DPS Secondary Science News

December, 2016

Sharing our Gifts

As we move into this holiday season, I am struck by the sharing nature of our science team. This week, we will begin the first in what I hope with me a regular form of professional development opportunities: instructional learning tours. As I've worked to set these up, I have been supported by an amazing group of teachers, all willing to open their doors to colleagues for the purposes of sharing teaching ideas, instructional strategies and lesson plans in the hopes of working together as colleagues to improve instruction across our District. It is an honor to work alongside teachers who care deeply for their craft and for each other.

Again, I hope you will take time for yourself and for your family over break. I'll be heading to Indonesia to spend time with my daughter who lives Yogyakarta and teaches at the university there. So, no American National Parks this holiday for me, but I am hoping for an Indonesian one... I wish all of you the very best holiday seasons and safe travels, wherever you may be headed.

I look forward to continuing our work together in 2017.

Upcoming Events

  • December 7, Early Release Day
  • December 8, Biology Instructional Learning Tour
  • December 9, Science Planning Day, Lucas Middle School
  • December 12, Middle School Science Chair (2nd Quarter Meeting) @SDC
  • December 16, IF Academy, 8-12 @SDC
  • January 17, High School Science Chair Meeting, TBD

Quick News

  • The microscope and balance repair is finally funded. If your request needs updating OR if you now need repair service, please respond here https://goo.gl/forms/RloSBJqR0ttdOVWI3 by Wednesday, December 7. Chairs were notified last week.

  • Need anything from the Science Cage? If you email me with a request, I will open up the Science Cage from 3-4 on this Wednesday's early release day (December 7). I must know if you are planning to come (1 pair per school only, please) so I don't waste the time in the dark, dark science cage. Please email me if you are interested.

  • Biology teachers should have access to Study Island for student biology review and practice. Check with your IF or Principal for details.

  • Interested in Science Olympiad? If you build a team, we will pay the registration fee (one team per school)! Our tournament is on March 18. Please register/get information for your team at http://www.sciencenc.com/team-help/coaches-corner/index.php

DPS Science Teachers and Partners Share

The 2017 Energy Literacy Fellows Program (from Dana Haine)

A year-long teacher professional development program for grades 8-12 science.

8th grade and environmental science teachers are especially encouraged. 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.

Benefits include:

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

· over $200 worth of instructional materials to support hands-on STEM investigations including a class set (30) of Energy Infobooks from NEED ​

· access to a peer learning network and ideas for classroom integration

· credit towards CEUs and the NC EE Certification Program

· opportunity to attend the UNC CLEAN TECH Summit in March 2017

Click here to access the online application

All applications must be completed before 9AM on Friday, January 9th

Apply for a 2017-18 Kenan Fellowship

Applications for 2017-18 Kenan fellowships will be accepted beginning Tuesday, Nov. 1. These 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, energy and high-tech manufacturing industries. 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. Please visit our website for information on how to complete an online application.

Bookings for class visits to the Biogen RTP Community Lab

for the 2016-17 school year are now open!

“Today was really fun, and I enjoyed learning and doing the experiments” & “Science is much more interesting than I thought.” – 8th grade students after visiting the Community Lab

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. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CLabBooking16-17

Details about each lab are listed below. Please review the Google Calendar for availability before requesting dates: goo.gl/3Api72. If the link does not work, just cut and paste it into your browser. Unavailable days are labeled "CLab CLOSED" or "CLab BOOKED". Requests will be handled on a first come basis. Please note an open date on the calendar does not guarantee you will get that date, as someone else ahead of you in the booking queue may have requested that same date. You will be contacted by email to confirm your booking. If you have not been contacted in 3 business days please feel free to reach out to me at amanda.marvelle@biogen.com.

Grants and Goodies

The Biogen Foundation’s Ignite the Power of STEM Grants Program

supports teachers and schools in North Carolina to help them bring hands-on science programming to their students. Individual teachers may apply for up to $2,000. Schools may apply for up to $5,000. The application cycle runs October 15th through January 15th. Click Here to access our online system. The system will open on October 15, 2016.

If you have questions about the program, contact Christopher Fipps at cfipps@nccommunityfoundation.org or Leslie Ann Jackson at lajackson@nccommunityfoundation.org.

"Finding Water"

2017 Water Conservation Poster Contest

Grade Levels: 6-8

Even though the earth is more than 70% water, only about 1% of it is easily accessible!

Show us where you would look for clean drinking water and how you would conserve it once found.


To schedule a presentation, please visit:

DurhamSavesWater.org or email: savewater@durhamnc.gov

Walmart Local Giving Grants

Have you thought of applying to Walmart for help funding a science project? Check it out! http://giving.walmart.com/apply-for-grants/local-giving

Student Opportunities

The North Carolina Collaborative (NCC) Summer Research Experience Program

is recruiting high school students and teachers for its 2017 session! The NCC program provides an intensive research experience over 8 weeks in the summer, focusing on pharmaco-epidemiological research methodology and scientific writing skills. Participants are placed in teams and matched with Duke faculty mentors to work on an original, hypothesis-driven project, progressing through draft figures and tables, an abstract, a PowerPoint presentation, and a written thesis. The research experience is supplemented with content-related tutorials provided by Duke medicine and pediatrics faculty members, a statistician, a medical writer, and other research staff. The program also includes an intensive medical ethics seminar on the responsible conduct of research. Additionally, students (ages 18+) may experience clinical medicine firsthand by shadowing a physician on hospital rounds. Applications will be accepted starting in November. Check out the program website for more information: https://dcri.org/education-training/ncc-research/NCC-research.

