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The Debrief

Exploring The Most Popular Science Topics of The School Year So Far

The Newsela Team
Feb 5, 2020

Teachers know that science is about doing and reading, introducing students to wonders in their immediate environment and around the world. Providing current, engaging reading materials about scientific discoveries and trends helps ensure that science is exciting and accessible to every student, enabling  them explore the ways science takes shape both in and out of the classroom.

We created Newsela Science to support hands-on instruction, with the goal of building science background knowledge early and keeping all students engaged. Newsela Science empowers teachers to integrate science and literacy instruction every day, providing them with real-world content that not only ties to current events, but is also aligned to state science standards and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Looking at the science topics that have received the most views in this school year so far, it’s clear that schools and teachers value being able to pair hands-on science instruction with real-world examples. Articles categorized as Science News top the most-viewed list across the grades, while pieces about Science Today also prove popular in the classroom. 

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Breaking down science topics by grade level also sheds light on how teachers use our reading materials to engage students at every age. In addition to universally popular topics like Ecosystems and Weather & Climate, elementary school students are reading about Sun-Earth-Moon Interactions and Spooky Science, topics which present opportunities to make science fun and engaging.

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As students get older, the popularity of articles on more complex topics like the Structure & Function of Living Things increases. In middle school we also see topics like Scientists & Recent Discoveries and Trending in Science appear on the top 20 most-viewed list, as students start to draw explicit connections between experiments they do in the classroom and the broader impact of scientific discoveries around the world.

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In high school, even more challenging topics like Biological Processes and Forces & Motion appear on the list, as students start to explore the fields of medicine and physics. And in a world where topics like Climate Change, Evolution, and Genetics are never far from the news, it’s increasingly important that teachers have resources to support them in sharing and discussing these issues in the classroom.

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