the world over to find this correlative relationship. They predict that with global warming in the coming years, increased conflict may be one more side effect from this change in climate. For more on climate change, check out our Early Climate Change Science Update (grades 6-12), The Magic Schoolbus and The Climate Challenge (grades 3-5), and our Communicating and Learning About Global Climate Change video (grades 6-12).

Finally, a very cute and also interesting study found that dogs have the ability to copy humans' behavior by directly observing and remembering an action after some time. This was previously thought to be a complex behavioral ability that only humans and apes had. Be sure to watch the adorable video of the "copycat dog" at the link, and learn more about animal behavior with our Pets: Oh Behave (grades 6-8), Animal Communication (grades 6-8), and The Beagle Brigade (grades 6-8) lessons.

We'll be updating with many new resources in the coming weeks to get ready for the upcoming school year. Be sure to follow and like us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Tumblr to stay in touch!

Image credit: Martin Harvey/Alamy via science magazine


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