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Student science journalists tackle concussions, climate change and teaching physics

BY Matt Ehrichs  July 9, 2014 at 10:08 AM EDT
PBS NewsHour's Student Reporting Labs looked for science in their communities. From climate change and unreported concussions to physics magic shows and cafeteria nutrition science, these are their stories.

PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs looked for science in their communities. From climate change and unreported concussions to physics magic shows and cafeteria nutrition science, these are their stories.

Student Reporting Labs Science Wednesday

What happens when a group of teens turn their cameras on high-school football players, captive flamingos and lunch meats? This year, as part of the Student Reporting Labs program , the PBS NewsHour challenged youth journalists to pitch, produce, shoot and edit their own videos.

From Detroit to Newark to Missoula, students investigated what concussions do to memory, citizen scientists battling climate change and new ways of measuring lunch nutrition. One group profiled a teacher who took the classic egg-drop experiment a step further by launching eggs with lighter fluid.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite science videos that grew out of this challenge:

Student athletes slow to report multiple concussions

A judge on Monday granted preliminary approval of a multimillion-dollar settlement between the NFL and players suffering concussion-related injuries. But the issue extends beyond professional athletes. Millions of students throughout the nation are also suffering severe consequences of playing sports. Lack of focus and retention are among the symptoms of concussions and head injuries.

This video produced by our Student Reporting Lab at Austin High School with mentor assistance from KLRU in Austin features a teenager who has had more than 20 concussions.

Citizen scientists track climate change through Glacier National Park

Citizen scientists in Missoula, Montana have taken on the ambitious task of tracking wildlife patterns and changes in the ecosystems of 130 lakes and 20 massive ice sheets that stretch across the city of Missoula, Montana and Glacier National Park.

This video was produced with mentor assistance from MontanaPBS.

Feds lose appetite for school’s approach to nutritional lunches

Elementary school students from Newark, New Jersey have sunk their teeth into a controversy over school lunch. At Philip’s Academy Charter, students eat nutritious, home-cooked meals “family-style, serving each other from large, communal bowls. But the USDA, the federal agency that monitors school-lunch programs has pulled $400,00 in food-related funding from the school, citing concerns over portion size and food handling.

This video was produced at our Student Reporting Labs at Philip’s Academy Charter in Newark, NJ with mentor assistance from NJTV.

Launching eggs with lighter fluid sets off passion for physics

And finally, to inspire his students, physics teacher Glenn Govertson uses ordinary objects in unexpected ways.

This video was produced by our Student Reporting Labs at Sentinel High School in Missoula, Montana with mentor assistance from Montana PBS.

The Student Reporting Labs science program is funded by the National Science Foundation.