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Science - Central Indiana: Earth Science 100


Common Science Magazines--Lay Literature

Magazines are considered lay literature because they are written in a way that readers can understand without having to be professionals in order to understand the subject.  The articles are often meant to highlight in-depth research by summarizing articles and providing a more simplified style of writing. The following list is of science magazines available through Ivy Tech.  Not all magazines may be available online; however, up-to-date print issues are usually available in the library.

Current Event Essays

***These are the updated instructions as of May 30, 2018.  For more current instructions, contact your professor.***


SCIN 100 - Current Event Essays

Students will write 2 essays during the semester.  The topic for your essay is a current event in science.

Each Current Event ESSAY is worth 50 points 

Minimum Word Length for each Current Event Essay: 750 words 


Directions: Read through several recent scientific magazines (suggested publications:  Science, National Geographic, Discover, New Scientist, Scientific American, or Nature; paper or online versions of these sources are appropriate; another starting point for student research is 

Pick out articles that relate directly to topics covered within this Earth Science class (published within the last three years).

Essay #1 should relate to Geology.  Topics for Essay 1 might include: renewable/nonrenewable resources, energy resources, minerals, rocks, plate tectonics, earthquakes, earthquake prediction/forecasting/mitigation, Earth's interior, volcanoes, volcanic eruption prediction/forecasting/mitigation, intraplate volcanism, deformation, faulting, mountain building, Isostacy, weathering & erosion, soil, soil conservation, landslides, surface water, groundwater, aquifers, flooding, deserts/desertification, glaciers, ice ages, geologic time, age of the Earth, relative age dating, radiometric age dating, or extinction events.

 Essay #2 should relate to Oceanography or Meteorology.  Topics for Essay 2 include: origin of Earth's atmosphere, origin of Earth's oceans, oceanic ridges, seafloor sediments, continental margins, deep ocean trenches, ocean waves/tides/currents, Earth's seasons, greenhouse effect, ozone hole, albedo, humidity, clouds, precipitation, cloud seeding, fog, air pressure, wind, El Nino/La Nina, monsoons, air masses, weather fronts, thunderstorms, tornadoes, tornado prediction/forecasting/mitigation, hurricanes, hurricane prediction/forecasting/mitigation, sea level rise, ocean acidification, climate, or climate change.


Essays will be submitted online and checked for plagiarism.

Each Current Event Essay must include:

  1. Title of Primary Source Article  [note - only 1 primary source article is required; however, most students utilize at least 2 related articles plus their textbook]
  2. Primary Source Article Author and Discussion of Author Qualifications [note - if the chosen article is a summary of a scientific journal article, include qualifications of both the article author and the research scientist]
  3. Summary of Primary Source Article - IN YOUR OWN WORDS [suggested length = minimum 2 paragraphs]
  4. Critique of Primary Source Article - IN YOUR OWN WORDS  [this section should be the bulk of your essay, suggested length = minimum 4 paragraphs]
  5. Specifically address the following questions:
    • How does the topic of the article affect the Earth as a whole?
    • How does this article relate to my life?
  6. References (APA format preferred)

Please use the above 6 numbers/headings to organize your essay.


What is a Critique? A book report only summarizes the article.  A critical essay is you explaining what you think of their data.  For a 750-word essay, the summary should only be about one or two paragraph long (or about ¼ or so of the document).  The rest of the report should be your thoughts about the topic.  Analyze the pros and cons of the article.  Is the author presenting good science or just opinion?  Is the author a recognized expert?  How could the article be improved?

What is Good Science? The instructions above ask you to evaluate whether the article is ‘good science’.  DO NOT just tell me it is ‘good science’.  Explain why.  Start by asking yourself these questions: Did they try and use the scientific method (Ch. 1)? Did they support the conclusions with facts?  Did they provide the facts or a reference to them?  If the answer is no to any of those basic questions, then it’s probably not good quality science, and you probably need to find a supplemental article to add additional support to your essay.


  • +5 Extra Credit points if you have your essay proof-read by one of the English tutors located in the Learning Center (located at the Downtown or Lawrence campuses) OR students can get their essay proofread by  Turn in a paper copy of the SIGNED tutor report on the essay’s due date.

Minimum Word Length for Each Essay:                  750 words

Point Value:                       50 points for each essay

Please refer to the course syllabus for specific due dates.

No late assignments will be accepted.

What's your favorite Publication?

Your favorite magazine
Science: 36 votes (10.71%)
Nature: 49 votes (14.58%)
Discover: 34 votes (10.12%)
Scientific American: 10 votes (2.98%)
National Geographic: 199 votes (59.23%)
New Scientist: 8 votes (2.38%)
Total Votes: 336