SciNews – Dec 11, 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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Guidelines for Safer Demonstrations

stao safety triangleDemonstrations are an integral part of any science program.  These activities engage students and help bring the “real world” into the classroom. STAO has recently developed a collection of safe demonstrations/activities for grades 9 and 10 that have been designed to challenge students’ thinking as well as initiate lively classroom discussions that support constructivist learning. These short demonstrations/activities often involve discrepant events related to the topic of focus in the grades 9 and 10 science curriculum, that may surprise students and that can be observed and/or investigated safely by students in the classroom.  These demonstrations/activities are available for free download at

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Cool Jobs: Green Science | Science News for Students

Scientists get at the root (and stem, leaf, flower, fruit and seed) of the relationship between plants and their environment


White spruce grow across northern North America, from Alaska to Labrador. As Arctic temperatures rise, spruce are spreading even farther north.

Even if trees cannot walk, they are still on the move.

In parts of the Arctic, entire forests are creeping northward. Luckily, ecologist Serge Payette is hot on their trail. Like the two other scientists we will meet here, Payette has spent decades trying to understand the often surprising ways plants influence their environment.

Together, these three experts are showing how plants don’t just colonize new surroundings, but also can warm and clean them. Some plants can even rid an area of any competing plants, using chemicals that continue to marvel scientists. As work by these scientists shows, plants do many things to interact with their environment — and ours.

Move on up

Across the Arctic, temperatures are rising faster than anywhere else in the world. As that happens, the tree line that marks where forests stop and the treeless tundra starts has been shifting northward. Payette is an Arctic plant ecologist who works at Université Laval in Québec, Canada. And he’s been studying how trees respond to this climate change in northern Canada. Read more …

via Cool Jobs: Green Science | Science News for Students.