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Science News for Students
Pros: The interesting and age-appropriate articles get kids reading about science.
Cons: All articles are in English and readability levels are limited.
Bottom Line: Free, fascinating articles make science relevant to students.
Teachers can use Science News for Students to find reading materials to supplement units in science, math, and language arts. Since many articles contain “Power Words” and their definitions, you can review the words in advance so kids can better understand the text. Some articles also contain questions for kids to answer while reading. Teachers can search for articles based on readability range, NGSS standard, or keywords. Buttons on each reading make it easy to post the resource to Google Classroom, so you can assign readings for homework.
Science News for Students provides engaging stories appropriate for elementary through high school students. All articles offer educators a readability score (based on grade level) and Related Readings take students to earlier stories on a topic. In terms of other support, there are many articles with Classroom Questions so you don't have to develop your own. Some readings are streamlined versions of articles on the adult Science News site and provide helpful tools for tackling the task of reading scientific texts. Topics are interesting and relevant, from American cannibalism (eeew!) to predicting tsunamis.
Their Explainers Collection provides understandable summaries of key science topics such as “What are Antibodies?” and “How do our eyes make sense of light.” There are also Experiments, Cool Jobs, and Analyze This collections that inspire kids to do their own experiments, analyze data, and learn more about science-related jobs. Science News for Students also features a Word of the Week to help kids build discipline specific vocabulary. Words are defined, used in a sentence, and come with an audio recording to help with pronunciation.
The readings in Science News for Students help kids think about complex scientific problems -- from how we calculate the age of the universe to how to build a better battery. Kids can also see examples of student research and learn tips on how to start their own research projects. Power Words at the bottom of each article give kids a tool to attack complex text and make sense of it. They can analyze scientific reading using questions provided and cite evidence from the article in their answers.
Science News for Students is particularly effective in helping students analyze and interpret data. The Analyze This series on data literacy presents data tables and figures from actual research projects. Then the Data Dive questions help students make sense of the information. On the downside, while Science News for Students provides readability scores for each article, a tool like Newslea provides leveled text so that students of different reading levels can all discuss the same article. That functionality would be ideal for teachers, as would translations into multiple languages. As it stands, however, this free resource is bound to get kids excited about real-world science and give teachers enough support to get started.