Topic: Earth and Space Science

Weathering and erosion

Science Middle School

Beach Erosion Threatens Infrastructure

Earth and Space Science Environment Geography Physical Science Ecosystems Human Impacts Oceans

What happens when human structures and nature come into conflict? Ocean Beach in San Francisco is naturally eroding, but the consequence of this shifting shoreline is that a sewage treatment plant is put in peril. Without intervention, raw sewage could be dumped into the ocean. A rock wall has temporarily stabilized the pipeline, but not without complications. Now other solutions are being considered, including construction of an artificial dune.

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Quieting the ocean

Science Middle School

Noises in the Ocean Threaten Marine Animals

Life Science Earth and Space Science Environment Ecosystems Human Impacts Oceans Sound

Oceans have become very loud because of humans. In this public radio story you'll hear some of the things that make the ocean so noisy. Scientists are worried all that noise is hurting marine life. They want to find ways to quiet down the ocean and study what the noise means for marine mammals.

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Mimicking a beetle

Science Middle School

Biomimicry and a Desert Beetle

Life Science Earth and Space Science Engineering Physical Science Ecology

Copying the way a desert beetle gets water, scientists have designed a membrane that can extract water from the air. Since all air contains water, even in the desert, this could provide a very inexpensive way to supply drinking water. This audio story describes an application of the idea of “biomimicry,” or using ideas from nature to solve technological problems. Listen to learn how this idea can help solve the problem of scarce drinking water.

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Fracking and earthquakes

Science Middle School

Research Shows Fracking Causes Earthquakes

Earth and Space Science Environment Ecosystems Geology Energy Forces and Newton's Laws

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is the process of putting liquid into shale to remove natural gas. There's concern that waste water from fracking that is put back into the ground is causing earthquakes. This public radio story explores the relationship between fracking and earthquakes.

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Science Middle School

Microscopic Marine Organisms Can be Beautiful and Deadly

Life Science Earth and Space Science Ecosystems

Dinoflagellates (tiny marine microbes) are extremely common and important for aquatic ecosystems. This public radio story introduces the world of dinoflagellates in a very creative way – through song and a show production! You will learn that dioflagellates can be beautiful if they are involved in bio luminescence but they can also be deadly, when they are involved in red tide.

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Fish sounds

Science Middle School

Fish Sounds Indicate Behavior

Life Science Earth and Space Science Ecosystems Oceans

Marine biologists are studying the sounds that fish make. They believe that sounds are key to understanding fish behavior. This audio story explores how listening to fish may also be a way to help protect them. By studying the sounds that fish make when trying to attract mates and when breeding, biologists may be able to stay clear of them during those times to help them reproduce more productively.

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Cooking up a super volcano

Science Middle School

Cooking Up a Supervolcano

Life Science Earth and Space Science Geology

Giant volcano eruptions are rare, but they are deadly. So scientists are studying two new suspected volcanic “hot spots.” By using seismic waves, a picture has emerged of large regions where intense volcanic activity could emerge in the distant future. This audio story looks at volcanic hot spots and supervolcanoes.

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Cloud seeding

Science Middle School

Cloud Seeding for Weather Modification

Earth and Space Science Environment Weather and Climate Physical Science Agriculture Energy

There is a debate over whether cloud seeding is an efficient way to produce more snow and rain in places where droughts are the worst. Opponents claim that the chemicals that are sprayed into the air to create more water are toxic and could cause health issues in the future. Others believe this is the only way to for some gas and electric companies to obtain more energy. Listen to learn about the other concerns at hand and if this the history of this process.

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Bees and electric fields

Science Middle School

Bees and Electric Fields

Life Science Earth and Space Science Ecosystems Evolution Electricity Reproduction

Flowers have many ways of attracting bees for pollination. Bees are looking for nectar and pollen when they visit plants and flowers, as well as various colors, patterns, and shapes. Recently scientists have discovered a new way that flowers attract bees. They can sense the electric fields around flowers. Listen to hear about the natural positive charges of bees, the negative charges of flowers, and how the electric attraction works for pollination to happen.

