Teacher Review For Science News for Students

Info on this site is misleading and out of date

My Rating 4
Learning Scores
Engagement 3
Pedagogy 4
Support 5
I Would Recommend It Yes
Setup Time Less than 5 minutes
Great for Homework
Individual
Knowledge gain
Student-driven work
Teacher-led lessons
Whole class
Great with Advanced learners
General
Low literacy
How I Use It
Use it to supplement curricula, pointing to how students can develop research projects that are related to classroom topics. Also use readings to builds language skills and data literacy. Overall, the archive of stories points to how science is used to test and explain phenomena throughout the universe.
My Take
Whoever wrote the initial description of the site erred. It is NOT for elementary school students. It's clearly aimed at those 12 and above. The lexile scores fall smack in the middle of the 6th to 8th grade level. Also keep in mind, this is not an "educational" site, but a news magazine. So it provides information, not curricular material. The description said people might like to search by standards--which is precisely why the site offers NGSS codes for its stories. And they are searchable. There are also glossary terms with every story to reinforce reading comprehension. "Further Readings" accompany the stories too--pointing to many other age-appropriate materials. For the past 3-4 years, cites to original sources of the news (ie journal papers or meeting abstracts) accompany the stories so that classrooms can compare the story to the raw data as presented by the researchers. Questions to catalyze classroom discussions accompany feature stories (and are now identified with a pencil icon in the upper right of a story's opening image). These, too, are searchable. Collections of topical stories exist to allow students to delve into an issue in great depth. A blog series called "Scientists Say" offers a term of the week--to build vocabularies. It includes a definition of the term, uses the term in a sentence and offers an audio file so that students can hear how the term is pronounced. Another new blog, "Analyze This!" offers data (graphs, charts, tables or other collections) from which students can scout for trends. This blog builds data literacy, something that teachers have begged for. The "Eureka! Lab" blog and video series show students how to do research--and do it right (from hypothesis generation and experimental design through statistical analysis of data and its publication). All in all, the site offers timely, award-winning journalism, interspersed with auxiliary materials that can aid in classroom discussions. AND it's free to everyone the world over. Yes, I'm a booster. I'm also the editor. We've worked hard to offer something available nowhere else. And for the past five years, teachers have been telling us we are succeeding, and ever stronger. But please, do NOT describe this as a site for elementary school kids. We cover quantum physics, cognitive neuroscience, plate tectonics, epigenetics and more--without dumbing these down. But we assume our target reader is at least 12-13 years old. That said, high school teachers (even in math/science magnet programs) have raved about the accessibility of the stories on our site. It encourages students to struggle with wrapping their heads around the emerging science, not the vocabulary used to describe it.