DPS Secondary Science News

December, 2017

Winter is coming...

I just couldn't resist the Game of Thrones reference.

This is a short newsletter-- some of the news is time-sensitive and since you'll have tons of extra time over break, you just might want to complete an application or write a grant :)

Me? I'm doing something unique-- for the first time in many years, all my children will be home for the holidays (Tim, Teresa, Morganne, Rachal, & Luca) and it's going to be wonderfully crazy and crowded in my house. I cannot wait.

Wishing you all the best for a happy break!

Upcoming Events- Details coming soon to your inbox

  • December 19 HS Science Department Chair Meeting by Google hangout @ 4:15
  • January 8-12 EOC Testing in 4x4 High Schools
  • January 11 L2N Network Meeting @ SDC
  • January 15 MLK Jr Holiday
  • January 16 Traditional Calendar Teacher Workday
  • January 30-February 2 Microscope & Balance Repair (by request only)
  • January 31 Early Release Day: Curriculum Writing Project for DPS Hub Farm (please contact me if interested in this opportunity)
  • February 15 Biology Learning Tour
  • February 28 Out of the Box Early Release Day

Quick News

  • Volunteers are needed for our Durham Regional Science Olympiad Tournament on March 3 at Riverside! This is a super fun day of science activity! Volunteers are needed for all aspects of the program including setup, leading events, awards ceremony, and cleanup. Sign up here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0d49aca823aaf58-durham

  • You should have received an email from Safe Schools to complete the science lab safety training. Please make sure you complete this ASAP.

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Leadership Opportunity for Science Teachers

NSTA is coming to Charlotte! Apply to be a presenter!

The date of the conference will be November 29 - December 1, 2018.

Consider submitting a session proposal to present at the Charlotte conference. The deadline is coming quick....JANUARY 16, 2018! Three strands/themes that will be at the conference are: "Illuminate Literacy Through Science", "Amp Up Science Instruction", and "High-Voltage Science Strategies Beyond Standards".


Congratulations to our Science Teachers!

Several DPS teachers have benefited as Kenan Fellows and as Energy Literacy Fellows. Please consider applying to these two unique, LOCAL opportunities.
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Announcing the 2018 Energy Literacy Fellows Program

A year-long teacher professional development program for grades 8-12 science and technology teachers in NC's Duke Energy service territories. Eligible teachers must teach in schools located in either the Duke Energy Progress or Duke Energy Carolinas service territory. To see if your school is eligible click here and select the state of North Carolina from the top left corner of the website to proceed.

This professional development opportunity will showcase current energy science, technologies and careers to enhance Energy Literacy Fellows' ability to deliver energy-related content, conduct STEM-based activities and promote STEM career opportunities to students. Fellows will interact with diverse scientists, engineers and industry representatives to receive up-to-date, curriculum-relevant content and engage in hands-on, inquiry-based activities designed to support learning about the science of energy. Programming includes field trips to a variety of energy production and energy research facilities including UNC’s co-generation plant, Amazon Wind Farm US East, and a utility scale solar farm.

Receive numerous benefits including:

· access to current science content related to emerging energy issues and technologies

· over $250 worth of instructional materials to support hands-on STEM investigations including a class set (30) of Energy Infobooks from NEED, a wind turbine design kit and a solar energy kit from Vernier

· opportunity to read and discuss the books Living on the Grid and The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future

· access to a peer learning network that will include 2017 Energy Literacy Fellows

· certificate of completion at conclusion of program documenting total contact hours

· credit towards the NC EE Certification Program

· scholarship opportunity to attend the UNC CLEAN TECH Summit in March 2018

Click here to access the online application

All applications must be completed before 9AM on Monday, January 22nd , 2018; teachers selected to participate in this program will be notified via email on or before February 1st​, 2018. Upon notification of acceptance, teachers will be asked to submit a $100 deposit to reserve their spot in the program. The deposit check will not be deposited unless you cancel without a suitable replacement; it would then be considered a tax-deductible gift to the Institute for the Environment. This deposit check will be returned to you at the end of the summer institute on July 12, 2018 after successful completion of both the weekend retreat and the summer institute.

This program is sponsored by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute for the Environment with funding provided by the Duke Energy Foundation.

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Kenan Fellows 2018-2019 applications open in December

The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership will begin accepting online applications for its 2018-19 Fellowship year on Dec. 1. Please continue to check their website often as new fellowships are being updated regularly. These exclusive Fellowships address the critical need to develop and empower high-quality teachers, who, in turn, make learning more authentic for students. The Fellowship begins with a summer internship in a higher education lab or industry setting and is supported by 80 hours of professional development that focuses on building leadership capacity and proven instructional strategies. Fellowship projects have a unique set of criteria that in some cases is restricted by district, grade level and subject. Projects vary from scientific research to work experiences in the agriculture and high-tech manufacturing industries.

