DPS Secondary Science News

May 9-20, 2016

Transit of Mercury (and other exciting news)

Today is the transit of mercury. The next time we'll be able to view it is in 2019, so it's a great thing to highlight today. You can find lots of information about this event on the web at http://naturalsciences.org/calendar/event/mercury-transit-observation/ including a safe-to-watch live feed of the event from the Royal Observatory featured on this site: https://www.theguardian.com/science/live/2016/may/09/transit-of-mercury-2016-follow-todays-celestial-event-live. It's a clear reminder to me that science is the COOLEST subject to teach.

Best wishes to all those taking (and administering) AP exams!

This week: I will be at Northern, Carrington, Riverside, Githens, Lowe's Grove, and Southern. Science chairs meet on Tuesday, May 10, from 4-5:30 at the DPS Hub Farm.

Upcoming Events

  • May 10: 8th Grade Science Teachers Discuss the new mapping of the 8th grade science units, 3:15-4, Githens Middle School, C-7.
  • May 10: Secondary Science Chair Meeting, 4-5:30 p.m. (DPS Hub Farm)
  • May 13: Lowe's Grove STEM Exhibition, 11-12:30 p.m.
  • May 31: Chemical inventories due to Linda Tugurian by May 31

Quick News

  • PLEASE MAKE SURE you send your chemical inventories and microscope repair requests to linda.tugurian@dpsnc.net by the due date, Tuesday, May 31!

  • After many, many years, you will have new resources in your science classrooms in 2016-17. The resources approved are:

    Middle school science:

    · Class sets of informational texts McGraw Hill iScience

    · 5 years of kits from the Center for Inquiry Based Learning (with option to renew contract at the end of this period)

    6th grade 1st year: Solar System, Energy & Waves (expanding to 3 kits in 2017-18)

    7th grade 1st year: Genetics/Cells/Body Systems, Force & Motion (expanding to 3 kits in 2017-18)

    8th grade: Hydrosphere, Chemistry, and Life Sciences (Ecosystems, Disease, Evolution)

    High school science:

    · Earth & Environmental: Class sets of a 2 text package: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Earth Science and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Environmental Science

    · Biology: Individual copies Pearson Biology (Miller and Levine)

    · Physical Science: Individual copies Pearson Physical Science Concepts in Action

    · Chemistry: Individual copies Pearson Chemistry

    · Physics: Individual copies Holt McDougal Physics

    · AP Physics: Individual copies of Pearson Physics for Scientists and Engineers, V1 and V2 (Serway and Jewett) and Cengage College Physics (Etkina)

  • Congratulations to 5 new Kenan Fellows from DPS: Lena Deskins, Holt Elementary Language Academy, Students Discover: eMammal Camera Trap Stakeout; Ty Jeffery, Northern High School, and Annie Polashock, Jordan High School: Wearable Devices: Nanotechnology for Your Health; Tevin Jones, Creekside Elementary School, Building Community Through Cyber and Fiber; Marjorie Light, J.D. Clement Early College High School, Spurring Innovation in Product Creation

  • Middle school chairs received preview copies of the iScience texts, proposed for adoption 2016-17. Please contact your chair to look at these books as you make plans for next year.

  • Looking for LEADERS! Are you interested in leading a Science Course PLC next year? I'm looking for those interested in leading a Course PLC in 6th grade science, 7th grade science, 8th grade science, biology, earth & environmental science, physical science, chemistry, and physics. Course PLC leaders would lead quarterly PLCs for teachers in same-subject areas. You will be compensated for your leadership. Let me know if you are interested!

DPS Science Teachers and Partners Share

NEW! Scott Ragan at The Science House shares:

The Science House is partnering with the Department of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and the Golden Leaf Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC) to bring you this unique summer program designed for high school teachers AND students. This three day program will feature hands-on activities and lessons focusing on synthetic biology, engineering concepts in biology, and career development for bioengineering. https://sciencehouse.ncsu.edu/programs/bioengineering-in-the-high-school-classroom/ Teachers and students are asked to apply in pairs, one teacher and one student from a school. The high school science teacher will learn new lessons and activities they can integrate into their biology, chemistry, or physics classroom or short engineering modules to supplement their instruction. The students will be exposed to cutting edge content and careers that will increase their interest in bioengineering studies.

Grade Level(s): High School

Date(s): July 27-29, 2016, 9 AM to 4 PM

Location: NC State University, Raleigh, NC
Cost: Free (stipends offered to participating teachers and students)

Stipend: Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $300 ($100/day) and students will receive a stipend of $150 ($50/day).

Application Deadline: June 3, 2016. As noted above high school teachers and one of their students are encouraged to apply together. Individual teachers or students who apply will be considered if the allotted number of teacher/student pairs is not filled.