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A delicious solution to our energy problem

Science Middle School

A Delicious Solution to Our Energy Problems

Earth and Space Science Environment Energy Electricity chemistry

A new source of energy is being developed by using Michigan's industrial food waste. Using existing technology for converting manure into electricity, these anaerobic digesters are doing their work on pudding packs and canned peaches, among other delicacies. Listen to learn how they are turning waste into electricity.

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Drought in the south has the cattle industry booming in the midwest

Current Event June 26, 2014

Drought in the South has the Cattle Industry Booming in the Midwest

Economics Earth and Space Science Climate Change Weather and Climate

The drought in California and Texas has meant cattle herders have little pasture to graze their herds. Instead, cattle herding is moving north to Colorado and Nebraska. The midwestern states are feeding the cattle with the byproduct of ethanol production. Use this public radio story with your class to discuss how these changes affect the price of a hamburger.

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Sexism in storm names

Current Event June 18, 2014

Sexism in Storm Names - Gender Makes a Difference

Earth and Space Science Gender Weather and Climate

Studies show that people react differently to male and female named storms. There is more preparation and fear of storms with male names, such as Victor, versus a storm named Christina. As a result, there are serious implications of this unconscious gender bias. Listen to this public radio story to learn more.

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Fighting gravity

Science Middle School

Gravity's Strong Pull is Actually a Weak Force

Earth and Space Science Physical Science Forces and Newton's Laws

Even though it is the weakest of all forces, gravity is why we exist. Gravity keeps the earth, moon, and sun in orbit. It keeps us on the ground instead of floating in space. Listen to hear how gravity affects the velocity in rockets, the shapes of planets, the trajectories of baseballs, and even the strength of the human leg bones.

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Some californians

Current Event June 11, 2014

Some Californians Want to Make Water Available to the Highest Bidder

Economics Earth and Space Science Weather and Climate

California's drought is causing water prices to vary region to region. This makes some farmers want to sell their water—but they're worried that it might negatively affect their water allotment. Economists say the answer is a better engineered irrigation canal and use of the free market. Listen to this radio story to learn why.

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Cap and trade carbon emissions policy aimed at using the free market

Current Event June 4, 2014

Cap-and-Trade Carbon Emissions Policy Aimed at Using the Free Market

Earth and Space Science Climate Change Engineering

Cap and Trade is the new carbon emissions policy aimed at regulating emissions from various factories based on a "token" system. When an entity runs out of tokens, they can turn to the free market to buy more. This story clearly explains what Cap and Trade is and why Republicans don't like it. Listen to this radio story to learn why.

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Recycled toilet water is the solution for one drought stricken town

Current Event May 22, 2014

Recycled Toilet Water is the Solution for One Drought-Stricken Town

Earth and Space Science Elementary Weather and Climate Engineering

A Texas town has been living in severe drought conditions for three years and decided to recycle water from toilets, sinks, and other wash to meet their water needs. Water plant officials say that the water is completely clean of bacteria, but residents would rather drink bottled water. Listen to this public radio story and discuss with your students.

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Climate change to stay

Current Event May 12, 2014

Climate Change to Stay

Earth and Space Science Climate Change

A recent report by the U.S. government shows the most definitive evidence so far that climate change is happening and it’s being driven by people. Extreme weather and rising sea levels are just some of the consequences. Communities are trying to build preventative infrastructure, but it is costly.

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Space thief

Current Event May 8, 2014

Space Thief

Earth and Space Science Engineering Space Systems

An American scientist was able to beat other countries to reach a comet first by “stealing” another scientist’s space craft. 31 years later, he’s on a mission to restore it to its original mission.

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Current Event May 3, 2014

‘Star Wars’ Movies and Beyond

Earth and Space Science Literature Space Systems entertainment

George Lucas’s Star Wars films are an empire unto themselves. With two movie trilogies and another on the way, the films are prolific, as are the universe they build. This is matched and raised by hundreds of Star Wars books that mirror and expand the narrative of the movies. Some hardcore fans even prefer the books, which cover 25,000 years and include 17,000 characters. Listen to learn more about the unprecedented success of this movie based book franchise.

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