DPS Secondary Science News

September, 2017

Science Tools for All

I hope you were able to visit the tables of our community partners at our opening of school on August 23. We were fortunate to have a number of science partners join us, including a Durham start-up, Triangle DIY Biology. This organization's mission is "to further the idea that anyone can participate in the exciting scientific fields of biology, genetic engineering, and biotechnology."

This trend is part of a national movement to make the tools of science accessible to all. Recently, I learned about a scientist at Stanford, Manu Prakash, who has created to incredible paper tools-- a microscope and a centrifuge-- that are designed with this in mind. The microscope costs about 50 cents; the centrifuge costs about 20 cents. Think of what might be accomplished when the tools of science are no longer restricted to areas with electricity and financial resources!

I can only imagine what teachers will be able to do with these new tools!

Many of our community partners will be offering sessions during our upcoming Out of the Box sessions-- be sure to look for these!

Science takes Center Stage: Solar Eclipse 2017

Upcoming Events- Details coming soon to your inbox

  • September 19 Quarterly Course PLCs @ Lowe's Grove (Middle School Science)

Quick News

  • Does your school need microscopes or balances repaired? Please make sure your chair knows! We will be collecting requests VERY early in the school year.

  • You will or have received an email from Safe Schools to complete the science lab safety training. Please make sure you complete this ASAP. I will work on getting credit for you. This training is REQUIRED this year for all science teachers.

Congratulations to our Science Teachers!

Hats off to City of Medicine Academy, with the second highest growth index in the State (17.28)!

Been recognized for something? Let me know, so we can celebrate your professional achievements!

DPS District EVAAS Growth in Biology 2016-17

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DPS District EVAAS Growth in 8th Grade Science 2016-17

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Grants and Goodies

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BirdSleuth Garden Grants!

We're giving away $25,000 to support school gardens across the United States. Thanks to our partners at Alaska® Fertilizer, we're offering grants ranging from $500 to $2,000 to 20 schools. Whether you're building or revitalizing a kid-friendly, bird-friendly school garden, we want to support your efforts to get kids outside and growing skills that matter! Learn more and apply by October 8th.


Celestron Optics is supporting classrooms who participate in citizen-science projects and could benefit by having high-quality optics. Whether you’re watching a bird feeder, going out on regular bird walks, or participating in a bio blitz… share with us how your students are practicing their science skills and what you could accomplish with a classroom set of these great Celestron binoculars. Binoculars will be given on a rolling basis through December 2017 until all 120 pairs have been distributed. Grant recipients will be selected at the end of each month, with 1-2 programs receiving the grant each month. As a grant recipient, you will be required to share your citizen-science experience using the binoculars through the BirdSleuth Action Map. Teachers at any school (both public and private) in the United States are welcome to apply.

Promoting Innovation in Science and Mathematics

Burroughs Wellcome Fund supports teaching professionals in their efforts to provide quality hands-on, inquiry-based activities for their students. PRISM promotes excitement for science and mathematics in the classroom by providing funds for materials, equipment, and supplies related to the implementation of high quality curriculum and activities in the classroom. This award provides up to $3,000 for one year to cover the cost of equipment, materials, and supplies. An additional $1,500 may be requested for professional development related to the implementation of new equipment or use of materials in the classroom. Awards are made to teaching professionals that hold a professional educator's license to teach in a North Carolina K-12 public school.

Enroll your school in Science News in High Schools for free!

Receive integrated, dynamic science journalism and ready-to-use, standard-aligned teaching content through our Science News in High Schools program. Regeneron is funding the participation of 4,000 public high schools during the 2017-18 school year. Spots are filling up fast, so fill out the Science News in High Schools interest form today to sign up:


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NCSTA PDI Registration Assistance

The Carolina’s Chapter of the Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists is providing funding for up to three teachers to attend the upcoming N.C. Science Teachers Association Professional Development Institute (NCSTA PDI). Interested applicants must be involved in teaching or educating about the earth sciences or geosciences. Funding will cover the $90 registration fee to the conference and will be reimbursed after the conference. Pre-registration deadline for the PDI is September 30, 2017.