View the Fellowships available this upcoming cycle.

Each Fellow is awarded at least a $5,000 stipend, and must develop and implement relevant educational materials and/or programs based on their internship experience. Fellows remain in the classroom while completing the year-long fellowship.

Founded in 2000, the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership addresses the critical need for high-quality professional development for educators, and is the largest (science, technology, engineering and math) STEM-focused teacher leadership program in North Carolina.

Approximately 50 outstanding K–12 teachers from across the state are selected annually for this year-long program.

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

Grants, Goodies, & Opportunities

Durham Regional B/C Science Olympiad Tournament

The Durham Regional B/C Science Olympiad Tournament is on March 3 at Riverside High School. You can find more information about this tournament here: https://ncsodurhamregional.weebly.com/

Please make sure your school is registered if you have a team! We are quickly running out of spaces for teams. https://www.sciencenc.com/tournament-registration.php


Did you know that even if you couldn't attend the recent SciREN Triangle event, you can still access the lesson plans scientists created for the event? The SciREN Portal has over 200 free, curriculum correlated STEM lesson plans available online! You can search by grade level, subject, and much more! These lessons are completely free and anyone can access them; all you have to do is make an account. You can do this by clicking "Register" in the top left corner of www.thesciren.org, and can learn more about using the portal here: http://www.thesciren.org/how-to-use-this-site/.

  • Here is a list of organizations who may be able to help you get in touch with scientists (and a few other resources).
  • Here is a communication guide to streamline your communication when scheduling a scientist visit. This guide was compiled by myself (a scientist) and Corie Hlavaty (a DPS educator) using our past experiences to help make sure everyone gets the necessary information to make these visits a success.
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Apply Now for Teacher and Student Awards

Applications are now being accepted for teacher and student awards. Applications are due March 1, 2018.

President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) (http://go.usa.gov/3u7XB):

The PEYA program recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Recent award-winning student projects included forming recycling programs for pencils and books, starting an environmental news YouTube channel, and creating a better method to protect migratory birds from airplanes.

Projects need an adult sponsor. Talk to your students today about submitting their work.

Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) (http://go.usa.gov/3u7XQ):

The PIAEE program recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students.

PIAEE’s winners will be awarded up to $2,500 to be used to further their professional development in environmental education. The teacher's local education agency will also receive up to $2,500 to fund environmental education activities and programs.

Contact PEYA@epa.gov or PIAEE@epa.gov for questions.
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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!

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What is Stream Watch?

Stream Watch is a program designed for anyone interested in cleaning and/or monitoring a stream or river in their community. We have recently launched the capability of collecting crowd-sourced data into an interactive map.

Who Can Join?

Anyone is welcome to join! The minimum requirement we ask for is 2 litter pick-ups per year and submission of at least one photo per event. However, you can also turn your Stream Watch group into a data collection team and gather chemical data collection as well as macroinvertebrate data! Groups can be any size, any background, and from any corner of North Carolina. Ideally, we will have several groups in each river basin across North Carolina.

Click here for the application form and then email it to Lauren.Daniel@ncdenr.gov.

Student Opportunities in Science

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Bookings for class visits to the Biogen RTP Community Lab for the 2017-18 school year are now open!

The Biogen RTP Community Lab is a state-of-the-art, real-world facility where middle and high school students engage in hands-on biotechnology experiments and interact with Biogen employees. We hope to ignite the curiosity in students today to help shape the scientists of tomorrow. The Community Lab programs can be an extremely helpful addition to your curriculum. The labs were developed together with DPS and WCPSS teachers to reflect what is being taught in the classroom and cover several NC Essential Standards. 91% of students agreed that they learned something in the Community Lab program that they can use in their science class at school. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to show your students how their classroom learning connects to science in the real-world!

If you are interested in bringing your class this school year, click on the booking form link. Don’t wait! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLabBooking17-18

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NC BioNetwork brings guest speakers and lab activities to your school for FREE. Get more information here: http://www.ncbionetwork.org/educational-resources/activities

PD Opportunities for Teachers

Modeling Institutes in Secondary Science-- PRIORITY FOR DPS SCIENCE TEACHERS

Grade Level(s): High School Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science, & Middle School Science
Date(s): 2018 Summer Modeling Institutes
Location: North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Cost: Supported by a Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) grant from the US Department of Education and the NC Department of Public Instruction

Description: Modeling Institutes provide professional development in secondary science through a research-based, reform-oriented pedagogy called Modeling Instruction for science teachers in North Carolina. To learn more about Modeling Instruction please visit the American Modeling Teachers Association.

