KS Science Education Newsletter

December 2018

Driving Question Boards: Strategy To Support Phenomena Driven Learning

KSDE led a professional development opportunity this fall semester to work with K-5, 6-8, and 9-12 master science educators. Educators across the state implemented a high quality NGSS lesson with virtual supports throughout the semester.


Driving question boards were a powerful strategy utilized in the units to anchor in phenomena and bring coherence to the three dimensions in our standards.


Elementary Resource: NSTA Best STEM Books List

STEM books offer endless opportunities for engaged learning. They invite students to see the world differently and to think in new ways about what they observe.

Submit a Session Proposal for the Kansas Association of Teachers of Science Conference

To submit a presentation proposal for KATS 1.5 (2019 conference), visit: http://bit.ly/KATS2019presentation

or contact Nancy Smith, president-elect@kats.org.

Know a Great Science Teacher? Nation's Highest Honor for Science Teachers is Accepting Applications

2019 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) program.


  • PAEMST is the highest recognition that a mathematics or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the United States. This program recognizes teachers for their contributions to teaching and learning and their ability to help students make progress in mathematics and science.
  • Check out the latest Kansas science teacher awardee, Nancy Smith, in this announcement.
  • This year's awards will honor science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/computer science teachers working in grades 7-12.


State Presidential Award finalists receive a $500 unrestricted cash award and an invitation to a professional development conference sponsored by Westar Energy, Wolf Creek Nuclear Operating Corporation and the Kansas State Department of Education.


National Presidential Awardees receive a citation signed by the President of the United States, a paid trip for two to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities, and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.


To apply, teachers must first be nominated for the award. Teachers can nominate themselves or be nominated by someone else, such as principals, teachers, parents or members of the general public. Once nominated, teachers will receive an email with instructions on how to access the online application.


The nomination deadline is March 1, 2019, and the application deadline is May 1, 2019.

Please consider nominating an outstanding mathematics or science teacher today! To make a nomination, go to www.paemst.org, and then click on Nominate a Teacher.

Green Ribbon Schools: Deadline Jan. 15

This prestigious award is given to select schools across the nation that The U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools recognizes.

Making Cultural Diversity Visible in STEM Education

This new tool from STEM Teaching Tools can help educators think through diversity considerations in their classrooms. While having diverse representations of scientists in the classroom is important, instruction must also recognize who has done science, for what range of purposes, and how diversity enriches science. Science in the U.S. often focuses on science practiced in Western, educated, industrialized, rich, and democratic societies, but should recognize that all cultural communities have--and do--engage in science and technology endeavors that relate to their interests, goals, and values.

Science Professional Development Learning Standards

The Science Professional Learning Standards (SPLS) provide a meaningful guide to professional development and professional learning for science education.

NGSS: How Are Middle & High School Labs Changing?

New report on middle and high school labs from the National Board on Science Education (Quick Summary)


A new National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine report, Science and Engineering for Grades 6-12: Investigation and Design at the Center , was released this month about middle and high school science labs and how to best engage today's students in doing science and engineering through an analysis of evidence and examples.


  • Specifically, this report provides guidance for teachers, administrators, creators of instructional resources, and leaders in teacher professional learning on how to support students as they make sense of phenomena, gather and analyze data/information, construct explanations and design solutions, and communicate reasoning to self and others during science investigation and engineering design.
  • It also provides guidance to help educators get started with designing, implementing, and assessing investigation and design.
  • Read an educator's blog post summarizing the report.
White House: America's Strategy for STEM Success

On December 4 the White House issued a five year strategic plan for STEM education.

Quality Instructional Materials for Kansas Science Standards

If we eat pizza, why don't we look like pizza? A new unit for elementary school asks students to consider the question: if we eat pizza, why don't we look like pizza? To try to explain this phenomenon, students will develop and refine a farm model throughout each lesson. Students will see how matter is cycled through ecosystems and how energy flows from the sun to the consumers in a food chain. As students engage in the activities in this unit, the Crosscutting Concepts of Energy and Matter and Systems and System Models are emphasized.


NSTA: Check Out Grant Opportunities

Select Events/Fellowships from the Event Category Menu