11 Things We Learned This Week

This week, we learned …

… where the U.S. government shutdown is having the biggest impact. Resource of the week!

Have your students map where the shutdown is impacting your state with our MapMaker Kits.


… all the animals that went extinct in 2018, and which are on the brink in 2019.

The last wild sighting of Hawaii’s po’ouli was in 2004, and a 2018 study recommended declaring the species extinct.
Photograph courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Where are animals most likely to go extinct? Use our resource to guide a discussion.


… Earth’s magnetic field is acting up and geologists don’t know why.

Pole reversals happen all the (geologic) time.
Illustration by Peter Reid, The University of Edinburgh, courtesy NASA

Use our lesson to help students build a magnetometer to monitor and measure changes in Earth’s magnetic field.


… how the world has changed in the first six years of the Out of Eden Walk.

Photograph by John Stanmeyer, National Geographic

Have students catch up on the Out of Eden Walk here.


… teaching students to read charts could help save democracy.

A student fills in a pie chart showing the proportions of different recyclable materials found in trash collected by the class. Photo by David Sweeney

Use our downloadable research chart to help students organize their own information.


… how beauty is making scientists rethink evolution.

“Feathers cannot be labeled the sole product of either natural or sexual selection. A feather, with its reciprocal structure, embodies the confluence of two powerful and equally important evolutionary forces: utility and beauty.”
Photograph by Robert Clark, National Geographic

The new research examines Papua New Guinea’s beautiful birds of paradise. Use our Birds of Paradise project to examine the processes of natural selection and sexual selection.


… a history of the plastic bag, from birth to ban.

A boy looks for plastic and paper in a sewage drain, so filled with years of garbage, that he can walk on top.
Photograph by Matthieu Paley, National Geographic

Planet or Plastic: Have you and your class taken the pledge?


… new tracking technology has revealed hidden animal migration routes.

Zoom in on one of the best maps of the year, from National Geographic magazine’s May issue.
Map by Martin Gamache, National Geographic

Have students click through our interactive GeoStory to understand how scientists track animal migrations around the world.


… six ways the border wall could disrupt the environment.

Migration corridors and species ranges are limited by long border walls like this one.
Photograph courtesy Pixnio. Public domain.

Read through our student-friendly article to better understand the “desert islands” on the U.S.-Mexico border.


… rabbits that don’t eat their own poop are small and weak.

Eating soft feces helps the rabbits digest their food and gain weight at a healthy rate.
Photograph by Jim Richardson, National Geographic

Rabbits aren’t the only coprophages. Use our reference resource to learn about how the food chain works.


… North Dakota and South Dakota may merge into Megakota.

Map by David H. Montgomery

Create your own Megakota by printing and modifying our 1-page maps of the current Dakotas here and here.

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