Interested applicants should answer the following questions in an email and send to Randy.Bechtel@ncdenr.gov, by 5:00 pm Friday September 22, 2017.

  1. Who do you work for and what is your position?
  2. What is your role in earth science and/or geoscience education? (<100 words)
  3. How do you expect attending the PDI will impact your teaching or your work as an educator? (<200 words)
  4. How will your participation impact others? (<200 words)
Would this be your first time attending the NCSTA-PDI?

2017 NCSTA Share-a-thons

NCSTA is looking for science educators who are willing to share their favorite science activity at one of the five Share-a-thons at the conference October 19-20. Elementary and Middle School Share-a-thons will be on Thursday Oct.19; the other 3 Share-a-thons will be on Friday Oct. 20. Those who volunteer must register for the conference and bring a copy of their activity to share with attendees who will rotate around a large room. We expect activities to be very engaging and closely aligned to North Carolina’s Science Standards. If you are interested, please click here to sign up.

If you have any questions, email addresses follow:

Elementary Science (K-5) Manley Midgett midgettm@meredith.edu

Middle School Science (6-8) Mike Tally mtally@nc.rr.com

Life Science/Biology Tammy Schooley tammy.schooley@carteretk12.org

Physical Sciences Lori Khan lori.khan@dpsnc.net

Earth Science Randy Bechtel randy.bechtel@ncdenr.gov


STEM Partnerships with NC Science Festival

Middle school classrooms can bring in a STEM expert to introduce students to new STEM careers and engage them through a hands-on activity as part of our Novozymes SciMatch program. Apply now so we can make a perfect match!

High school teachers of any subject are invited to bring our Science Spotlight into their classes anytime this fall or spring. Your students will engage in critical thinking and discussions of a key issue with science and policy implications. You’ll also have the opportunity to bring a STEM expert into your classroom (in person or virtually) to take the discussion to the next level with you students. Apply now to share this great program with your students!

Announcing the North Carolina Biodiversity Project Website

In order to make biodiversity information as widely available and as useful as possible, we present it in a series of freely available websites and checklists. Our portal website is located at http://nc-biodiversity.com/ , which provides a centralized set of links to our other, taxon-focused websites and checklists, as well as links to the websites of other groups that share our aims. From the Butterflies of North Carolina website originally created by Harry LeGrand and Tom Howard to the most recently added Orthoptera of North Carolina, we now have six websites up and running (some still works-in-progress). Checklists covering four additional taxonomic groups are also included and several more websites and lists are in the planning stages.

NC’s Candid Critters in the Classroom: Kid Scientists Needed to Document NC’s Wildlife!

Do you ever wonder what animals lurk in the wildest parts of the state? Or in your own backyard? Now is your chance to discover the secrets of wildlife right here in North Carolina by participating in “North Carolina’s Candid Critters,” a new research project of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, NC Wildlife Resources Commission and NC State University. We are looking for K-12 teachers in all 100 counties of NC to help us collect mammal photographs by running camera traps with their students. Animal photos are an engaging way to get kids excited about science and the natural world. Plus, the photos generated turn into data, allowing students and scientists to map where animals live, and when and where they are most active across the state. We have lesson plans and automated data analysis tools freely available and aligned with NC standards in science, math, and ELA to make implementing Candid Critters in your classroom seamless. No matter what county you live in, you can borrow a camera trap from a nearby public library. While you are discovering what wildlife lives near you, you will be helping scientists learn more about the distribution of all mammal species across the state. To sign up and for more information, visit NCCandidCritters.org. If you have any questions please contact Dr. Stephanie Schuttler at Stephanie.schuttler@naturalsciences.org or 919-707-8088.

PLC has Science Materials to Share!

Please contact Heather Czechowski if your school can use:

  • 14 of the 2000 mL glass media bottles
  • 29 of the 250 mL glass media bottles
  • 50 500 mL glass media bottles
  • 400 glass pipettes
  • 22 100 mL glass beakers

Student Opportunities in Science

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As the University of North Carolina Wilmington’s MarineQuest program enters its 38th year, we hope you join us in continuing our mission to provide young people the opportunity to develop into environmentally responsible adults through exploration and discovery of our marine habitats. We offer school programs for students of all ages, from pre-school through pre-college, and work diligently to ensure that our lessons and activities are aligned with state, national, and the Ocean Literacy Principles standards. Our goal is to make the learning process fun and engaging, and we base many of our programs on the current research of UNCW scientists!