Summer Science for Teachers

Workshop Sponsored by The Herp Project
June 10-12, 2016
Haw River State Park, North Carolina


If you are interested in running a field ecology program centered around reptiles and/or amphibians, come join our National Science Foundation funded Herp Project team of scientists, professors, and experienced student research assistants for a weekend in nature to learn how you can run formal or informal field ecology studies where you work. All participants will be provided with our new curriculum, a copy of The Box Turtle Connection, and other useful materials. We will share our curriculum and expertise, with presentations by local experts, as well as hands-on fieldwork, at the beautiful Haw River State Park. Includes food and lodging at Haw River State Park! Space is limited to 24 participants. Note: If you are accepted to participate in the program and cannot attend please let us know in time to fill your spot, otherwise there may be a $20 cancellation fee that applies. https://docs.google.com/a/uncg.edu/forms/d/1qMdxPbRDttGxIC5-E6UWbOrvaW54h6kKfvGV1H_T2Lw/viewform

NEW! Ground Level Ozone: Advanced Air Quality

Monday, August 1 and Tuesday August 2, 2016

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the NC Division of Air Quality are partnering on the 2016 Ground Level Ozone workshop. The first day will be held at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The second day will be at Clingmans Dome (weather permitting). Instructors include air quality experts from NC Division of Air Quality and National Park Service.

The workshop is free, lunch will be provided, and camping is available at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center.

The workshop will include:

- classroom activities to cover the properties of air and air pollution;

- learning to detect the effects of ground level ozone in an Ozone Bio-monitoring garden;

- studying the effects of acid deposition and air pollution on snails and salamanders, and,

- several activities focused on the study and reduction of air pollution.

Visit the workshop North Carolina Environmental Education web page for more information: http://web.eenorthcarolina.org/net/calendar/details.aspx?c=5971299&s=120189.0.0.37430 To register for the workshop, contact Keith Bamberger at NC Division of Air Quality, keith.bamberger@ncdenr.gov or (828) 296-4500.

EPA’s Air Quality Workshop is FREE!

Date: July 12 - 13, 2016

Time: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Location: EPA/RTP Campus located in Durham

Website: www.airnow.gov/teachers

To Register: Contact Donna Rogers at rogers.donna@epa.gov


• Learn how EPA manages air quality in the U.S. and a report on North Carolina’s air quality

• Identify environmental health effects and risks

• Learn about EPA’s Air Quality Flag Program for Schools

• Tour EPA’s Green Building


• Learn EPA’s role in environmental research and management

• Experience interactive hands-on activities designed for classroom use

• Receive curricula, pamphlets, brochures, and fact sheets

Summer Science for Students

NEW! The Science of Climate Change, Free Workshop for Rising 11th & 12th Graders in NC, June 13-17, 2016. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is offering a FREE Summer Enrichment Program to educate NC high school students about the science of climate change. Students will learn what climate change is, how is can affect their health and lifestyle, how EPA scientists are researching climate change and adaptation, and what students can do to reduce the impacts of climate change. Rising 11th and 12th graders in NC are eligible to apply, and participation is limited to 25 students. The Program is June 13-16, 2016 (Monday-Thursday) from 9 am to 4 pm with an optional session on climate leadership on Friday, June 17. The Program will be held at the U.S. EPA Campus,109 TW Alexander Dr. in RTP, NC. Applications are available on our Speakers Bureau Website at https://www.epa.gov/rtp-speakers-bureau/now-accepting-applications-high-school-students-epas-6th-annual-science-climate. Applications will be accepted on a space-available basis. Questions: Contact Kelly Witter at witter.kelly@epa.gov.

Project PLANTS (Planting Leaders in Agriculture and Nature Through Science) is a two part program that immerses students in an intensive one week summer program broadening their knowledge of horticultural sciences and an after-school program that extends their exploration through the school year. Activities during the summer will build upon the rising seventh grade students’ knowledge from their sixth grade studies and strengthen their critical thinking, scientific inquiry, and scientific research abilities. The summer experience will generate a research project for each student to develop and conduct during the school year with guidance from mentors and participation in an after school 4-H club (transportation can be provided).

The cost of the program is $20 with financial assistance available.

Apply now: Here! For more information call or email the program coordinator, Sarah Dinger (914) 815-5226 / scdinge2@ncsu.edu

The Duke BOOST program is accepting applications from middle school students (as participants) and high school students (as leaders). MANY, many DPS students have benefitted from participation in this amazing program. Check it out at: https://sites.duke.edu/boost/apply/

Science Resources

Free Climate Science and Solutions Assembly for High Schools this Spring and Fall! There is still availability to schedule a free ACE Presentation at your HIGH SCHOOL this SPRING until the end of the school year! We have presented to over 2 million students at thousands of schools nationwide and over 80,000 students in NC. We would love to bring our program to your school! Check out our online trailer to learn more about our program. You can also request an ACE Assembly for your school at www.acespace.org/book. Interested in an assembly for the fall? We are scheduling fall presentations now.

