11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

why low-income students are not vocabulary-poor, and why rich kids are good at the “marshmallow test.”

1. The idea that low-income kids hear 30 million fewer words than high-income kids is probably wrong. 2. The “marshmallow test”, asking kids to resist candy for the promise of more later, failed on replication. Turns out results had more to do with privilege than willpower.
Photograph by Lynn Johnson, National Geographic

Use our ideas to get kids of all incomes involved in summer learning.



… the finals for the World Cup for unrecognized nations will be played this weekend.

Padania (green and white, north-central Italy) and Panjab (blue, India-Pakistan) face off in an early match. Photograph by Gary House, CONIFA

What are unrecognized nations? Use our resource and the rankings of top teams to start the discussion.



… moving animals to isolated safe havens can doom them when they integrate back to their natural habitats.

Northern quolls, relatives of this tiger quoll, were moved to islands to save them from invasive poisonous toads. They lost their fear of predators, and when they were reintroduced to the mainland, dingoes ate them all.
Photograph by Joel Sartore, National Geographic Photo Ark

Could renting a quoll be more ecological than isolating it? Learn more with our study guide.



… to question the authority of satellite images.

The Guardian of the Badlands—with his earbud-oil well—keeps watch over the badlands of Alberta, Canada.
Screenshot from Google Maps, 50°00’37.76″ N 110 07’00.86″W

Use our study guide to get familiar with pareidolia—satellite imagery too weird to misrepresent.



… grandmothers may hold the keys to human evolution.

In a foraging society, gatherer-grandmothers were likely more important to child survival than hunter-fathers.
Photograph by Erika Larsen, National Geographic

The new research studied the Hadza diet. Learn more about the Hadza diet with our video resource.



… the “friction of distance” can limit access to opportunities as much as geographical distance.

The “friction of distance” describes the amount of effort required to complete a journey. Multiple transit transfers and stops, reduced bike lanes, and limited hours for businesses or transit can all increase the friction of distance.
Photograph by Cory Richards, National Geographic

How might public transportation decrease or increase the friction of distance? Learn more with our thought-provoking little study guide.



… archaeologists are reopening the case of the Lost Colony of Roanoke.

The pink island on this 1585 map is the “lost colony” of Roanoke.
Map by John White, courtesy the British Museum. Public domain

Introduce yourself to Virginia Dare and the “lost colony,” then dig deeper with our new article in National Geographic magazine.



… sea level rise is changing the architecture of South Florida.

The offshore community of Stiltsville may have been ahead of its time.
Photograph by Mr3641, courtesy Wikimedia. Public domain

Watch our short video to better understand how sea level rise will impact Miami.



… the sale of a $2.5 million mystery dinosaur has paleontologists worried they’re being priced out of the market.

Should the fate of a 150-million-year-old fossil lie in the hands of one deep-pocketed person who happens to be the highest bidder? Or should it be controlled by a museum or another authority who can ensure that it can be studied by scientists and preserved for posterity?
Photograph of visitors at the Natural History Museum of Utah by Cory Richards, National Geographic

Use our inquiry-based resource to help guide discussion on this issue.



… scientist-candidates did not fare well in Super Tuesday primary elections.

Photograph by Whoisjohngalt, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-4.0

How did the 2016 presidential candidates support science, energy, and the environment? Do students think this impacted the election?



… Antarctica is holding its first Pride celebration.

Members of the LGBTQ community at McMurdo Station pose for a cool Pride photo—in April, before the sun set for the entire season. Photograph courtesy Shawn Waldron

Who’s around in Antarctica during Pride Month’s “polar night”?

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