Here is a link to the MarineQuest online brochure with detailed information about our school program offerings: https://issuu.com/uncwmarinequest/docs/school_brochure

Our calendar fills-up quickly so don’t miss out on the opportunity to book a field trip with MarineQuest! You can complete a Program Reservation Request HERE.

PD Opportunities for Teachers

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STEM Externships for DPS Teacher on Out of the Box-- MUST REGISTER HERE BY Sept 29

Come experience STEM at a local company during your teacher workday on October 25th 2017 from 2:30pm to 5pm! Immerse yourself in cutting edge technology and meet employees who can speak with you about their career journey in STEM. Bring back those ideas to your classroom!

Sign up for your timeslot today! Click here for Signup Genius Survey. Deadline to sign up is Friday September 29th.

STEM in the Park (formally US2020 RTP) is facilitating ‘Educator ExternTrips’, in collaboration with “Out of the Box”, for Durham County teachers during the afternoon of October 25th. Teachers will be able to spend their teacher workday visiting one of several STEM companies in the area to learn about cutting edge STEM technology, take a company tour and hear from employees on skills needed for future STEM careers. Companies include: Syngenta, Bayer, EPA and EA Genomics.

Space is limited and is first come first serve. Teachers will be expected to complete a post survey and write a 250 word blog post about their experience and its application to the classroom. All grade levels welcome!

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Teacher Appreciation Day - September 19

On Tuesday, September 19, 5-8 p.m., teachers are invited to visit Morehead Planetarium and Science Center for free in celebration of YOU. Teachers, administrators or district staff members that work for any public or private school for grades K through 12 can sign up here and show their teacher ID for free entry.

Teachers will have the opportunity to explore Morehead, as well as, participate in some special activities, including:

  • Samples of science presentations typically only offered to field trips.
  • Preview a Planetarium show offered on field trips.
  • Check out the mobile planetarium for 'at your school' visits.
  • Free previews of Enrichment courses offered for 'at your school' visits.
  • Explore our mobile lab.

Teachers will also be offered dinner, Morehead gifts, and a 10 percent discount in the Morehead gift shop.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

5:30 - 8:30 pm

At the NC Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh

Are you looking for fun and engaging new ideas and curriculum-correlated STEM lessons for your students? Do you want to talk one-on-one with the scientists and researchers behind the content you’re teaching? Do you plan to bring your class on a field trip to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences this year? The SciREN Triangle Networking Event and Museum Open House is an information exchange night just for educators! This special night invites scientists and teachers from the Triangle/Piedmont region to interact in a relaxed environment. The event showcases the wide array of Museum programs and opportunities for both teachers and students available both on- and offsite. Educators can preview exhibits and activities while working out the logistics of a school field trip, talk directly with museum staff about onsite programs, and find out first-hand about virtual-education classes, outreach, and professional development opportunities.

Online registration is available for this FREE event at http://www.thesciren.org/educators/edu-registration/sciren-triangle-educator-registration/


· Free, curriculum-correlated K–12 lesson plans.

· Opportunities to talk directly with scientists.

· Information about the registration process for field trips and classes, virtual education programs, outreach programs, and more.

· Opportunities to explore the Museum’s galleries and exhibits.

· Opportunities to sign up for professional development workshops both on-site and in the field.

· Free food and giveaways!

EVENT INFORMATION FREE, but registration is appreciated. Register at http://www.thesciren.org/educators/edu-registration/sciren-triangle-educator-registration/

Location: Main museum building (located across the street from the Legislative building):

11 West Jones Street Raleigh, NC 27601

For additional information about this or other educator opportunities, contact Megan Chesser at megan.chesser@naturalsciences.org or 919.707.9905

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New Rx for Science Literacy workshops announced for 2017-18

NCABR is excited to announce new workshops for the 2017-18 Rx for Science Literacy series. Because a limited number of seats are available, we encourage you to register as soon as possible. Registration is completely free.