2018 Summer Modeling Courses:

  • Modeling Chemistry - June 18 - 29, 2018 (excludes weekend dates)
  • Modeling Physics: Electricity & Magnetism - July 9 - 27, 2018 (excludes weekend dates)
  • Modeling Middle School Science - July 16 - 27, 2018 (excludes weekend dates)
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The Duke Summer Training in Academic Research (STAR) Program is recruiting teachers to assist with their summer program (see details above). This is a paid opportunity. https://www.dcri.org/education/dukes-star-program/

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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. The full listings are on our website at: http://naturalsciences.org/calendar/events/category/series/educator-treks/

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.




Join us in New England or Belize this summer for an adventure! Since 1987 the Museum's Educator of Excellence Institutes have provided exceptional educators with staff development opportunities that transform the way they view and teach natural sciences. Apply today!

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What - Achieving Science Literacy in the Classroom (STEM) - Content focus on air quality and climate change. Experiential education is a perfect way to achieve deep understanding of complex scientific concepts. Expand your ‘teacher toolkit’ to further inspire the ‘art of knowing’ within your students. Topics include: science literacy, citizen science, asking better scientific questions, conducting deeper investigations, data analysis and communicating findings.

When - starts Friday, Feb. 16 at 5:00pm and ends Sunday, Feb. 18 at 1:00

Where - Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont on the Tennessee side of Great Smoky Mountains National Park

How Much - $75 registration fee for educators (Grades 4th - 12th). Only two teachers per school. Cost includes all meals, materials and lodging. Non-formal educators will be considered for reduced rate registration if room allows.

Visit the Tremont website for more information on how to register. http://gsmit.org/event/stem-workshop-2018/

This workshop is offered at a reduced rate thanks to a donation from the NC Department of Transportation.

Western Carolina University is pleased to announce our new STEM Education Graduate Track in Elementary and Middle Grades Education as part of the M.A.Ed. Comprehensive Education Degree Program

Are you an elementary or middle grades teacher who is interested in improving your STEM teaching? Would you like to develop as a STEM education leader?


1. Understand STEM education and the broad landscape view of STEM in society.

2. Effectively design, implement, and evaluate a real-world, problem-based, integrated learning approach to STEM fields (incorporating engineering, scientific inquiry, mathematics application, and technology).

3. Effectively plan, teach, and evaluate engineering in elementary and middle grades classrooms.

4. Effectively use a range of technology tools and processes that support STEM education in elementary and middle grades classrooms.

5. Productively collaborate with STEM-related community agencies and businesses to help elementary and middle grades students solve problems.

6. Advocate in schools, districts, and beyond for STEM education for all students.


· 100% online

· 30 credit hours that can be completed in as little as two years

· Affordable tuition with scholarships available

· Start any semester (spring, summer, or fall)

· Our programs are accredited through NCATE/CAEP.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Dr. Patricia Bricker, bricker@email.wcu.edu, 828-227-3352

This program is for teachers who already have an "A" level elementary or middle grades education teaching license. Additional M.A.Ed. Comprehensive Education programs include Elementary Literacy & AIG, Middle Grades Language Arts & Math, Special Education, English, Biology, & Social Sciences.


Science in the News

Precious Gems Bear Messages From Earth’s Molten Heart


We may covet gemstones for their beauty, but their real value lies in what they tell scientists about the extreme forces at work deep underground.

Scientists ‘Inject’ Information Into Monkeys’ Brains


In an experiment with science fiction implications, neurologists say they taught monkeys to play a game by stimulating their brains with electrodes.

This Duck-Like Dinosaur Could Swim. That Isn’t the Strangest Thing About it.


With a swan-like neck and flippers, this raptor’s hodgepodge of features left paleontologists working to confirm that this fossil was a fraud.

As Greenland Melts, Where’s the Water Going?


Each year, Greenland loses 270 billion tons of ice as the planet warms. New research shows that some of the water may be trapped in the ice sheet, which could change how scientists think about global sea levels.

In a Warming California, a Future of More Fire


The recent cycle of drought and deluge in California led to major fire risk. Climate change makes that cycle worse.

New Pacific Island Could Resemble Ancient Martian Volcanoes


An explosive volcanic eruption in 2014 resulted in a new addition to the Tonga Islands. Its shifting landscape could help scientists studying Mars.

The Next Flu Pandemic Will Appear When You Least Expect It


An examination of the great flu epidemics in recent history concludes that next one is likely to arrive in late spring or early summer — not during flu season.