What's Up in Science: Puzzles and Problem-Solving Activities to Build Science Literacy, Grades 6-10


Packed with fun-filled word scrambles, categorization tasks, and writing activities, What’s Up in Science? will develop critical thinking and analytical skills in your students. While solutions are provided for the puzzle exercises, some of the problems are open-ended and have no definitive answers, showing that scientific inquiry generates tough questions and that knowledge changes as new evidence becomes available.

Read More Show Less
See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $1.99   
  • New (5) from $24.51   
  • Used (6) from $1.99   
Sending request ...


Packed with fun-filled word scrambles, categorization tasks, and writing activities, What’s Up in Science? will develop critical thinking and analytical skills in your students. While solutions are provided for the puzzle exercises, some of the problems are open-ended and have no definitive answers, showing that scientific inquiry generates tough questions and that knowledge changes as new evidence becomes available.

Read More Show Less

What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“For a secondary-school science teacher, looking for a source of paper-pencil activities and puzzles, this book will be a gold mine. The activities involve spelling, vocabulary, and mathematics, related to a variety of biological and earth science topics.”
--Jacqueline V. Mallinson, associate professor of science, retired, Western Michigan University

“This is effortless learning that will turn on the quirky minds of upper elementary through high school explorers. A book that puts thinking back into the science curriculum. It will awaken the true scientists put off by years of pat answers. This book shows students that there really is a lot new to learn out there.”
--Kate Carr, Discovery Science Center, Fort Collins, Colorado

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787970031
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 9/21/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 11.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert G. Hoehn has taught earth science, physical science, and biology in the Roseville Joint Union High School District of California since 1963. He uses wit and humor daily as an educational tool. Author of numerous publications, including Science Puzzlers from Jossey-Bass, he counts seven National Summer Science grants from the National Science Foundation among his many accomplishments.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

About the Author iii

Acknowledgments v

Introduction xiii

Section 1: Preserved Evidence of Past Life

1 What Fossils Have to Say Fossil secrets 2

2 Long-Ago Life Forms Multicellular organisms 4

3 Footprints from the Past Fossil imprints 6

4 Early Wings Bird-dinosaur–link mystery 8

5 Two Steps Ahead of the Rest New lizard discovery 10

6 Dinosaur-Snacking Crocodile Super Croc 12

7 Awesome Dinosaur The Apatosaurus 14

8 Even More Dinosaurs Two massive ancient reptiles 16

9 Mast from the Past Protecting fossil bones 18

10 North American Mammal Mystery Disappearing mammals 20

11 Fossils on Hold Fossils alive and well 22

12 Let’s Ban Man Human causes of extinction 24

Challenge Activities (10 items) 26

Section 2: Early Human Life on Earth

13 New Face from an Old Skull Oldest human ancestor(?) 28

14 Who Ate My Kangaroo? Early human appetites 30

15 Early Artists Show Their Skill Art from the start 32

16 Egyptian Cave Art Real or fake? 34

17 Early Man Appears Iceman and Kennewick Man 36

18 Keeping the Past Alive Ancient ruins’ preservation 38

Challenge Activities (7 items) 40

Section 3: Getting to Know the Lithosphere

19 Leaving the Lava Behind 1 Mayon volcano (Philippines) 42

20 Leaving the Lava Behind 2 Mt. Nyiragongo (Rwanda) 44

21 Volcano Secrets Volcanics (Baja California) 46

22 Earthquakes 1 Earthquake news 48

23 Earthquakes 2 More earthquake data 50

24 Nature’s Quake Predictors Geyser mystery 52

25 Glacier Alert 1 All about glaciers 54

26 Glacier Alert 2 More glacier information 56

27 Inner Space Travel From erosion to caves 58

28 Mapping in Outer and Inner Space Mapping techniques 60

29 Global Positioning System Satellite Navigation Network 62

Challenge Activities (11 items) 64

Section 4: Listening to the Environment

30 Chromium 6 on Trial A most harmful chemical 66

31 Mercury Menace Mercury poisoning 68

32 Global Warming Warning 1 Global warming trends 70

33 Global Warming Warning 2 Global warming trends 72

34 Ocean Currents and Weather El Niño/La Niña 74

35 Pollution Problem Air pollution 76

36 Pollution Solution Technology advancements 78

37 Forever Organisms Preventing extinction 80

Challenge Activities (9 items) 83

Section 5: Ocean Features and Related Creatures

38 Save the Coral Coral reef restoration 86

39 Lost City Found Hydrothermal vents 88

40 Island Under Water Submerged island 90

41 Don’t Go Near the Water Beach pollution 92

42 Fate of the Fish Pollution/Overfishing 94

43 Microbes from Across the Sea Ballast water microbes 96

44 Cormorants Under Siege A fisheries pest 98

45 The No-Wimp Shrimp Mantis shrimp 100

46 Jellyfish on the Rocks Fossilized jellyfish 102

47 Anemone by the Sea Sea anemone 104

48 Squid Freak from Down Deep New discovery 106

49 Stingless Stingrays De-barbing stingrays 108

50 Plight of the Sturgeon Sturgeon problem 110

51 Predator Challenge Predator cautions 112

52 The Sea Otter’s Dilemma Endangered species 114

53 Sea Lions Take Charge Nuisance at sea 116

54 A Whale of a Tale Ancient swimmers 118

Challenge Activities (11 items) 120

Section 6: What’s Happening in Space?