Exploring Bioethics

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Duke University, Durham
8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Rx for Science Literacy is partnering with Duke University to present Exploring Bioethics. This one-day workshop is based on a NIH curriculum that gives students an opportunity to grapple with some of the most challenging and engaging ethical issues our society is facing as a result of advances in the life sciences. By providing conceptual guidelines that promote careful thinking about difficult cases, the curriculum stresses the importance of presenting thoughtful and relevant reasons for considered positions on ethical issues.

The Rx for Science Literacy workshop series provides K-12 educators a unique opportunity to tour research facilities, hear from scientists about their latest research advances and take a home a free curriculum and other bioscience education materials.

Using Bioinformatics: Genetic Testing

Thursday, November 2, 2017
Duke University, Durham
8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Rx for Science Literacy is partnering with Duke University to present a one-day workshop featuring the curriculum Using Bioinformatics: Genetic Testing, which was developed by the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research. The curriculum explores how bioinformatics is applied to genetic testing. Specifically, the bioinformatics tools of BLAST and Cn3D are used to investigate the genetic and molecular consequences of a mutation to the Breast Cancer Susceptibility 1 (BRCA1) gene.

Participants will be introduced to principles-based bioethics in order to support their thoughtful consideration of the many social and ethical implications of genetic testing. Throughout the unit, participants are presented with a number of career options in which the tools of bioinformatics are used.

DPS ESL Strategies and Certification for Content Teachers 2017-18 (free)

Classes are held every Saturday for 8 weeks.

Dates: September 30,

October 7, 14, 21 & 28

November 4, 11 & 18

Time: 9:00 am-1:00 pm

Location: Staff Development Center

The workshop is free to DPS classroom teachers. Additionally, the ESL department will reimburse the Praxis fee. It is a comprehensive blend of theory and application.

This workshop requires a commitment of 8 Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. It is an intense training resulting in an add-on license in ESL. The goal of this workshop is to empower classroom teachers with hands-on strategies to be able to support the ELLs in the classroom. This is not designed to replace college coursework in ESL. We recommend this for teachers of Pre-K 12 students who have a high number of ELLs in their classes. The instructors are from Duke Continuing Ed and DPS.

Contact info –
Sashi Rayasam – Director of K-12 ESL Services

Tel: 919-560-3783 X 21783 Cell: (191)-819-2697

Email- Sashi.Rayasam@dpsnc.net

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Join the Museum of Natural Sciences onsite or in the field for a professional development workshop this year! Our Educator Treks are online, and we’re excepting registrations now. The full listings are on our website at:http://naturalsciences.org/calendar/events/category/series/educator-treks/

Butterfly Pinning and Backyard Bug Collecting: Fall
NCMNS • Thus, Sept 21 • 6-8 pm • $40 • 2 contact hours
Prepare, pin and mount a variety of spectacular tropical butterflies!

Find Your Muse on the Millpond
Robertson Millpond Preserve, Wake County • Sat, Nov 11 • 12:30-5 pm • $55 • 4 contact hours
Join Museum Educators and Piedmont Poet Laureate Mimi Herman in an exploration of the connections between nature and writing. Discover an amazing swamp ecosystem as we paddle, and use the beauty of nature and the wonder of science as a means to express yourself through poetry.

Genes, Alleles, and Chromosomes, Oh My!
NCMNS • Sat, Dec 9 • 9-5 • $40 • 8 contact hours
Need a refresher on how DNA, chromosomes, genes and alleles are related? Want some tips on how to demonstrate the importance of meiosis to genetic variation? Spend the day in the Micro World Investigate Lab testing out a variety of hands-on genetics activities appropriate for upper elementary and middle school students and making instructional materials to take back to your classroom.

Where Swans Fly and Bears Walk
Pocosin Lakes Nat'l Wildlife Refuge • Fri, Jan 5 – Sat, Jan 6 • $90 • 12 contact hours
Experience one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in North Carolina and gain ideas for incorporating wild creatures into your teaching.

Mammal Collections
NCMNS • Sat, Feb 10 • 9-5 • $40 • 8 contact hours
Learn techniques used by museum curators to collect, prepare, and care for mammal specimens in a research collection.

