Science Opportunities

ESU#9 Area Schools: Professional Learning

Science Teachers,

The goal of this flyer is to keep you up-to-date on the current workshops and/or opportunities for professional growth in our area. Please feel free to contact me with updates, concerns, questions, or suggestions @

Bookmark this flyer address as it will automatically update as well as include past, present, and future opportunities for professional growth.

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iExploreScience Podcast...SEP's

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Using Google Slides to design your Virtual Classroom and COMMUNICATE!

Central Nebraska Science and Engineering Fair

Greetings Teachers!

Welcome back to school. It will no doubt be an interesting school year due to the challenges of the novel coronavirus. Here is where we stand with the Central Nebraska Science and Engineering Fair:

  • We are planning on hosting the science fair at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on February 24, 2021.
  • If we must go virtual, we will. The due date for materials would be February 24, 2021.
  • Expect a decision in early January, 2021.

Obviously a lot can change between now and then, but I will keep everyone up to date. If you know anyone that might want to join our science fair, please have them contact me. If you want off the email list, just email me back and I will remove your name from the list.

Take care and have a great school year.

Jay Cecrle


Central Nebraska Science and Engineering Fair






Email Contact:

Launch Nebraska: Supporting Independent Science Learning

Session 9: Supporting Independent Science Learning
Systems thinking: a cautionary tale (cats in Borneo)
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Online Teaching Resources You Can Use - A List Compiled by NSTA Collection


Due to the coronavirus pandemic many school districts across the country have decided to close schools and teach online full time. NSTA has compiled a list of resources to assist teachers with this challenge. The external resources in this collection have been shared by educators, but have not been reviewed by NSTA. Additional resources from NSTA are also included to provide on-going professional learning experiences. We will continue to add to resources to this collection to support your distance learning needs. Please continue to share with us!

NDE’s Science Education Specialist

From Cory Epler, Ph.D.
Academic Officer
Office of Teaching, Learning, & Assessment

I am excited to share that Audrey Webb has accepted our offer to become NDE’s Science Education Specialist. Audrey’s first day will be Monday, June 22nd.

For the past four years, Audrey has taught in the San Francisco (CA) Unified School District teaching high school science. In this position, she designed and implemented project-based curricula for secondary biology, physiology, and physical science. In addition, she is a member of the San Francisco Teaching Residency program, a program designed to train teacher candidates in equitable instruction and assessment, cultural relevance, and restorative practices. Audrey also has experience as a Title I Reading Teacher and an EL Support Specialist. She holds a B.A. in Science from St. Olaf College (2011) and a Master of Education from Stanford University (2016).

Audrey is a “native” of three-dimensional science standards, and I am excited about the experience she brings in providing phenomenon-based instruction and assessment, informed by her training at Stanford. She has family in Western Iowa, so she is excited about getting closer to her family.

Once she starts, I know that Aubrey will start to make contact with each of you, but I wanted to let you all know the good news. Thanks!
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OpenSciED: 2 New Units for RELEASE

We will be releasing two new units on Thursday, February 13th. On that day, you will be able to access the new units from our website.

GIS Soil Conservation Webinar Series - (STIPEND)

GIS Soil Conservation Webinar Series is intended for teachers that have done a previous GIS workshop to advance their GIS skills. The workshop will be led by Mr. Kyle Tredinnick and be done on zoom. Successful completion of the workshop includes a stipend. Registration is limited. Details are available on the attached flyer. Contact Kyle at with any questions.

Challenger Learning Center & eMISSIONS!

Hello from the Challenger Learning Center, we know that today’s students are tomorrow’s innovators and we are excitedly gearing up for another successful year. If you have already booked your e-Mission, we look forward to working with you and your students! If you have not yet booked your e-Mission for this year It’s Not Too Late!

You will find the current list of e-Missions and e-Labs that we offer for grades

3-12 at:

We value your commitment to quality education, and our staff at the CLC will continue to support you in this process. If you are having difficulties with scheduling, for whatever reason, please contact us so we can assist you in anyway we can to bring these exciting distance learning experiences back to your school.

