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Science Time

Science Time

Program Content for September 17, 2014


Read the article “ ‘Jurassic Park’ + ‘Jaws’ = swimming dinosaur” on page A3 of the Friday, September 12, 2014 edition of The Seattle Times.


Number Hunt:  Match each statement with the correct number from the list of answer choices below

1.      Length in feet of Spinosaurus.  

2.      Height in feet of the sail on the back of Spinosaurus.

3.      Number of legs Spinosaurus walked on  

4.      Number of feet Spinosaurus was longer than T-rex.

5.      Year the first Spinosaurus bones were discovered.  

6.      Million of years ago Spinosaurus lived.  

7.      Number of people who lived in the Bedouin fossil hunter’s town.  


Answer Choices

A.               7

B.               9

C.               4

D.               50

E.                95

F.                1912

G.               20,000


Comprehension Questions

1.      What is unique about Spinosaurus?  

2.      What happened to the original Spinosaurus fossil?  

3.      Where was the most recent Spinosaurus fossil found?  

4.      Describe what Spinosaurus looks like and how it moved.  

5.      What organization helped pay for the research of Spinosaurus?  

6.      What adaptations (unique characteristics) allowed Spinosaurus to live in water for extended periods of time?  

7.      Why was the area where Spinosaurus lived considered to be history’s “most dangerous place?”  

8.      What discovery allowed Nizar Ibrahim, the study’s lead researcher, to identify Spinosaurus?  

9.      What facial feature of the Bedouin fossil hunter from Morocco allowed Ibrahim to identify him?  

10.    What 3 pieces of evidence allowed Ibrahim to reconstruct a model of Spinosaurus?  


Prompts and Extensions

1.      Do you agree or disagree with the assessment made by Lindsay Zanno, a paleontologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh that the fact that [Spinosaurus] was assembled from many different sources (pieces of evidence) casts some doubt on the reliability of the reconstructed skeleton - both in size and shape.  Explain your response.

2.      Watch this video clip and this one to view images of what the fossil of Spinosaurus looks like and hear from the Paleontologists who studied it.  Here’s another clip if you want to learn even more!

3.      Visit National Geogrpahic’s website (the organization that funded the research that led to this dinosaur’s discovery) to learn more about Spinosaurus, including information on how the fossil was pieced together.



Program Content for September 10, 2014

Read the article “Meet the genes in the beans of your coffee” on page A16 of the Sunday, September 7, 2014 edition of The Seattle Times.


Pre-Reading and Vocabulary: Define each term and use it in a sentence to demonstrate your understanding.

1.      caffeine

2.      genome

3.      evolution

4.      germination

5.      ancestor


Comprehension Questions

1.      What did the first whole-genome study of the coffee plant reveal about the development of its caffeine-generating capacity?  

2.      Why is the generation of caffeine by cacao and coffee plants considered to be a case of convergent evolution?  

3.      How did caffeine generating genes in coffee plants arise and spread?  

4.      What 3 benefits does caffeine provide for plants?  

5.      What makes the evolution of the coffee plant unique?

6.      Compared to other flowering plants how diverse is the coffee plant family?  

7.      What samples did scientists use to study the genome of the coffee plant?  

8.      How many different building blocks does the coffee plant genome contain?  

9.      Why is the creation of the coffee plant genome important to researchers?  

10.    How many countries rely on the coffee plant as their top economic export?  

11.    What two factors threaten coffee plant ability to grow effectively?  


Prompts and Extensions

1.      Convergent evolution, the type of evolution utilized to produce caffeine in coffee and cacao plants, is an important piece of evolutionary evidence.  Whales provide a classic animal example of this form of evolution.  Learn more about the convergent evolution of whales by watching this video clip and completing this reading.  When finished see if you can brainstorm a list of other organisms that may have undergone convergent evolution.  Hint:  Think about animals that fly or swim.

2.      Learn more in this video clip and this one about the power of genomic sequencing and how this scientific technique can be used to improve the health of humans.  When finished discuss with your classmates whether or not you would want your genome to be sequenced if you were given the opportunity.   What would be the benefits and risks of having you genome sequenced?

3.      The Seattle region is well known for it coffee culture.  Get a closer look at some of the best coffee has to offer on any of the numerous coffee tours offered in the city.


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