Elementary Science Newsletter

December 12, 2014

Important Dates

Updates from the Science Curriculum Office

Have you joined the EPS Science Edmodo group yet? There are some great conversations going on over there. I would love to see more teachers popping in and sharing ideas with one another. If you haven't joined yet, check it out at https://edmo.do/j/m6qwsy.

Free NSTA Lesson: How Do Scientists Work?

Check out the free 5E lesson here: http://static.nsta.org/files/sc1401_32.pdf

ScienceFest 2015

ScienceFest is designed to foster scientific literacy while educating children about protecting the environment, conserving natural resources, and using alternative fuels and technologies. Educators plan a day packed with exciting exhibits, presentations, and hands-on demonstrations all developed to show the importance of scientific applications in the environment.

ScienceFest is designed to promote scientific diversity. The hands-on activity stations use basic geology, biology, physical science, health and environmental sciences to teach the children how science impacts everyday life. Examples of alternative fueled vehicles are also on location for the students to view. The event provides opportunity for the students to be exposed to science in a fun and different setting.

One teacher stated, “ Our students very much enjoyed the day, and experienced and learned much more about our environment than they would have in the classroom.”

All of the booths were very informative and run by friendly and professional people,” reported a ScienceFest attendee.

The bonus for teachers - ScienceFest meets your educational curriculum goals and IT'S FREE.

4th and 5th grade students statewide are invited to participate in this annual event. Visit the Archives button to the left for a sample of the event from previous years.

ScienceFest is a positive contribution to the environmental education of Oklahoma’s students. By exposing them to the arena of science, we not only enhance their awareness of science and possibly stimulate some to pursue careers in science, we also help them be better citizens and stewards of the environment.

More information at http://www.sciencefestok.org/WhatIsIT.html

National Geographic Grosvener Teacher Fellowship

The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow (GTF) program is a professional development opportunity made possible by a partnership between National Geographic Education and Lindblad Expeditions. The program is named in honor of Gilbert M. Grosvenor (pronounced GROHV-nur), Chairman Emeritus National Geographic Society and Education Foundation Board. This opportunity is designed to give current K-12 classroom teachers and informal educators from the 50 U.S. states, Canada, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico the opportunity to extend Grosvenor’s legacy of excellence in geographic education. Through the program, exemplary educators are recognized for their commitment to geographic education and are given the opportunity to be actively engaged in finding new ways to bring geographic awareness to their classrooms or informal learning environments through a field-based experience.

2015 Program Highlights
Selected educators will travel aboard the ship National Geographic Explorer or National Geographic Endeavour on expeditions ranging from the Arctic, Holland and Belgium, Iceland, the Galapagos, Peru, Chile, Antarctica and more. While aboard, Fellows will share the importance of geographic literacy with fellow travelers, develop activities to bring back to their classrooms, and have an adventure of a lifetime. Prior to the expedition, all 2015 Grosvenor Teacher Fellows will travel to Washington, D.C. (April 16-19, 2015) with all expenses covered to participate in a pre-voyage workshop sponsored by National Geographic, and Lindblad Expeditions.

Applications due January 4. More information available at http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/programs/grosvenor-teacher-fellow/?ar_a=1

Fluor Foundation Grants

Fluor believes education, particularly the disciplines of science, technology, engineering,

and math (STEM), is a foundational component of success in the 21st century. Therefore, Fluor supports higher education and university STEM programs, as well as those benefiting grades K-12 (approximately ages 6 to 18), with particular emphasis on: STEM teacher training and professional development; middle and high school STEM programs.

Rolling deadline. More information at http://www.fluor.com/sustainability/community/fluor_giving/Pages/applying_for_fluor_foundation_gran


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Visit http://inasmuchfoundation.org/ for more info.

OneOK Public School Grants

Investments in education are focused on public school districts where the company operates.

The goal of Public School Foundation grants is to improve the educational experience for K-12 students in public schools and provide opportunities to cultivate and enhance relationships with community leaders while improving public education.

Public School Foundation grants can be used for programs and projects such as classroom-enrichment projects and instructional technology; assistance for disadvantaged students; curriculum-based materials and equipment; and programs that help improve student performance.

Rolling deadline; More information at http://www.oneok.com/en/CorporateResponsibility/CommunityInvestments/PublicSchoolFoundGrants.aspx

Fordham Street Foundation Grant

The Fordham Street Foundation seeks opportunities to promote the rights of our least advantaged children to thrive, grow and be enriched. The Foundation will support innovative programs that:

  • Target minority academic achievement

  • Provide superior educational opportunities for our least advantaged children

  • Improve the academic or physical environment in schools least able to address these needs

  • Enrich the lives of homeless children

  • Prevent domestic violence

Deadline: January 15. More information at http://www.fordhamstreet.org/guidelines.asp

Cool tech tool of the week: Newsela

Newsela is a website that features engaging articles about science topics at 5 different reading levels. You choose the level that is right for your students. You can even differentiate and assign different students the same article at different reading levels.

More ideas are available on the Tech Tools section of Pearltrees.

Instructional Strategy of the Week: Formative Assessment Probes

Information from an assessment probe can be quickly analyzed by a teacher and used to design instruction using strategies that explicitly target their students’ ideas and guide them through a conceptual change. The probe may be used before the teaching unit as well as during the unit when feedback may indicate a need to change course and differentiate instruction to meet the needs of students who may be conceptually

resistant to ideas that challenge their current conceptions. This is consistent with the idea of assessment for learning that says, “The roles for assessment must be expanded beyond the traditional concept of testing. The use of frequent formative assessment helps make students’ thinking visible to themselves, their peers, and their teacher. This provides feedback that can guide modification and refinement in thinking” (Bransford, Brown, and Cocking 1999).

More information at http://www.mdk12.org/instruction/ccr_conferences/resources/E115/assessment_probes_uncovering_student_ideas.pdf

Check out these formative assessment probe books: http://www.uncoveringstudentideas.org/

Click here for more instructional strategies.

Need resources?

Check the R drive and Pearltrees frequently, as I am adding new resources weekly!

Safety Reminder

Please review the following documents before beginning any activity that may pose a risk to students (directions for locating these resources are in parentheses).

  • Science Class Safety Information Sheet (R:\Safety Information\Internal Policies)
  • Elementary Science Safety Notebook (R:\01 Elementary Resources\5th Grade\Science\Elementary Science Safety)
  • Review all documents in R:\01 Elementary Resources\5th Grade\Science\Elementary Science Safety

If you have any questions at all regarding safety in the science classroom, please contact me.