55 Taking on the Universe Examining the universe 124

56 New Planets in Town Recent finds 126

57 Mars: A Watery World? Search for water 128

58 Asteroid Probes Coming Up Asteroid data 130

59 Eros: Space Mountain Asteroid Asteroid study 132

60 Paranoid Rhymes with Asteroid Asteroid fears 134

61 Twenty-Two and Counting Saturn surprise 136

62 The Moons of Jupiter Recent discoveries 138

63 Meteor Trails and Comet Tales Meteors/Comets 140

64 Meteorite Mysteries Meteorite information 142

65 From Stars to Galaxies Star data 144

66 Telescopes and Beyond MAXIM/SOFIA 146

Challenge Activities (12 items) 148

Section 7: Life on Land and Water

67 As the Worm Turns Worm discoveries 152

68 It’s All About Ants Ant stories 154

69 Insects Two Grasshopper/Cricket 156

70 Where Have All the Froggies Gone? 1 Vanishing amphibians 158

71 Where Have All the Froggies Gone? 2 Vanishing amphibians 160

72 The California Condor Comeback 1 Condor rescue 162

73 The California Condor Comeback 2 Condor rescue 164

74 Rodent Roundup 1 Mostly rats 166

75 Rodent Roundup 2 Meet meadow mouse 168

76 The Smallest of Critters Mouse lemurs 170

Challenge Activities (10 items) 172

Section 8: What’s Up in Genetic Science?

77 Genetic Review Genetic terms 174

78 From One Gene to Another 1 A look at genes 176

79 From One Gene to Another 2 A look at genes 178

80 Designer Catfish “Customized” catfish 180

81 Biotech Foods Genetically modified organisms 182

82 Human Stem Cells Stem cell concerns 184

83 Human Genome A chromosome gathering 186

84 What About Cloning? Cloning issues 188

Challenge Activities (8 items) 190

Section 9: Timely Real-Life Topics of Concern

85 Environmental Pollution 1 Student comments 192

86 Environmental Pollution 2 Student comments 194

87 The Decreasing Fish Population Student comments 196

88 Whale Concerns 1 Student comments 198

89 Whale Concerns 2 Student comments 200

90 Dealing with Dolphins Student comments 202

91 The Cold Facts About Cryonics Student comments 204

Riddles for the Asking 207

Answer Key 211

Riddles Answer Key 231

Read More Show Less

First Chapter

What's Up in Science?

Puzzles and Problem-Solving Activities to Build Science Literacy, Grades 6-10
By Robert G. Hoehn

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2004 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-7879-7003-4

Chapter One

Section 1 Preserved Evidence of Past Life

This section offers twelve activities related to the discovery of fossils. Fossils are the preserved evidence of past geological life. The remains of ancient plants and animals tell a great deal about their surroundings and the conditions under which they lived.

The puzzle exercises, open-ended questions, and brain builder activities in this section are designed to encourage students to use their creative and critical thinking skills. At the end of this section you will find a list titled Challenge Activities. These may serve as a reward for those students who desire extra credit.

1 What Fossils Have to Say

-Standard-Based Concept-

Fossils provide evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed.


Fossils are preserved evidence of ancient geologic life. Ancient geologic life extends from the earliest ages recorded in rocks through the last Ice Age. A fossil may be an insect trapped in amber or a leaf imprint in a layer of sandstone. A saber-toothed cat, preserved in asphalt, and a woolly mammoth, frozen in ice, are examples of fossils. A scientist who studies fossils is known as a paleontologist.

What can be learned from studying fossils? Some reveal their shape, size, and where they lived; others tell a great deal about the conditions under which they lived. Regardless of what fossils say, one thing is clear: Certain plants and animals lived during past ages and then became extinct.


In 2000, a fisherman in Southern California spotted the fossilized remains of a 25-million-year-old organism thought to be an evolutionary link between a modern organism and its ancient ancestor.

