10 Things We Learned This Week!

What did you learn this week? Let us know in the comments or at education@ngs.org.

This week, we learned . . .

. . . that cephalopods can make a great escape!

 

. . . how the soundtrack from the musical Hamilton can be used to teach any subject you can think of—yes, it really is that good.

 

. . . about the Rocket Girls—unheralded women scientists who furthered space exploration.

NASA’s “human computers,” 1953. First row, left to right: Ann Dye, Gail Arnett, Shirley Clow, Mary Lawrence, Sally Platt, Janez Lawson, Patsy Nyeholt, Macie Roberts, Patty Bandy, Glee Wright, Janet Chandler, Marie Crowley, Rachel Sarason, and Elaine Chappell. Second row: Isabel deWaard, Pat Beveridge, Jean O’Neill, Olga Sampias, Leontine Wilson, Thais Szabados, Coleen Veeck, Barbara Lewis, Patsy Riddell, Phyllis Buwalda, Shelley Sonleitner, Ginny Swanson, Jean Hinton, and Nancy Schirmer. Photograph courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s “human computers,” 1953. First row, left to right: Ann Dye, Gail Arnett, Shirley Clow, Mary Lawrence, Sally Platt, Janez Lawson, Patsy Nyeholt, Macie Roberts, Patty Bandy, Glee Wright, Janet Chandler, Marie Crowley, Rachel Sarason, and Elaine Chappell. Second row: Isabel deWaard, Pat Beveridge, Jean O’Neill, Olga Sampias, Leontine Wilson, Thais Szabados, Coleen Veeck, Barbara Lewis, Patsy Riddell, Phyllis Buwalda, Shelley Sonleitner, Ginny Swanson, Jean Hinton, and Nancy Schirmer.
Photograph courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

. . . that trees are part of a fungal “wood-wide web.”

Coast redwoods like this one in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California, are the tallest trees in the world. (Let's keep that title, California! Grow, Sequoia sempervirens, grow!) Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

Coast redwoods like this one in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California, are the tallest trees in the world. 
Photograph by Michael Nichols, National Geographic

 

. . . speaking of trees, we learned we are but a minor branch on the bacteria-dominated Tree of Life.

The tree includes 92 named bacterial phyla, 26 archaeal phyla and all five of the Eukaryotic supergroups. (We animals are in the opisthokonta supergroup. Us and the fungi.) Illustration by Credit Jill Banfield/UC Berkeley, Laura Hug/University of Waterloo, “A new view of the tree of life,” Nature Microbiology Article number: 16048 (2016)

The tree includes 92 named bacterial phyla, 26 archaeal phyla and all five of the Eukaryotic supergroups. (We animals are in the opisthokonta supergroup. Us and the fungi.)
Illustration by Credit Jill Banfield/UC Berkeley, Laura Hug/University of Waterloo, “A new view of the tree of life,” Nature Microbiology Article number: 16048 (2016)

 

. . . how one school built an interdisciplinary curriculum based on dementia.

In science class at Graland students learn about the history of the disease, genetic mutations and biochemical changes in the brain. In English class students write a biography of an elderly person in their lives. And in art, they build memory boxes filled with objects representing that same person’s life. “Our goal here is intergenerational learning.” Photograph by Rebecca Hale, National Geographic

In science class, students learn about the history of the disease, genetic mutations and biochemical changes in the brain. In English class, students write a biography of an elderly person in their lives. And in art, they build memory boxes filled with objects representing that same person’s life. “Our goal here is intergenerational learning.”
Photograph by Rebecca Hale, National Geographic

 

. . . that science fairs may be an “exercise in privilege,” but we can make them better.

President Barack Obama talks with Evan Jackson, 10, Alec Jackson, 8, and Caleb Robinson, 8, from McDonough, Georgia, while looking at exhibits at the 2013 White House Science Fair. The sports-loving grade-schoolers created a new product concept to keep athletes cool and help players maintain safe body temperatures on the field. Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

President Barack Obama talks with Evan Jackson, 10, Alec Jackson, 8, and Caleb Robinson, 8, from McDonough, Georgia, while looking at exhibits at the 2013 White House Science Fair. The sports-loving grade-schoolers created a new product concept to keep athletes cool and help players maintain safe body temperatures on the field.
Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy

 

. . . that professional trackers can read a lot into trails left in the wilderness . . . and by our ancestors in time.

These footprints were left by our bipedal hominin ancestors in what is now Tanzania more than three million years ago. Photograph by Robert Clark, National Geographic

These footprints were left by our bipedal hominin ancestors in what is now Tanzania more than three million years ago.
Photograph by Robert Clark, National Geographic

 

. . . how to talk to students about terrorism.

Boko Haram, an organization President Barack Obama calls "one of the worst regional or local terrorist organizations" in the world, aims to make northern Nigeria an Islamist state. Map by Maggie Smith, National Geographic

Boko Haram, an organization President Barack Obama calls “one of the worst regional or local terrorist organizations” in the world, aims to make northern Nigeria an Islamist state.
Map by Maggie Smith, National Geographic

 

. . . that a big-screen comedy with conservative values can successfully show that “anything and anyone can be made into a punch line: Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, Michelle Obama’s hips, Black Lives Matter.”

What did you learn this week? Let us know in the comments or at education@ngs.org.

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