Science Resources

Citizen Science at School! Join North Carolina’s Candid Critters!

Have you ever wondered what mammals are living in the areas where you go every day? Who is hiding in the patches of “wild” near your work or home? What’s living in your local parks? That is exactly what we would like to find out! Candid Critters is a citizen science camera trapping project that will survey the mammals in the entire state of North Carolina. Participants in this ambitious project will help us set cameras in all 100 counties at over 28,000 sites throughout the state over the next three years! This type of data collection is unprecedented, and will only be possible with your help. We are interested in teaming up with individual citizen scientists as well as schools, libraries, museums, nature centers and more to help run cameras as well as recruit, engage, and equip citizen-science volunteers.

Data from this survey will be used to improve both conservation and management techniques for North Carolina’s wildlife. This collaborative project between the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and the NC Wildlife Resources Commission strives to engage the public to connect with nature in their local communities. If you are interested in joining our project or have any questions, please check out our attached brochure and sign up at NCCandidCritters.org.

NC River Basins- Interactive Map

Find out which river basin your live in using this interactive map (http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/riverbasins-gis-map.asp).

Explore the ecology of your area using the Discover Your Ecological Address Interactive map (http://ncdenr.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=6b03c62763074346957e6c5096814bee).

For more FREE resources and information regarding North Carolina's river basins, visit http://www.eenorthcarolina.org/riverbasins.html.

School Year PD for Science Teachers

All Urban Streams are NOT Created Equal: A Case Study on Creek Smart(R) Neighborhood Design-- A Special Opportunity for Earth and Environmental Science

We have a special opportunity to participate in a unique workshop! The session will take place on Monday, January 23rd from 1-4PM. Teachers will experience a curriculum unit that introduces students to watershed land cover features that impact stream health, as well as small-scale strategies to minimize storm water runoff. The unit follows the 5E Instructional Model and includes class discussions and activities, an interactive lecture, and a final assessment in which students apply what they have learned to design a green neighborhood that minimizes human impacts on stream health. Teachers will leave the workshop with a hard copy and an electronic copy of all curriculum materials in the unit.

The workshop will take place at the NC School of Science & Mathematics, Durham, NC. Directions and parking information are available at the link:


To Signup: Visit http://ellerbecreek.org/support/event-signup.html and click on “Teacher Workshop – Creek Smart Curriculum” IF THIS IS NOT A WORKDAY FOR YOU, please let me know if you need a sub!

Questions?: Contact Chris Sajdak, Education and Outreach Coordinator at ECWA: americorps@ellerbecreek.org or (616) 403-0297

Where Swans Fly and Bears Walk

educator trek with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Likin' Lichens Educator Workshop

Februrary 17 - 19, 2017

Lichens, these mysterious organisms, have fascinated people for years. Not a plant, not a fungus, but a surprisingly elegant combination of the two. Spend the weekend delving into the enchanting world of lichens as we learn their basic ecology, identification, and natural history during this field-based workshop. Workshop lasts from Friday supper to Sunday lunch. Workshop fee includes all instruction, materials, meals and lodging.

Cost for educators: Thanks to a generous grant from North Carolina Department of Transportation, this course is offered to 10 K-12 educators for a non-refundable registration fee of $50 per person. Two educators per school. Register now!

Summer Opportunities

Applications are now open for the 2017 CDC Science Ambassador Fellowship!

The competitive fellowship is for teachers and educational leaders interested in bringing public health into current middle- and high- school classrooms. It includes a 5-day summer course (July 10-14,2017) at CDC headquarters in Atlanta, GA and a 1-year distance-basedprofessional development opportunity. Applications are due February 15, 2017.

Applications are now open for the August 2017 BEETLES Leadership Institute

This Institute will take place from August 6th-11th, 2017, in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. Applications will close Monday, January 16th, 2017. This is the first of five FREE (including room/board and a travel stipend) Institutes, funded by the National Science Foundation, that will take place over the next three years. Each Leadership Institute will engage participants in stimulating conversations, build leadership expertise, share wisdom across a variety of programs, and model research-based resources for professional learning and student experiences.

NC Sustainable Forestry Workshops

These workshop are designed to educate teachers about forestry and the importance of forestry to the state of North Carolina. The cost is only $50. The NCFA and its partners pay for all food, lodging, and transportation once at the workshop. We also pay for a fun activities at each workshop for the teachers. This year, it is touring Biltmore Estates in Asheville at the Mountain Workshop, and a wine tour/tasting at the Piedmont workshop. Educators receive 30 CEU contact hours for attending and take back a wealth of knowledge to share with their students. Our application period closes on April 15th, 2017. If you have any questions please contact Eddie Reese at 919-834-3943 ext. 2. or at ereese@ncforestry.org.

Science in the News

Four New Names Officially Added to the Periodic Table of Elements


Please welcome to the periodic table: Nihonium, Moscovium, Tennessine and Oganesson, discovered and then named by Japanese, Russian and American scientists.

The Thin Gene


The body of a woman whose mutation keeps her on the brink of starvation may hold the secret to treating obesity.

Global Warming Alters Arctic Food Chain, Scientists Say, With Unforeseeable Results


The annual production of algae, the base of the food web, increased an estimated 47 percent between 1997 and 2015, and the Arctic Ocean is greening up earlier each year.

Supermoon Meteors and 7 More Can’t-Miss Sky Events in December
National Geographic

Get ready to see lunar pairings, two meteor showers, and more celestial wonders this month. Read the full story

How A Psychedelic Drug Helps Cancer Patients Overcome Anxiety

Many cancer patients who took the psychedelic drug psilocybin under supervision said the experience erased their anxiety and depression over illness and death. Read the full story