1. Use the clues to help you identify the mystery organism. CLUES: a mammal; a fluke-powered, plankton-eater; three of the letters spell law. Answer: _________________

2. A paleontologist visited the site and collected parts of the skull and a tooth. He found a third bone. What was it? CLUE: The letters spelling the answer appear in these two words: one, bare. Answer: __________________________

3. Now it's your turn to find fossil animal bones. Let's say you discover four fossil bones while hiking in the hills. In order to receive credit for your find, you must write the bone names in spaces below the sketch. The groups of letters needed to spell the name of each bone are scattered along the hill. Place the bone names in alphabetical order. CLUE: Look for the names of the collarbone, thigh bone, kneecap, and breastbone.


In 2001, a tiny skull reported to be 195 million years old turned up in China. Some scientists believe the organism could be an ancestor to humans. What kind of animal are the scientists talking about?

4. Unscramble five of the eight underlined letters below to reveal the answer. NOTE: Read the material below for a clue as well as pulling out the letters.

B i g b r a i n, c o m p l e x s k u l l

P r o b a b l y a t e b u g s a n d w o r m s

H a d c a n i n e - l i k e t e e t h.

The animal was a ________________________________.


Challenge Number One: What do you think this means?

0 degrees Centigrade Age 32 degrees Fahrenheit

Challenge Number Two: Plants grow in soil. Think of a way to get soil out of a fossil plant.

2 Long-Ago Life Forms

-Standard-Based Concept-

Scientists rely on fossils to provide evidence about Earth's past.


A slow-moving snail. A thorn-covered rosebush. A jellyfish drifting in the sea. These are examples of multi-cellular or many-celled organisms. Some live on land; others prefer a watery environment. And according to one theory, the multi-cellular organisms have been on Earth for 500 million years. A recent fossil find suggests the evolution of multi-cellular life forms may have started a billion years ago.


Scientists in India have found what appear to be tunnels left by prehistoric animals. They found the burrows in 1.1 billion-year-old rocks. There were no remains of the tunnel-digging creatures. The fossilized tunnels are known as trace fossils. A trace fossil provides evidence that a once-living organism lived there but left no remains behind. Even so, scientists study trace fossils and gain valuable information about prehistoric life.

1. What sort of animals can you think of that might dig tunnels?

2. Scientists believe the tunnels are twice as old as any other evidence for multi-cellular life yet discovered. What evidence might support this condition?


Some scientists think wormlike creatures tunneled through sand beds underneath a shallow sea covering what is now central India. Since no remains exist, scientists can't say for sure what these ancient organisms looked like. However, we do know a few things about modern-day squirmy worms.

3. Let's test your worm I.Q. Use the clues to help you complete the puzzle.

W __ __ __ __ __ a worm's short, jerky motion

O __ __ __ __ __ a worm's internal structures

R __ __ __ __ some worms have this body shape

M __ __ __ __ __ these worms live in the sea

S __ __ __ where some worms live

4. Look at the tunnels labeled A, B, and C in the illustration below. What do you notice about the diameter of the burrow holes?

I noticed the burrow holes ______________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________ If you noticed that Tunnel A was much wider than Tunnel B, that will help you understand why scientists assume that the longer a tunnel was used by the organisms, the wider it became.


Challenge Number One: Think of a way to illustrate a WIDE tunnel using six letters and five dashes.

Challenge Number Two: Gophers are burrowing rodents. They leave holes or openings in the ground. What four letters in GOPHER spell a name that describes a small opening?

3 Footprints from the Past

-Standard-Based Concept-

Organisms become preserved as fossils in a variety of ways.


Fossils are preserved evidence of past ancient life. Scientists find many fossil bones, shells, and teeth in different parts of the world. These hard parts may stay buried for millions of years and undergo little change.

Paleontologists are scientists who study plant and animal fossils. Many fossils reveal secrets about life in the past, such as climate and environmental conditions. Most fossils are found in sedimentary rock.


Not all fossils come from the hard parts of organisms. Animal footprints, worm burrows, and trails of animals may harden as a mold. A mold is a cavity or imprint left by an organism. In time the mold becomes buried under layers of sedimentary material.


In April 2000, a man in St. George, Utah, found about 150 dinosaur footprints in his backyard. Scientists say the footprints are representative of a mix of plant- and meat-eating dinosaurs that lived about 200 million years ago.

1. Read the statements below. Then arrange them in the order you think best describes how dinosaur footprints might turn into fossils. Write the statements in the empty spaces.

They plod through mud and leave footprints behind. They seek food along a river bank or lake shoreline.

Layers of mud, clay, or rock build up over the prints.

A mixture of sand and water covers the prints.

Millions of years pass by.

Several dinosaurs are present.

Fossilized footprints form in sedimentary rock. The mixture turns into cement and hardens.

They step in soft mud and sink.