Should you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me or our Program Registrar Kristi West at 304 243-8740

Laura Ondeck | Lead Flight Director

The Challenger Learning Center

Wheeling University

316 Washington Ave, Wheeling WV, 26003

Phone: (304) 243-2029 | Fax: (304) 243-2497| Email:

SCIENCE FAIR [Will be updated SOON!]

REGIONAL FAIR @ Hastings College: ____________________

(RP) = Regional Participant

Adams Central Jr./Sr. High School (RP): February 26th, 2020

Harvard (RP)

Hastings Middle School (RP): _______________________

Lawerence/Nelson: February 25th, 2020

Sandy Creek Middle School (RP): _______________________

Silver Lake (RP): __________________________

Red Cloud: ________________________

Handbook Link:

If your school participates and/or hosts a Science Fair, please contact

Nebraska Junior Academy of Sciences

The Nebraska Junior Academy of Sciences is designed to promote science and technology across Nebraska by providing incentives for students to apply creativity and critical thought to solutions of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and engineering problems. It offers an opportunity for students to meet, exchange ideas, and discuss career possibilities with scientists and engineers from colleges and industries.

Students will develop a scientific research project, write an abstract of the project, and give an oral presentation the day of the competitions. Students will compete in two divisions: Grades 6-8 in the Junior Division and Grades 9-12 in the Senior Division. Each Regional Science Competition will select 6 junior and 6 senior high projects to advance to the State Science Fair. Judges at the State Science Fair will nominate ten Senior Division projects to attend the American Junior Academy of Sciences Conference. These students will present their research in a poster and round table session. There are 6 different regional science fairs your school can compete in. Contact the regional director for registration and more information.

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Central Nebraska Regional Science and Engineering Fair in Curtis, Nebraska on March 16, 2020.

We are a nonprofit organization that promotes independent science research in public schools for Western Nebraska. This fair was formerly held in Curtis, Nebraska. This year it is being held at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on March 16, 2020.

This fair is open to all students in grades 6-12 in counties along and west of Highway 281 in Nebraska. Our fair offers a variety of awards recognizing outstanding research. First place in grades 9-12 are eligible to attend the International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, CA in May of 2020.

I am trying to contact different schools in ESU territories that can attend to make them aware of this fair. Would it be possible to forward this email on to principals of the schools in your respective territories? I would also be fine with getting principal email lists and I can send an information email directly to them.

We have a website ( where teachers can register and find more information about this fair.

Attached is a map of our fair territory. Anyone east of this territory can visit the Greater Nebraska Science and Engineering website. Same ISEF affiliated fair, different counties.

Thank you for any help you can provide. Science fair is an excellent way to cover our new College and Career Ready Standards in science. Many schools are probably carrying out research projects and science fair. This is a great opportunity to showcase their work and potentially win prizes.

Interested and have questions, please contact

Science Education Specialist @ NDE

The Science Education Specialist position will be posted within the next two weeks. Once the application is available, I will share with this group. Please encourage outstanding candidates to apply! Most likely, the application will close in early January, and we will interview candidates in mid-February. I hope we can make an offer in March (before contracts are signed), and I anticipate the chosen candidate will begin work around July 1st.

If you have questions or know of educators I should reach out to directly, please let me know. Thanks!

Cory Epler, Ph.D.

Academic Officer

Office of Teaching, Learning, & Assessment

301 Centennial Mall South

Lincoln NE, 68509

P: (402) 471-3240


Interested in Adopting Amplify?

From Corey Epler at NDE: AMPLIFY

"I wanted to pass along a professional learning opportunity for those implementing or considering adopting K-8 Amplify Science. The 2020 Lawrence Hall of Science Leadership Institute is being held in Kansas City February 19-21, 2020. The registration is FREE! Attendees only need to cover travel expenses. Since the institute is in Kansas City, I thought folks may be more likely to attend. (There is also an institute in Seattle if you can make that work.) Katie Ramsey from Grand Island attended last year, and said the institute set the tone for their entire year! If you have questions, I’m sure Katie wouldn’t mind answering a few questions." Link:
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Want to join ESU9 for Science Olympiad?

