Our mission is to let all students have access to real scientific research. This can be a challenge when your classroom contains a range of abilities. That’s why we have articles available in multiple reading levels. These adaptations allow students to focus on the core scientific concepts with level-appropriate vocabulary. This allows more students to access real scientific research!
Each title in this collection of adapted research articles comes with both upper and lower-reading-level versions to include students of all abilities. Engage students with standards-matched adaptations, introductory video content, comprehension questions, and vocabulary to further your lesson outcomes. Each adapted article also comes with additional suggestions for activities to enhance the readers’ understanding and make the class more exciting.
Abstract: Mars is currently dry and cold and doesn’t have much of an atmosphere, but what was it like in the past? Did Mars ever have a climate or environment that could support life? Luckily, we have rovers on Mars that can help us investigate! We used the Curiosity Rover on Mars to sample the planet’s surface where there might have been a lake long ago. We looked at the carbon in our sample to see how much there was and where it came from. This could give us clues about what the environment was like and if there used to be organisms living in the area. Our data suggest that there is more carbon on Mars than we had expected. Most of the carbon came from meteorites and volcanic rock. We can’t rule out that it came from living things, but we need a lot more information to help us figure it out.
This article is suitable for middle school and high school students. It is available for both upper and lower reading levels, and there is an audio version.
- Key terms: astronomy, molecular biology, physics, space travel
- Scientific figure: bar graph
- Scientific method: experiment, field study, mass spectrometry, proxy data
Abstract: NASA’s space shuttle has to reach speeds of almost 18,000 miles per hour (29,000 kilometers per hour) in only 8.5 minutes. That’s necessary for it to reach outer space. That’s 300 times faster than a car traveling at 60 mph (97 km/h)! To reach these speeds, rockets need particularly high-energy fuels. It’s the same for airplanes and cargo ships, too. At the moment, these high-energy fuels are made using petroleum – a fossil fuel, and the leading cause of global climate change. So, there’s an urgent need for scientists to develop more sustainable high-energy fuels. We explored whether bacteria could make molecules we could turn into high-energy biofuels. We looked into bacterial DNA and used clever chemistry to produce new biofuels using Streptomyces bacteria. These “POP biofuels” seem to be even better (higher energy) than the current petroleum-made rocket fuels!
This article is suitable for elementary school, middle school, and high school students. It is available for both upper and lower reading levels, as well as a written translation in Spanish. There are audio versions in both English and Spanish.
- Key terms: biotechnology, climate change, genetics, microbiology, renewable energy, space travel
- Scientific figure: bar graph, pictograph
- Scientific method: experiment, gene editing, PCR (polymerase chain reaction)
Abstract: Picking up an object and moving it from one place to another might seem like an easy, everyday task. But for many people with tetraplegia, it is not possible. They have spinal cord injuries and cannot grasp, move, or feel objects with their hands. This is because the connection between the brain and limbs is damaged. In a previous study, we made a device that allowed a person to control a robotic arm using small implants in their brain. Using their sense of sight, they guided the arm to an object, picked it up, and placed it in a new location. In this study, we improved this system to include implants in the part of their brain that senses touch from the hand. We found that touch feedback improved a person’s ability to complete tasks with the robotic arm. The time it took to complete the assigned tasks was cut in half! This is because the study participant could grasp the object faster using both senses.
This article is suitable for elementary school, middle school, and high school students. It is available in both upper and lower reading levels and in Spanish (PDF). Audio versions are available in both English and Spanish. This article includes a Lesson Idea video to engage students in building their own robots.
- Key terms: engineering, neuroscience, robotics
- Scientific figures: bar graph, pictograph
- Scientific methods: case study, experiment
Abstract: We all know what it feels like when we have not had enough sleep. You might feel tired, have trouble concentrating, or even be grumpy and irritable. Despite it being such an important part of our daily lives, sleep still remains a bit of a mystery! To help answer the question of why we sleep, scientists have started researching sleep in other animals. This can help us understand how and why sleep evolved. Sharks are hundreds of millions of years old. In fact, they are the oldest living group of jawed vertebrates! Because of this, we think they could help unlock important information about the evolution of sleep. We studied the metabolic rate and behavior of draughtsboard sharks (Cephaloscyllium isabellum) over a 24-hour period. Our results show that when sharks sleep, they typically have a flat body posture and a reduced metabolic rate. Our study supports the hypothesis that the conservation of energy is a core function of sleep. It also provides insight into its evolution.
This article is suitable for elementary school, middle school, and high school students. It is available in both upper and lower reading levels and in Spanish (PDF). Audio versions are available in both English and Spanish. This article includes a Lesson Idea video to engage students in exploring sleep habits.
- Key terms: animal behavior, evolution, fish, metabolism, sleep
- Scientific figures: bar graph, pictograph
- Scientific methods: experiment, observation
Abstract: Vector-borne diseases are a major threat to human health. Diseases caused by viruses and parasites carried by mosquitoes kill millions of people every year. How can we control these diseases? One of the methods scientists have tried to develop recently is biocontrol – the use of natural enemies to control mosquito populations and thus the diseases they carry. We wanted to try a slightly different approach: using bacteria that reduce the mosquitoes’ ability to transmit viruses. We introduced these bacteria in local Australian mosquitoes and then released them back into a town where a lot of dengue outbreaks have occurred to breed with wild mosquitoes. Soon enough the majority of the mosquitoes in the area carried the bacteria. This has led to a drastic reduction in human dengue cases.
This article is suitable for middle school and high school students. It is available in both upper and lower reading levels.
- Key term: disease transmission
- Scientific figures: histogram, pictogram, time series graph
- Scientific methods: case study, data validation, PCR (polymerase chain reaction), representative sampling
That’s Not All!
Title image from Mulkh Singh