A Tool for Your Science Toolbox: Natural Inquirer

Natural Inquirer is a free science education journal written for middle through high school age students.

Natural Inquirer was created so that scientists could share their research with youth. Materials are available for viewing, download, and print order for FREE!

Natural Inquirer products are produced by the USDA Forest Service, FIND Outdoors, and other partners. Project Learning Tree (PLT) works with the USDA Forest Service to conduct conservation education and environmental education initiatives across the United States.

Here are a few ways that Natural Inquirer might enhance your science teaching, outreach, and PLT offerings:


Extend PLT Activities

Several PLT resources have been correlated to Natural Inquirer to quickly show which Natural Inquirer articles can support the PLT activities you may already know and love!

Practice Scientific Writing 

Each Natural Inquirer article follows the same format as a scientific journal article by including an Introduction, Methods, Findings, and Discussion section. Use Natural Inquirer to get students accustomed to this format and even practice selecting a topic, brainstorming, and conducting research and writing themselves.

Explore Careers

Each Natural Inquirer article includes a “Meet the Scientists!” section that introduces different possible careers. After sharing an article with youth, share the careers highlighted in the article or brainstorm associated green career pathways.

To support this conversation, check out additional PLT and USFS resources available including Working for Forests (website), Journeys of Black Professionals in Green Careers (free e-book), and Scientist & Engineer Career Cards (free download).


Practice Math

Many Natural Inquirer articles contain “Number Crunch” sections, which offer teachers and students the chance to practice math, calculations, and numerical relationships. Bee on the lookout for this pensive pollinator (pictured to the right) to hone STEM skills.

Meet Education Standards

The final pages of each Natural Inquirer article contain content correlations to National Education Standards, including Science, Social Studies, Common Core, and Next Generation Science Standards.

So don’t delay! Visit https://www.naturalinquirer.org to add Natural Inquirer to your science teaching toolbox today. 

Jackie Stallard

Jackie Stallard

Jackie is Director of Curriculum for Project Learning Tree. Jackie oversees the next generation of PLT’s PreK-12 environmental education materials, as well as other instructional materials and resources. She also directs strategic alliances that advance curriculum implementation with other environmental education and sustainability resource providers.