Click here:

What is Science Olympiad?

"Science Olympiad is an American elementary school, middle school and high school team competition in which students compete in 'events' pertaining to various scientific disciplines, including earth science, biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering. Over 7,300 teams from 50 U.S. states compete each year." (

Middle School Science Teacher - FREE OpenSciEd Webinars

6 - 7 p.m. Central Time

NCCR Science Survey:

This is a needs assessment. All survey questions are OPTIONAL. Please provide honest feedback regarding our Nebraska College and Career Ready (NCCR) Science standards implementation. The data collected will drive what assistance and support ESU 9 will offer this school year. Your feedback truly matters!

Would a dichotomous key help you through your reflection?

OER Microsites and Other OER repositories for PK - 12

State Microsites

Michigan - Social Studies textbooks by grade level, Science materials and CK-12 flexbooks for 4 - 8th grade, check out the Phenomenal Science Collection - Units of Study for lower grades are here

Connecticut - Storylines, units, tasks, and assessments are linked to the multiple DCI’s covered within. For multiple grades.

Iowa - Elementary Science Units K - 5

Utah - Flexbooks for Science for 3 - 8th grade a well as Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Earth Science with web pages with supporting materials for each book, lots of CTE content and materials

Wisconsin - Physical Science Textbooks and Materials, Life Science Textbooks and materials, Professional Development Materials

Illinois - All subject areas at all levels

Georgia - textbooks

Unwrapped Indicators by Nebraska Educators! Looking for vocabulary? Concepts? Skills? Level of Rigor?

Go to the Nebraska Open Educational Resources (OER) Commons:
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3 Ways to Know if You’re Using Quality Science Materials

3 Features of High-Quality Science Materials

1. “Phenomena don’t have to be phenomenal” but they should be intentional.

Phenomena are observable events that occur in the universe that students can explain or predict with their knowledge of science. Tides, sunrise, leaves changing color, and the way dew collects on grass are just a few of the many examples of phenomena.

Phenomena-driven instruction can transform classrooms into places where students’ curiosity and wonder are the foundation for learning, where building knowledge is centered around understanding the natural and man-made world around them, and where kids are honing the investigative skills of scientists that can benefit them no matter what path they ultimately choose.

But what separates average instructional materials from great ones is that the best materials are purposeful when presenting phenomena. They connect the phenomena students are exploring to the core science ideas and concepts students need to learn.

Chemical reactions often make impressive phenomena, but students need to be able to explain what caused the color to change, or what caused a gas to be released, or how the number and types of atoms were conserved during the reaction. Without opportunities to collect data or analyze information about the reaction to build these explanations, the reaction serves as nothing more than something interesting to see.

It’s easy to pick out all sorts of engaging phenomena to wow students, but if phenomena are only used to capture student attention, taught in isolation, or are irrelevant to students’ experience, we’re missing a huge opportunity.

Instead, these questions are at their best when students investigate them as a way to engage in science and engineering practices or to identify larger patterns and connections on their way to a deeper understanding of science content. In short, the content students must master should always guide the choice of phenomena, not the other way around.

2. Students have opportunities to do the thinking, questioning, designing, and discovering for themselves

The phenomena we choose matters, but so does the way students engage with those phenomena. We must be wary of materials that do the work of students for them, explaining phenomena too readily or presenting content as a series of facts and terms for students to memorize.

For example, we should shy away from content that simply shows students a video of an eclipse to generate interest and immediately follows this video with text that describes how an eclipse occurs. Instead, students should have opportunities to generate their own questions and ideas about the cause of an eclipse, and then engage in opportunities to model or test their own ideas as they make sense of this phenomenon.

Quality materials provide common entry points and opportunities for students to ask their own questions, collect their own evidence, and construct their own explanations connected to science content.

What’s more, well-designed materials offer structures that support kids in thinking like scientists: in identifying patterns so that they can understand cause and effect relationships, in digging deeper into systems and models to test ideas or develop explanations based on the data they’ve collected and the knowledge they’ve been building.