Backbone of North Carolina
Sites along the Blue Ridge Parkway • Fri, Mar 2 – Sun, Mar 4 • $145 • 20 contact hours
Explore the geology of the North Carolina mountains as we travel along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway from Linville Gorge to Grandfather Mountain.

Secrets of the Swamp
Roanoke River near Jamesville, NC • Sat, Apr 7 – Sun, Apr 8 • $80 • 20 contact hours
Canoe and camp in a North Carolina swamp forest along the majestic Roanoke River and learn about the unique bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem.

Pitcher This: Plants that Eat Bugs
Green Swamp and Holly Shelter, near Wilmington, NC • Sat, Apr 21 – Sun, Apr 22 • $90 • 12 contact hours
North Carolina is home to an amazing diversity of plants, including some of the ‘most wonderful plants in the world,’ according to Charles Darwin. Join the Museum and the NC Botanical Garden to discover and learn about our wonderful insect-eating plants and the habitats in which they thrive.

Spring in the Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains National Park • Fri, Apr 27 – Sun, Apr 29 • $90 • 20 contact hours
Participate in ongoing research projects studying the impacts of air quality and climate change and bring home ideas to teach about our interdependence with the natural world.

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Eimy Rivas Plata, Lichenologist
Saturday, Sept 23; 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
Among the first life-forms to live on land, lichens have occupied nearly every habitat on Earth and grow on many of the surfaces of our environment. Explore the fascinating world of lichen biology, the dazzling diversity of the local lichen flora, and their importance as indicators of environmental health. Includes lecture, demonstrations, and a field trip. Fee: $65 ($58 Members)

Native Southeastern Medicinal Plants

Ricky Bratz, Herbalist at Vital Bloom Botanicals
Sunday, Sept 24; 1:30 – 4:30 PM

Participants explore the beauty of native southeastern medicinal plants through field identification. Using the expansive resources of the NCBG gardens themselves as well as woodland trails in close proximity, students take in the abundant medicine that our local flora has to offer. Topics include field identification, ethical gathering and harvesting, history and lore of each plant, therapeutic and medicinal uses, as well as preparations. Fee: $38 ($34 Members)

The Wonder of Seeds – An Educator Workshop

Mike Dunn and Elisha Taylor, NCBG Natural Science Educators

Saturday, Nov 4; 1:00 – 4:30 PM

“Seeds are a marvel, worthy of our study, praise, and wonder…” ~Thor Hanson, author of The Triumph of Seeds

We are utterly dependent on seeds, so they are, indeed, worthy of study. Learn hands-on activities to help teach basic seed biology, plant-animal interrelationships, the marvels of seed dispersal, and much more. Take home a selection of native plant seeds to plant and gain ideas for discovery-based activities to enhance your teaching about seeds and plants. Fee: $25 ($22 Members)

Coaching a Science Olympiad Team?

Oct 6&7 - Coaches Clinic, Raleigh. All 3 divisions again this year. Registration is open for this now. We have already secured 6 national event supervisors from around the country to come and give you some new insights on events.

Science in the News

How Hurricane Harvey Became So Destructive


Scientists say warm waters and stagnant winds in the upper atmosphere built a monster of a storm. Whether climate change is to blame is less clear.

• The Relationship Between Hurricanes and Climate Change

With a Simple DNA Test, Family Histories Are Rewritten


Widespread DNA testing has shed light on the ancestry of millions of Americans. But these services have limitations, and the results can be uncertain.

• The Wirecutter Guide to the Best DNA Ancestry Testing Kit

Gut Bacteria Can Fluctuate With the Seasons


The discovery, in a study of hunter-gatherers in Africa, eventually may help scientists learn how modern diets have affected health.

Bending the Rules of Geometry


Hyperbolic geometry may be partially responsible for breakthroughs in physics such as general relativity and quantum field theory. But we’re not used to seeing curved environments like the ones in this video. Enter a world that defies our basic assumptions about the rules of geometry.

Alaska’s Permafrost Is Thawing


The loss of frozen ground in Arctic regions is a striking result of climate change. And it is also a cause of more warming to come.