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Long-time Science News reader uses magazine in his classroom

Ohio State University professor sponsors local high school for Science News in High Schools

Kevin Lumney, a professor of organismal biology at Ohio State University, is sponsoring his local Ohio high school for the Society’s Science News in High Schools program. Kevin is a long-time subscriber to the magazine and often assigns articles as reading material to his students. He is spreading science literacy from his classrooms at Ohio State to science classes at Big Walnut High School.

More than 170,000 students and 10,000 educators at more than 230 schools gained free access to content produced by Science News during the 2015-2016 school year through the program. Beginning with the September 19 issue, schools participating in the program received log-in access to the Science News website for the entire school, 10 print copies per issue, and an online educator guide with discussion questions for each issue to help teachers incorporate the content into their lesson plans and curriculum.

Why did you decide to sponsor Big Walnut High School for Society for Science and the Public’s Science News in High Schools program? What is your connection to this high school?

My hope is that the science teachers at BWHS will use the easy availability of Science News to bring science current events into their classrooms, through hands-on activities built around certain stories, or discussions of stories, etc. The timely incorporation of cutting-edge topics into the curriculum makes those topics more relevant to students. My connection to BWHS is that I live in the community, and my daughter attends the school.

How do you incorporate Science News into your teaching at Ohio State? Can you give an example of a lesson plan or topic?

Virtually every issue of Science News has a story or two (at least) directly appropriate to the course I teach in organismal diversity and systematics. Often, I’ll make those stories part of students’ course reading list, or simply assign them back issues to peruse and distill out for themselves, and summarize stories related to course topics. One of the topics I try to convey in the course is the dynamic nature of organismal phylogenies, especially in light of modern molecular methods for investigating evolutionary relationships. For example, in the last two to three years, there have been articles in Science News on the changing ideas related to the ctenophores’ (comb jellies’) placement in the “tree of life.” These articles have been assigned readings for my students, as well as serving as the basis for in-class discussions. Recently, the August 8 issue of Science News had an article on scientists’ construction of eukaryote “supergroups,” which was so appropriate for my course (and was made an assigned reading), as the course is essentially a survey of the supergroups and the major taxa within.

Read the full post on our Doing Science blog!

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