There's still time to enter the https://naaee.org/eepro/opportunities/google-science-fair Find out more at: https://naaee.org/eepro/opportunities/google-science-fair

Now recruiting for Fall, 2016! Student Engineers Network, Strengthening Opportunities in Research (SENSOR) Saturday Academy at Duke University

What? Hands-on education program to encourage careers in science and engineering by engaging 8th grade underrepresented minority students in materials science and water quality testing. Who? Students entering 8th grade Fall 2016. When? 12 Saturday sessions (Sep 2016- May 2017), plus field trip to Eno River State Park. Where? Duke University Campus. Interested? Visit – http://stiffrobertslab.pratt.duke.edu/sensor-saturday-academy Call – 919-660-5560 OR Email – adrienne.stiffroberts@duke.edu

School Year PD for Science Teachers

Caterpillars Count - A Citizen Science Workshop for Educators

Friday, May 20; 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM

Looking for a new way to engage your students or visitors in hands-on science learning and contribute valuable information to local research about insects and birds? Become a Caterpillars Count citizen scientist! Caterpillars and other insects are on the trees and plants all around us. They make up a critical part of many ecosystems and are an important food source for birds and other organisms. In this workshop, we'll introduce you to Caterpillars Count, a new citizen science project designed by UNC biologists, and show you how you can become a part of research linking birds to their insect food sources on trees. Learn how to conduct surveys of insects with your students/visitors, monitor changes in the abundance and type of insects present over time, and report your data. We'll also introduce sample learning activities and the Caterpillars Count website, where you can explore the data collected by your group with others from around the state. This workshop is open to and designed for both formal (grades 6-12) and non-formal educators. Eligible for 3 hours of Criteria II or III credit toward NC Environmental Education Certification. Each participant will receive a handbook of sample learning activities and a $50 Amazon gift card. Lunch provided.

Location: North Carolina Botanical Garden, 100 Old Mason Farm Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27517

Cost: FREE

Registration: Pre-registration required. Click here to register today!

Science in the News

Transit of Mercury

When Mercury glides across the face of the sun Monday, you’re not going to see much more than a speck — if you have the right equipment. But thanks to NASA’s MESSENGER, we can see the planet’s peaks, valleys and pockmarks in unprecedented detail. On Friday, the Planetary Data System released the first global elevation model of Mercury’s surface, giving scientists an opportunity dive deeper into the planet’s geologic history. Gone But Never Forgotten MESSENGER’s operations ended just Read the full story

These Little-Known Nuns Helped Map the Stars

A century later, the identities of women who mapped over 481,000 stars are finally known Read the full story

Martian Sand May Be Boiling—Watch the Popping Action
National Geographic

A newly discovered geological process might help explain how water creates seasonal gullies on Mars’s barren slopes. Read the full story


Researchers studying nanowires have found a battery material that can be recharged for years, even decades Read the full story

Just How Much Power Do Your Electronics Use When They Are ‘Off’?
The New York Times

About a quarter of most people’s energy bills come from devices in idle mode. A reporter took a power meter around with her to locate the hidden power drains. Read the full story

Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’
The New York Times

A $48 million grant for Isle de Jean Charles, La., is the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the effects of climate change. Read the full story

NOAA Spots Yet Another Bizarre, Deep-Sea Dweller

It's often said that we know less about the bottom of the ocean than we do about the solar system. We haven't found any extra-terrestrials out there yet, but there are still plenty of fascinating creatures to be discovered right here at home. Take the latest find from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's 10-week mission to explore the depths of the Mariana Trench. This deep-water jellyfish, discovered over two miles beneath the surface, looks more like something from a Read the full story

Why Aren’t There More Scientists? A One-Word Explanation
National Geographic

You'll be surprised to learn that scientists worry about this one thing almost as much as they worry about actual science. Read the full story

Reef "Cat Scans" Reveal Another Way Acidification Speeds Erosion

Rising carbon dioxide levels in our atmosphere are changing Earth's climate at an unprecedented rate. Not only is our planet getting warmer on average—in the oceans, a chemical reaction spurred by dissolved CO2 is altering water chemistry, causing a decrease in pH. This effect of climate change, called ocean acidification, can dissolve the calcium carbonate foundations of coral reefs and other calcifying organisms, making it impossible to build and maintain healthy reefs. Luckily, recent stu Read the full story

Words On The Brain: A Semantic Map of the Cortex

In a new Nature paper, Berkely neuroscientists Alexander G. Huth and colleagues present a 'semantic atlas' of the human brain. Huth et al. have mapped which brain areas respond to words, according to the semantics (meanings) of each word. It turns out that these maps are highly similar across individuals - which could have implications for 'mind reading' technology. Huth et al. recorded brain activity with fMRI while seven volunteers listened to over two hours of audio narrative (taken fr Read the full story