The research shows that students are most likely to excel when they are engaging in science rather than just learning about it. The best materials support teachers in creating classrooms where students are not simply passive recipients of facts, but active participants in constructing their own knowledge.

3. Learning objectives are meaningful and connected to the standards

As educators, we all understand that the lessons and units we’re teaching students have bigger learning goals attached to them: goals for the day, goals for the week, goals for year. The materials you’re using should display that same level of understanding and connection to those larger learning goals, and the standards students and teachers will ultimately be held accountable to.

In examining science materials, it’s a good idea to take a look at how the learning objectives are presented to both the teacher and the student. It should be clear how each objective relates not only to the performance expectations but to the larger standards for a particular grade-level or grade band. Assessments play a role here as well: how students are evaluated must be directly connected to what the materials present and the knowledge kids are spending their time building.

Teachers and students will be in a much better position if materials are clear about how each learning objective is connected to the bigger picture. Programs can offer many different pathways for meeting the standards, but those paths should be evident to the ones guiding and participating in the learning.

The Support Teachers and Students Deserve

We know that instructional materials are not the silver bullet. But we also know that materials can make a difference in what and how students learn. Teachers who will be inspiring the next generation of science leaders deserve the support of great content that provides exciting, intentional opportunities for kids to explore the natural and man-made world and develop a deep understanding of how it works.

I believe that only through working together can we ensure all students have access to science education that will prepare them to be citizens who can make informed decisions and leaders who can work together to discover and develop solutions to our most urgent challenges.

National Geographic! Geo-Inquiry Experience! Paid! Check it out...

In 2019, the National Geographic Society will be hosting a Summer Institute for middle school teachers from across North America. The National Geographic 2019 Summer Institute will be held Monday, July 15 - Saturday, July 20, 2019 at the Jackson Campus of the Teton Science Schools in Jackson, Wyoming. During the institute, National Geographic will train selected educators to be facilitators of in-person outreach and professional development for National Geographic Educator Certification and the Geo-Inquiry Process. Throughout the week educators will spend time reviewing adult learning principles, learning more about National Geographic Society’s educational values, and becoming expert facilitators.

National Geographic will cover the cost of all food, accommodations, and transportation for educators teachers during the institute. Participation in the summer institute is the first step in a partnership with the National Geographic Society. For the commitment to National Geographic and this initiative, each educator will receive a $600.00 stipend paid in installments over the course of the 2019-2020 academic year. Prior to applying for this opportunity, please review this document to understand the expectations associated with participation. To be considered for final selection, please complete this application form by January 28, 2019. If you have any questions regarding the National Geographic 2019 Summer Institute please reach out to the Educator Network at

Science Teacher shares her expertise in DESIGN CHALLENGES:

Kristen Benton of Kenesaw: Check it out!

Scout Mindset

Interested in training your students to think on their own, be more observant, and argue with evidence? Checkout the "SCOUT MINDSET" @

Constructing MODELS:

#3. How to best support the construction of a MODEL: Try this TED Talk: "Got a wicked problem? First tell me how to make toast!"

How is your NE College & Career Ready Science Standards implementation going?

Here's an interactive booklet to help you along your journey!

University of Nebraska State Museum & V I R T U A L Field Trips


Visit "Archie" and company from your classroom! No need to schedule transportation, pack a lunch or even leave your school when you visit us on a Virtual Field Trip. Our educators and scientists interact with your students on a variety of science and natural history topics through our live, interactive videoconferencing programs. Classes are designed to fit within your schedule, curriculum needs and are aligned with science standards. Many of our programs include a physical kit with hands-on materials to enhance your visit.

Thanks to Brandon Timm at Aurora Public Schools for sharing this information. If you have questions, he has experienced such a field trip and utilized a kit. Contact

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Raising Nebraska

Squeeze the Most Out of your
Field Trip Experience at Raising Nebraska

Pick your Day
Pick Your Time
Pick Your Program
Spring Registration Available Now!
Phone: 1-308-385-3967

Click Here:

STEM in the Elementary Classroom!

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Professional Development Specialist

"Educating, Empowering & Inspiring Lifelong Learners"