SciNews – Nov 27, 2014

This regular feature of STAOblog brings you a sampling of the latest science news that would be of particular interest to your students.  Incorporate these stories into your lesson.  Or, use them as a “cool attention-grabber” at the start of class.  Above all, enjoy the discussion and get your kids excited about science! “SciNews” is published every Monday and Thursday.

Share your favourite SciNews “gems” by emailing them to

How do you use scinews in your class?  Share your tips using the comment button.  

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Poppin’ Pine Cones

Pine ConesGrade 3: Life Systems

Contributed by: Ellen Webb

On a hot summer day, take students for a walk near coniferous trees.  If you are in luck, you may hear the snapping sound of the cones popping open naturally to release the seeds.  Pinecone seeds must be released from their cones before the keys can be transported on the winds.

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Magnetic Tomatoes

Mention the word magnetism and most of us think of one iron-based object attracting another.  This form of magnetism is called ferromagnetism.  Iron, nickel and cobalt are the most common elements that exhibit ferromagnetic properties.  However, two other less familiar forms of magnetism also exist.  These are called paramagnetism and diamagnetism.  This video shows an example of diamagnetic of an unlikely object – a tomato.

The following video provides a useful summary of how the three forms of magnetism differ.

How would you use this resource with your class?  Please share your ideas using the comment bubble.