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"Dragon Science" Guide & Resources

Welcome to "Dragon Science," this year's foreign special. Join Scientific American Frontiers on a remarkable odyssey to China, from Hainan in the south, to Beijing, to remote Xinjiang, located along the ancient Silk Road. This scientific expedition presents a unique opportunity to study a blend of science, culture, history and geography.

In addition to enriching your study of science, this episode of Scientific American Frontiers is also valuable for interdisciplinary studies about how China's ancient culture is moving toward a hi-tech future.

"Dragon Science " features five individual stories. Here are the topics and running times of stories on this show and a brief description of related activities you'll find in this online teaching guide:

  • Dams and Dolphins (running time: 12:34) -- China gambles on the future by building a controversial dam on the Yangtze River. Learn how this decision may affect the seriously endangered Yangtze River dolphins. Activities include observing the presence and effect of osmotic pressure, conducting a field study of sedimentation and building a turbine.

  • Food for Thought (running time: 8:47) -- Learn how a courageous scientist revolutionized China's rice yields in a nation that feeds over one billion people. Activities include simulating hybrid genetics.

  • Driven to the Wall (running time: 6:37) -- See how fuzzy logic makes cars so smart they stop by themselves, and how fuzzy logic helps trains keep moving. Then try graphing fuzzy logic!

  • Wisdom of Li Shizhen (running time: 10:36) -- Herbal medicine has been practiced in China for thousands of years. Now scientists outside China are investigating the healing properties of traditional Chinese prescriptions. Quiz yourself to find out how much you know about medicine!

  • Time Travelers (running time: 12:12) -- The Caucasian features on ancient mummies buried in northwestern China astonished scientists. Where did these people come from and what did they bring to China in the way of technology? This activity includes making a 3-D representation of a human skull.

  • Viewer Challenge -- After you watch "Dragon Science," test your viewing skills with ten questions about the show!


Scientific American Frontiers
Fall 1990 to Spring 2000
Sponsored by GTE Corporation,
now a part of Verizon Communications Inc.