(1) _________________________________________________________________

(2) _________________________________________________________________

(3) _________________________________________________________________

(4) _________________________________________________________________

(5) _________________________________________________________________

(6) _________________________________________________________________

(7) _________________________________________________________________

(8) _________________________________________________________________

(9) _________________________________________________________________

2. What do you think dinosaur footprints tell scientists?

3. Circle the four parts of a foot hiding in the series of letters that could easily be identified in a fossil footprint.

o c r a n i n s t e p h e e l t o r i d c l a w e t o l t o e b y a k l e

4. If you discovered fossil tracks like those below, what would you say the animal was doing?


Challenge Number One: What four letters in DINOSAUR spell the name of rock material finer than gravel?

Challenge Number Two: Five letters in DINOSAUR spell radio. If you take a DINOSAUR's radio away, the remaining letters would spell the name of a star in the solar system. What is the name of the star?

4 Early Wings

-Standard-Based Concept-

Scientists base their explanations of nature using observations, experiments, and a variety of scientific models. These interpretations are tentative and subject to change.


The process of science is based on producing knowledge about the physical world. A scientist may collect evidence by observing a subject over time or by gathering data from technical sources. Although much information has been collected over the years, many natural processes and events remain a mystery.


Many scientists believe birds evolved from dinosaurs. Fossils found in central Asia in 1969 by a Russian scientist have recently come under study. The fossils show a feathered reptile from about 220 million years ago. Surprisingly, this would be 75 million years BEFORE the first bird.

1. Does the fossil evidence prove that birds evolved from an earlier reptile rather than a dinosaur? Why or why not?

2. The fossil evidence indicates that the early reptile lacked the muscles needed for flight. If so, what might have been the function of the feathers?

3. According to the findings, the teeth and various body structures of the fossil remains are like those of birds. Is this enough evidence to say that birds evolved from earlier reptiles? Why or why not?


A paleontologist is a fossil scientist who, like a detective, gathers information to solve problems. A paleontologist often has to determine past events from a limited amount of evidence. Here's your chance to play Fossil Detective. Use the clues to help you solve the following problems:

4. Dr. Jennifer Ortiz, paleontologist, found an extinct amphibian bone. Name the bone and tell where it belongs in the animal's body. Fill in the blanks with the answers. Use the clues to help you find the answers.

CLUE: A straight line from the center of a circle to the surface.

CLUE: Not in the head or the pelvic zone. Try what lies next to the ulna bone.

The __ a __ __ __ s is found in the _________________________________.

5. Dr. Lewis Means, paleontologist, uncovered an extinct reptile bone. Name the bone and tell where it belongs in the animal's body. Fill in the blanks with the answers.

CLUE: Rearrange these groups of letters: le dib man

CLUE: It rests below the eyes and nose, and serves to rip its deadly foes.

The __ __ n __ __ __ l __ is found in the ______________________.


Challenge Number One: The feathered, four-legged reptile was 83 percent of one foot long. How long is that in inches?

Challenge Number Two: Use four letters in FOSSIL to describe the surface layer of earth.

5 Two Steps Ahead of the Rest

-Standard-Based Concept-

Fossils indicate that many organisms living long ago are now extinct. Lizards appeared about 200 million years ago. Some survived extinction and continue to live today.


Lizards are reptiles with long, slender, scaly bodies. They travel on four legs and carry a long tail. They live in hot, dry deserts all over the world. Lizards have external (outside) ears and legs with clawed toes on each foot. They can move their eyelids. Lizards measure from 5 cm (about 2 inches) to 12 feet in length. Some legless lizards bear a close resemblance to snakes.


In 2000, researchers in Germany found the fossil remains of a new species of lizard. They removed the fossil from a stone quarry. A quarry is a place where rocks are cut or blasted out of an area. The rocks are used for building materials.

1. Why were the researchers lucky to find a new species of lizard in the stone quarry?

2. After the researchers brought the 10-inch fossil to the lab, it took them two years to remove the rock that encased the lizard. Why do you think it took so long?


The new find amazed the researchers. The remains showed the lizard to be a two-footed sprinter able to outrun the hungriest predator. The ability to walk upright on two feet is known as bipedalism.

3. Many bipeds have long, strong hind legs. This gives them excellent jumping ability and allows them to run at a fast clip. Use this information to complete the drawing of the lizard.


4. Scientists use a process called age dating to tell the approximate age of a fossil. They believe the lizard may be _______ million years old. Solve the problem and write the answer in the blank space. PROBLEM: Multiply 5.9 by 60. Add 2,140 to the answer. Subtract 372 from the total. Add 1,400. Now divide the total by 6, then subtract 297. NOTE: This problem is an arithmetic stretching exercise, not a model of age-dating.


Excerpted from What's Up in Science? by Robert G. Hoehn Copyright © 2004 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)