Science to Make You Smile—August 2022

As we approach the end of August, it’s time to take a look back at the incredible news and developments that the world of science has to offer! Did you know that tiger numbers are increasing in Nepal? Or that smartphones might be so bad for the human brain after all? Let’s take a look below and find out more.

Paw-some news for tigers!

It’s estimated that there are only 4,500 tigers left in the world—meaning that they are officially classified as “endangered”. There are many reasons for their decline, such as habitat loss and conflict between local communities and tigers who might harm their livestock. While these are ongoing struggles and it can be difficult to combat, Nepal has taken action to boost their tiger populations and help protect them. So what’s the good news? Well, tiger populations have increased by 40% compared to their numbers in 2015! (1) This was achieved through the combined efforts of local communities, partnerships with conservation organizations, and support from the government. This is positive news for the future, as Nepal has led the way in demonstrating that we really can help animals bounce back from the brink of extinction! 

Transforming takeout containers

Many takeout containers are composed of polystyrene, which is almost impossible to recycle as it’s a very complex process. It’s a huge problem for landfills, as polystyrene  Fortunately, scientists have figured out a way to get rid of these containers and help save the environment—and it’s all thanks to sunlight! By combining ultraviolet rays with a chemical catalyst, these takeout containers were transformed into a chemical found in seaweed, known as diphenylmethane. (2) Scientists discovered that sunlight helped break polystyrene down, however, if this were to happen naturally in the environment, it could lead to harmful chemicals being spread through oceans or the land—which is all the more reason to avoid using them!

The science is official—your dog really does miss you!

It can sometimes be obvious when a dog is feeling happy or excited, as they might wag their tail, jump, or playfully bark. But have you ever wondered if your dog misses you when you’ve been away? Maybe you went on vacation or had a long day at work, and came home to find your dog behaving like you were away for MUCH longer? Well, it turns out that our pups really do miss us, so much so that scientists have discovered that they produce a significant amount of happy tears when reunited with their owners! (3) Some scientists have questioned the reliability of these experiments, however, there is strong scientific evidence to suggest that dogs are highly in tune with human emotions. Both dogs and humans produce oxytocin during their interactions, and scientists found that this “love hormone” increased by 10% during the dogs’ interactions with their owners (4). While more research is needed to fully understand canine emotions, this seems like good enough evidence for us! 

Another James Webb telescope discovery!

Carbon dioxide can have harmful effects on the planet. For example, it’s a main contributor to climate change and prevents the Earth from being able to cool itself down, it’s also bad for the human body as it can make us feel dizzy or unwell. However, the presence of carbon dioxide isn’t always a bad thing, just ask NASA! Thanks to the James Webb telescope, carbon dioxide has been detected, for the first time ever, in the atmosphere of an exoplanet known as WASP-39 b. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that WASP-39 b can host life, as it’s far too close to the star it orbits for any form of life to exist (4). However, the James Webb telescope’s ability to detect carbon dioxide is a pivotal and special discovery for scientists, as the presence of carbon dioxide can allow scientists to understand more about a planet’s formation. We look forward to the next discovery from the James Webb telescope!

We’ll be posting another good news blog next month, so stay tuned and keep an eye on our socials so you don’t miss the next one!

For more exciting science news, make sure you sign up to Twig Science Reporter—our free, weekly news service.

Useful resources:


Learn more about Real-World Phenomena with

Twig Science Next Gen

Get the latest news from Twig Science Next Gen.

Free webinars and professional learning straight to your inbox.

The Benefits of Video Content in the Classroom

The benefits of Video Content in the Classroom

Why should you use videos in the classroom?

Today’s students are bombarded with information and distractions everywhere, so getting their attention in the classroom can be a challenge. The key is to adapt to what they need, offering engaging and exciting content tailored to Generation Z.

The traditional format of long lessons where the teacher is doing most of the talking is actually not the best way for humans to take in information – our brains prefer bite-sized nuggets of information. Having something visual to contextualise abstract concepts is also beneficial. This makes short, highly visual videos perfect for keeping students engaged while allowing them to easily digest new concepts and facts! 

Research shows that incorporating video content improves student engagement. For example, in a Kaltura study from 2016, 93% of teachers said that videos had a positive effect on student satisfaction and 88% said video usage improved student achievement levels. 

