Grades 6-8

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

The Effects of DEET on Bioluminescent Dinoflagellates, Pyrocystis fusiformis

Puerto Rico is home to three bioluminescent bays, protected inlets that hold millions of marine bioluminescent dinoflagellates. These bays are huge tourist attractions, and swimming in them, when permitted, is popular. Often the visitors have sprayed themselves with insect repellants containing the active ingredient DEET. The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of DEET on the ability of the dinoflagellates to emit light.

Helpful Hints for Field Sketching

Article

Helpful Hints for Field Sketching

People often assume that drawing skills are something you're born with. But the truth is, like any other skill, drawing is something you can learn. Start sketching with these helpful hints.

How to Press and Preserve Plants

Activity

How to Press and Preserve Plants

Autumn leaves, flawless fronds, prickly grasses, and perfect petals—all are great specimens to be noted and preserved. Find out how to press like a pro.

Leaf Arrangement

Diagram

Leaf Arrangement

Leaves are attached to stem nodes in three different arrangements: alternate, opposite, and whorled. Learn how to spot these leaf arrangements before venturing out on your next field study. 

Leaf Type

Diagram

Leaf Type

Compound or single? Knowing this fundamental difference in leaf type is key to identifying plant specimens. This illustrated guide shows you what both look like. 

Tips to Identify Poison Ivy

Article

Tips to Identify Poison Ivy

Did you know that the first time you come in contact with poison ivy, you probably won't get a rash? Every time after that, though, is a different story. Learn how to spot different varieties.

The Movement of Ice Sheets

Article

The Movement of Ice Sheets

More than any other, the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has the greatest potential to raise sea levels all over the world. Learn how scientists are studying it, both in the field and back in the lab.

Studying Ice Flows for Clues to Climate Change

Article

Studying Ice Flows for Clues to Climate Change

What's better than watching ice melt? Building a computer model to simulate the melting! Ice flow plays an important role in everything from deep ocean circulation patterns to global warming.

Leaf Margins

Diagram

Leaf Margins

Entire or toothed? Being able to distinguish between these two types of leaf margins will help you identify a plant specimen. This illustrated guide shows you what both look like.

Describing and Understanding Organisms

Activity

Describing and Understanding Organisms

At a loss for words when it comes to explaining your biodiversity findings in the classroom, field, or lab? Increase your vocabulary—and observation skills—with this guide to gathering clues.

Face to Fossil

Face to Fossil

Join the inquisitive Deena Soris as she interviews the fossil of a Protoceratops. This dashing dino, dug up in Mongolia in the 1920s, offers insight into his former life—and the secrets he's still keeping. 

Going Gobi

Going Gobi

Who would travel halfway around the world to spend the summer in a desert where brutal sandstorms and surprise flash floods are on the itinerary? Meet Mike and Mark, who've made the trek annually since 1990. 

Meet the PaleontOLogists

Meet the PaleontOLogists

If you dig dinosaurs, then you need to meet these OLogists. Find out what cool stuff Anna, Max, Reva, and Mark have uncovered while following their curiosity. 

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