Cobb Science

February News and Notes

Getting Ready for the Georgia Standards of Excellence

This month we have our third digital and face-to-face trainings on the Georgia Standards of Excellence. Join us on for a webinar on Wednesday, February 15th as we discuss what instruction will look like using the new GSE. We'll have video footage of Cobb classroom teachers using the new standards. These videos will also be available in Streaming Cobb on February 16th. The webinar begins at 3:00 for elementary school teachers (and will be combined with social studies), and is accessible here: The middle school/high school webinar begins at 4:30 pm and is accessible here: . The face-to-face training will take place on Tuesday, February 28th at both Big Shanty ES or Hawthorne. ES teachers will meet from 3:15-4:45 and MS/HS teachers will meet from 5:00-6:30. We will practice lessons written with the new standards. Register here:

Speaking of the GSE, dozens of Cobb science teachers attended and presented at the Georgia Science Teachers Association conference last week in Stone Mountain. Many of the sessions related to the new standards and how to implement science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts into instruction. Several Cobb teachers also took home awards: Alana Davis was awarded Elementary Teacher of the Year and also won a mini-grant. Janice Belcher won both a conference grant and mini-grant, and Joey Giunta won a mini-grant. Congratulations!!!

Professional Learning Opportunities

Quarter 4 Training

Elementary school (Grade 3-5) teachers- join us on Thursday, February 16th from 3:15-4:45 pm at Hawthorne to preview quarter 4 standards and Title I science kits (including hands-on activities and literacy connections). Register here:

Science Teachers Observatory Outing

Did you know Georgia Tech has an amazing observatory? Dr. Jim Sowell hosts free viewing nights to the public once a month on Thursdays. Join us on March 9th at 7:00 pm to view the moon and the Orion Nebula and hear a short talk from Dr. Sowell. RSVP here:

Teacher Spotlight

Shannon Ventresca (ECMS) Builds Her Own Breakout Room Lesson

Have you heard of the Breakout Room or BreakoutEDU? Both concepts involve solving puzzles to gain codes and combinations to locks that open boxes to even more clues to help you "break out" and win the game. You can easily design a lesson around the various tasks. While you can buy a BreakoutEDU box that includes everything you need, at $125 a pop, their cost is prohibitive to most teachers. Enter Shannon Ventresca from East Cobb Middle School, who purchased a few simple things from the dollar store and repurposed or recycled other materials at her house to create her own Breakout Room lesson to help her students study for an upcoming physical science test. Students had to analyze motion graphs and answer questions, use unit vocabulary, and apply other knowledge from their unit at each step in the game. The first group to win (open the last box) scored the highest letter grade on this performance task, but all winning groups also got little treats inside the last locked box. If you're looking for a way to engage students, look no further!
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Student Competitions

Fluid Power Competition

Cobb EMC sponsored the Fluid Power Competition on January 27th. The Fluid Power Challenge is a competition that challenges eighth grade students to solve an engineering problem using fluid power. They work in teams to design and build a fluid power mechanism, and then compete against other teams in a timed competition. Cooper, Palmer and Floyd students competed from Cobb.

Instructional Strategy Focus

Asking Questions and Defining Problems

S3P1. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the ways heat energy is transferred and measured.

a. Ask questions to identify sources of heat energy.

S6E5. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information to show how Earth’s surface is formed.

a. Ask questions to compare and contrast the Earth’s crust, mantle, inner and outer core, including temperature, density, thickness, and composition.

SP3. Obtain, evaluate, and communicate information about the importance of conservation laws for mechanical energy and linear momentum in predicting the behavior of physical systems.

a. Ask questions to compare and contrast open and closed systems.

The Science and Engineering Practice of "asking questions and defining problems" might have you scratching your head about what is actually looks like in the classroom. Jeanne Muzi just published a short but blockbuster list of five strategies in the January 2017 issue of ASCD's Education Update. The following are excerpts of two of her strategies you could use to help your students meet these standards:

Q-Stems Exercise: Create a set of sentence-stem cards (include question starters like How...? Why...? Are there...? Do you wonder...? Is it possible...? How could it...? What's another way of thinking about...? Ask your students to generate as many questions as possible about the topic or concept they are studying using just one sentence stem. When they have exhausted all possibilities, they can move on to another question stem.

Question-A-Go-Go into Question Rainbow: Hang up an interesting photograph, map, artifact, science material, or other lesson-specific item. Ask students to write a question they have about the item on a sticky note and attach it to the item. The goal is to generate as many questions as possible. Next, discuss and evaluate the questions using a Depth of Knowledge (DoK) Question Rainbow (a poster made of of colored paper to make a continuum- blue for DoK Level 1, green for DoK Level 2, yellow for DoK Level 3, red for DoK Level ). Work with students to place the questions along the continuum. Discuss ways to rethink the questions so they can move from lower-order questions to higher-order questions.

Read all five strategies here: