DPS Secondary Science News

August, 2017

A solar eclipse is a very good way to begin a new school year...

I hope wherever you are on August 21, you have a good viewing of the solar eclipse. Some of us, of course, will be with students here in Durham, while others will be with colleagues preparing for the start of school. Still others of us will have managed to snag a spot in the area of totality. But, no matter where you are, this is as teachable a moment as we get in science. And, it's wicked cool to boot.

There's no doubt your schools will be looking to each of you to help explain what's going on during the eclipse itself. With that in mind, I've prepared a list of resources that you can use as a reference (see below). It's particularly important that you share safety information with others. Though we will all be sorely tempted to look into the sky, it is imperative that no one EVER look directly at the sun. In an eclipse workshop, the presenter said it only takes 10 seconds for the sun to do permanent damage to the retina. That said, there are a number of absolute safe ways to view the solar eclipse, including using a pin hole projector or wearing specialized solar viewing glasses. I've included some links (see below) that review safe viewing options.

We're hosting a workshop for teachers to learn more about the eclipse from NASA ambassador Tony Rice. It will be held on August 8, from 3-4 p.m. at Rogers-Herr Middle School.

If you are not with students on August 21 and are in Durham, you may want to check out one of many Eclipse Parties. Among others, here is one at Duke Gardens and another at Morehead Planetarium.

It's going to be an awesome start to the school year!

Biogen hosts 2 summer camps for Shepard students

Upcoming Events- Details coming soon to your inbox

  • August 8 Eclipse Workshop for DPS teachers @ Rogers-Herr, 3-4 p.m.
  • August 17-18 Morphology Workshop @ SDC (open to science teachers/register in TNL)
  • August 23 Back to School Science Kick-off
  • September 7 - October 5 Biology Teacher Academy (stipends available)
  • September 14 Biology Learning Tour (subs provided)
  • September 19 Quarterly Course PLCs (Middle School Science)
  • September 20 Biology Best Practices Early Release Day
  • October 25 Out of the Box PD Sessions (Leaders needed!)
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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.

  • If you are interested in sharing something with other science teachers during our District sessions on August 23, please let me know! Our idea is to have several options for teacher selection on that day.

  • We're hosting a workshop for teachers to learn more about the eclipse from NASA ambassador Tony Rice. It will be held on August 8, from 3-4 p.m. at Rogers-Herr Middle School. Please join us!

Congratulations to our Science Teachers!

EOG Scores are in-- and science has many things to celebrate!

  • EVERY school met or exceeded its EVAAS projection in biology. This is an amazing statistic and reflects the dedicated work of the hardest working biology teachers I know!
  • 8th Grade Science has the 2nd highest proficiency in the District (only 5th grade science is higher, so it's all good!) District 8th Grade Science proficiency is up 2.9 points over 2016.
  • City of Medicine had an increase in biology proficiency of 20.1 points over 2016.
  • Hillside NT had an increase in biology proficiency of 28.5 points over 2016.
  • Northern had and increase in biology proficiency of 13.8 points over 2016.
  • SCS had an increase in biology proficiency of 9.2 points over 2016.
  • Four schools (CMA, ECHS, DSA, MCHS) have biology proficiencies over 75%.
  • Carrington had an increase in 8th Grade Science proficiency of 7.1 points over 2016.
  • Lakewood Montessori had an increase in 8th Grade Science proficiency of 11.2 points over 2016.
  • Neal had an increase in 8th Grade Science proficiency of 10.9 points over 2016.
  • Four schools (SCS, DSA, Lakewood Montessori, Rogers-Herr) have 8th Grade Science proficiencies over 70%.

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

Solar Eclipse: August 21, 2017

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The Solar Eclipse: NASA A total solar eclipse is coming!

On Monday, August 21, the moon will block the sun in a way that turns day into night across parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. With the help of solar viewing glasses or other equipment, all of North America will be able to view at least a partial eclipse that lasts two to four hours. The first eclipse to cross the entire continental United States since 1918, it will reveal planets, bright stars, and our own sun's otherwise hidden atmosphere.

NASA has unveiled free science and safety resources to download for the spectacle.

Whether or not the syzygy casts its 72 mile-wide shadow on you on August 21, tune in to NASA Television for live video of the celestial event. The space agency's broadcast "Eclipse Across America: Through the Eyes of NASA" will also provide coverage of activities in parks, libraries, stadiums, festivals, and museums across the nation.

The Solar Eclipse: Megamovie Project

A simulator has already come online that models how daylight will fall on August 21 specific to where you live. Visit the Eclipse Megamovie Project website and enter your location to see an animation of the sun's light being blocked out by the moon—including what time to watch and where to enjoy the best viewing experience. The Simulator is part of a larger, first-of-its-kind citizen science project of Google and the University of California, Berkeley. Their teams of scientists invite the public to contribute to continuous datasets that far exceed what any one person could capture from a single location. By stitching together images photographed by citizen scientists at various points along the eclipse path, they aim to produce a high-definition, time-expanded video of the sun's corona and the eclipse's "diamond ring effect."

Keen to join this citizen science effort? Sign into Google after consulting the site's FAQ.

Grants and Goodies

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:


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


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.

The Agapé Center for EE (ACE Education) is now scheduling field trips for K-8th grades

ACE Education is a carefully developed and integrated program designed to meet the goals for science and social studies set forth by the NC Department of Public Instruction. We serve public, private, and home schools.

ACE Education can handle up to 90-100 students on day field trips; some programs, such as the 8th grade Water Quality unit, we recommend about 60.

Field trip dates are open February-May and September-December. Call now to avoid disappointment!

For more information, please visit www.agapecenterforee.org or call 919-552-9421 x 210.

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.

Student Opportunities in Science

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PD Opportunities for Teachers

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NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC

Saturday, August 12, 2017

9 am – 5 pm

Fee: $25 deposit (Deposit will be returned upon completion of the workshop. Please send separate check if registering for multiple workshops.)

CEUs: 8 contact hours

Recommended for high school teachers, administrators, pre-service teachers.

Explore how DNA sequence analysis can be used to examine communities of microscopic organisms. Gain hands-on experience working with online sequence databases and analysis tools and learn how to use these resources with your students. Workshop participants will design a collaborative research project to take back and use in their classrooms. During the 2017-2018 school year, each participant’s class will contribute a set of samples to be sequenced, then will analyze and compare their sequence data to the larger group data set.

Get signed up!

Check out all the details and register online!


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? If you answered yes, then the SciREN Triangle and Educator Open House at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences is the event for you!

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. Through a partnership with SciREN (Scientific Research and Education Network), educators can meet more than 60 local scientists ready to distribute curriculum-centered lessons based on their research! This is an excellent way to rejuvenate teaching methods, integrate relevant and real science to student learning, and reach out into the scientific community.

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!


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

Science in the News

What a Total Solar Eclipse Looks Like From Space


A time lapse made from a Japanese weather satellite’s images shows the shadow the moon casts on the Earth when it blocks out the sun.

The Immense, Eternal Footprint Humanity Leaves on Earth: Plastics


More than 8 billion metric tons of plastic have been made since the 1950s, researchers found. Because it does not degrade, most is still in the environment.

In South Asian Social Castes, a Living Lab for Genetic Disease


Millenniums of marriages within well-defined subgroups in South Asia have created many populations with higher risks of recessive disease, according to new research.

Giant Squids, Giant Eyes, but Rather Small Brain Lobes


A rare opportunity to study the giant squid’s visual brain suggests the deep-sea beasts don’t have the complex body-patterning skills for which their shallow-water relatives are famous.

Rx for Science Literacy is partnering with Novozymes North America

Join us for a free one-day workshop featuring FoodMASTER Middle Science, a classroom-tested curriculum resource that includes 24 hands-on laboratory experiences and 12 health-focused extension activities for middle grade science classrooms. While the curriculum is intended primarily for middle grade science, its activities are scalable to meet the requirements of K-12 classrooms. This workshop will be held Thursday, August 3, from 8:00 am - 4:00 pm at Novozymes North America in Franklinton, which is located just 25 miles north of Raleigh.

Register for the workshop with this link.