Other researchers like Willmot et al (2012) and Galbraith (2004) have also found pedagogical benefits in incorporating videos in teaching, such as increased student motivation, enhanced learning experiences and higher achievement in exams. 

Why use Twig?

Twig Education’s award-winning videos are made using high-quality content from the likes of BBC and NASA, and they are aligned to international curricula. This means you never have to worry about finding videos that are age-appropriate and aligned to your curriculum while still being fun and engaging – we’ve already done the work for you!

A University of Glasgow study showed that Twig videos support teachers to effectively teach their science curriculum. Teachers reported an increased interest in and understanding of lesson content among students. Our videos were also shown to overcome literacy barriers and support differing ability levels. 

Another study on the effectiveness of Twig content, carried out by Lancaster University, found that video supported long-term memory better than text content and that video content was particularly good for supporting understanding of concept-based topics. In addition, students who were less interested in science retained more facts and understanding from video content than from text alone. 

Videos can be used in a variety of ways – to introduce a new topic, to illustrate a topic as you teach it or for reinforcement and revision. They are perfect for effectively kickstarting student discussion, both in real life and online. 

Twig videos allow students to learn at their own pace. You can ask students to notice different aspects of a film and then come together and discuss it. If students struggle, they can come back to a film and watch it again – and those who find things easy can go off and explore related topics. 

Interested in finding out more?

Head over to Twig (ages 11–16), Tigtag (ages 7–11), Tigtag CLIL (ages 7–11, with additional language support), or Tigtag Junior (ages 4–7).

Learn more about Real-World Phenomena with

Twig Science Next Gen

Get the latest news from Twig Science Next Gen.

Free webinars and professional learning straight to your inbox.

Make More Aha! Moments with Twig

Two primary school students smile at each other in a classroom.

Make More Aha! Moments with Twig

Find out below how we’re transforming science education for teachers and students across the world.

Revolutionising science education, Twig provides award-winning resources to over 60 countries in more than 20 languages, preparing the next generation of scientists and citizens for the biggest issues in climate change, sustainability and innovation.

Inspiring students everywhere to engage with STEM through thousands of high-quality videos, investigations, experiments, and other digital resources, we’ve created some huge waves in the world of science education. In fact, in 2021, we were honoured to be named as the Assignment Report’s UK Education Industry Company of the Year, and to receive the trophy for Best Global Education STEM Learning Company at the Scottish Enterprise Awards!

Since 2020, Twig has established a number of partnerships across the world. In Guatemala, we collaborated with the Ministry of Education to provide free access to teachers and students on Aprendo en casa, while in Uruguay we joined the Ministry of Education and Culture to allow for the integration of Twig’s content in the virtual learning environment of Plan Ceibal, also known as “CREA”, with similar efforts taking place in Columbia, Chile and Spain during our first year of distance learning. In Peru, we delivered a national pilot for more than 20,000 participating students, across all 26 Peruvian regions. This included online training sessions for participating teachers in 2021, with more than 1,100 attendees.

Slightly further afield, we expanded our resources into a new language for the United Arab Emirates, offering short films for the national learning framework. This new edition, in both English and Arabic, was for the Ministry of Education’s learning management system and science lesson framework. 

We also hit a new milestone in the USA, where we now provide more than 25% of California schools with Twig Science – a product we developed into a distance learning solution, with video lessons, virtual hands-on labs, and filmed teacher videos to provide further support during school closures. 

Our free weekly news resource, Twig Science Reporter, has also continued to be a huge success, and now prepares to enter its seventh season. Including more than 400 stories and counting, the episodes keep us up-to-date with all the latest pressing problems and their scientific solutions across the globe. Available in both English and Spanish, our full episodes are just one example of our countless supplemental offerings – and our presenters Chris and Arantza never fail to get students excited about science and technology, either! What’s more, we were honoured to receive a Teacher Choice Award last year, which recognised all the hard work and dedication that goes into our materials.

Discover Tigtag and Twig

Tigtag is a complete science resource for students aged 7–11, containing engaging videos, visual resources, lesson plans and quizzes that provide teachers with fun and easy lesson activities that simplify tricky scientific concepts for primary school students.

Twig offers thousands of award-winning, 2-minute films that combine visual and adaptive learning for students aged 11–16, supported by hundreds of lesson plans and other classroom resources.

Learn more about Real-World Phenomena with

Twig Science Next Gen

Get the latest news from Twig Science Next Gen.

Free webinars and professional learning straight to your inbox.