Secondary Science Newsletter

December 12, 2014

Important Dates

  • High school benchmark dates: December 5, March 11, May 6 (except biology)
  • Middle school benchmark dates: December 19, March 11, May 13 (except 8th grade)

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

Shout Outs

The fine teachers at Cimarron shared many great ideas with me recently. They introduced me to Mr. Parr's Science Songs and the Let's Talk About Genes and I Don't Mean Trousers song. And they showed me how to make a metrics conversion foldable like the one shown below.
Big image
Big image
The folks over at Central shared with me how that they are using formative assessment probes to raise rigor and increase critical thinking with their students. The 6th grade teachers are using some great inquiry-based strategies for teaching about electricity. The Central Tigers would be a great resource for anybody looking for ideas for teaching 7th grade genetics or 6th grade electricity!

Pilot Test the New Project Learning Tree Curriculum, Get Paid!

The University of Florida and Project Learning Tree are excited to announce an opportunity for high school teachers to participate in an evaluation of a new instructional resource, “Southeastern Forests and Climate Change.” In addition to receiving the benefit of using this new and innovative classroom resource with students, participating teachers are also eligible to receive $300 stipends for their participation. See link for more details.

Vernier Engineering Contest

About this Award

Vernier Software & Technology is committed to helping educators develop the next generation of engineers and scientists. To show our support, Vernier will recognize three instructors, one middle school, one high school, and one college instructor, with the Vernier Engineering Award. This $5,500 award will be presented to instructors who are creatively using Vernier sensors to introduce engineering concepts or engineering practices. This may be in conjunction with Vernier’s Logger Pro software, NI LabVIEW software, LEGO NXT, VEX, or any other system incorporating Vernier sensors.

Award Prize

Each award will consist of $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier technology, and $1,500 toward expenses to attend either the 2015 NSTA STEM conference in Minneapolis, or the 2015 ASEE conference in Seattle. Three awards will be given – one for middle school, one for high school, and one for college.


Current instructors of engineering or STEM subjects in middle school, high school, or college are eligible to apply. Applicants must be using Vernier sensors in their classroom instruction.


Applications will be judged on innovative ideas, engineering objectives, and the ease for others to replicate the project. Middle school and high school applicants will specifically need to explain how the project addresses the engineering practices called for in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). A panel of judges comprised of educational professionals from Vernier Software & Technology will score applications.


Applications are accepted through January 15, 2015. Winners will receive notification via email and will be announced March 5, 2015, on the Vernier website and Facebook page.

Terms and Conditions

Instructors at eligible institutions may submit up to three entries. To be eligible, your institution must be properly accredited, located in the United States (including DoDEA schools), and have 50 or more students. Institutions serving grades K–12, as well as post-secondary undergraduate college departments, are eligible. Preschools, daycare centers, and home schools are not eligible. The application must be submitted by an employee at the institution who is 18 years of age or older. Technology awarded to the institution will be shipped only to the institution’s address and will become property of the institution.

How to Apply

  1. To apply, produce a video showcasing your entry. This video should briefly describe the Vernier sensors and the engineering concepts or practices that are being addressed. The video should demonstrate the project or experiment in action. Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo.
  2. Complete the online application form. The application will include a space for you to provide a link to your video that you have posted on YouTube or Vimeo.

More information at

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

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


Inasmuch Foundation Grants

Deadline: February 15. For more information visit

Big image

Fordham Street Foundation Grants

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

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

World of 7 Billion Contest

Big image

Cool Tech Tool/Site of the Week: The Ultimate STEM Guide for Kids: 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.

Click here for more tech tools!

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

Check out these formative assessment probe books:

Click here for more instructional strategies.

Need Resources?

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

And please send me awesome lessons or ideas so that I can share those across the district.

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)
  • Secondary Science Safety Notebook (R:\03 High School Resources\Science\Secondary Science Safety)
  • Review all documents in R:\03 High School Resources\Science\Secondary Science Safety

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