DPS Secondary Science News

March, 2017

March comes in with a roar...

You might have noticed this is not quite March 1st. Let's just say sometimes you don't quite get to all the critical items on your list exactly when you plan to do them...

I hope you'll forgive the delay. I'm guessing you'll understand busy.

Speaking of busy, we are counting down to March 18, when we'll host the NC Science Olympiad for the Durham area at Riverside High School. We can use all the help we can get! If you aren't coaching, please consider volunteering to help run or assist with an event, assist with registration, or help with scoring. To volunteer, sign up here. Even if you can't stay very long, consider joining us for this energizing science event.

And, if you know of others who might be interested in helping, please share this information with them!

Also, a HUGE shout out to DPS Science teachers who are representing their schools in the DPS Teacher of the Year Contest: Mark Domanowski (Lakeview) and Molly Gilliam (Neal Middle School). We are VERY proud of you! Congratulations also goes to Lori Khan (Middle College) who received a Biogen IGNITE the Power of STEM in NC grant. And, the science team at Hillside pulled off another NC Region 3A Science and Engineering Fair with grace and style. DPS secondary science teachers ROCK.

Upcoming Events

  • March 9, 16: Biology EOC Teacher Academy @SDC
  • March 9, 16, 23, 30, April 6: 8th Grade Science Teacher Academy @Shepard
  • March 14: Mini-Kit Unpacking for Hydrosphere Kit (8th Grade Science) @Lakewood Montessori Middle, 2:45
  • March 15 EOC Biology March Madness @Hillside 2:25
  • March 18, NC Science Olympiad Durham Tournament B/C @Riverside
  • March 20-22: Spring Administration of Mid-Course Biology Benchmark for 4x4, traditional schedule
  • April 10-14 Spring break, traditional schedule
  • April 29 NC Science Olympiad Durham Tournament A @Southern

Quick News

  • Interested in teaching in the Take 2 Summer Biology or Take 2 Summer 8th Grade Science program? Let me hear from you!

  • GREAT NEWS! Our Gizmos pilot has been extended until May, 2017. Please make use of this resource while it's free-- your use determines what happens next!

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

We have WINNERS!


The following DPS secondary science students placed in the recent NC Central Region 3A Science and Engineering Fair:

Jordan High School: Clayson Good (Abby Ardis, teacher), Toby Turla (Sheikisha Thomas, teacher), Lorenzo Shaikewitz (Carson Wise, teacher), Albert Yuan (Carson Wise, teacher), Cal Nightingale (Carson Wise, teacher), Akshay Mankad (Maggie Burns, teacher), Johnathan Reichart (Sarah Wilson, teacher), Shaun Deardorff (Abby Ardis, teacher)

Hillside High School: Betelihem Mebrahtu (Michael Cherry, teacher)

Lowe's Grove Middle School: Calef Mack (Hope Iheanachor, teacher), Angel Ankrom (Laverne Ellis, teacher)

Shepard Middle School: Kimaya Carpenter (Christine Jackson, teacher)

Lowe's Grove Receives Grant from Keep Durham Beautiful

Lowe's Grove Middle School has received a grant to create a Pollinator Garden. Congratulations to teachers John Ware and Kamal Bell!

DID you know?

The Department of Public Instruction has agreed that Environmental Literacy which has always been one of the five 21st Century central themes ”that should be interwoven" into all North Carolina public school curricula in order to prepare our young people to live successfully in this century. This strand has become a visible part of the Professional Teacher Evaluation Rubric under Section III-D, Educational Power points. Within the next four months the NC Professional Teaching Standards and all other DPI materials where the 21st Century Central Themes are mentioned and promoted will be in place according to DPI staff.

Grants and Goodies

Need some extra income? -CLUB COACHES NEEDED- for the Encore! Afterschool Program

The Department of Community Education is looking for teachers to lead clubs

in LEGO Mind Storm “Robotics” and Coding using “Scratch” to students in the

Encore! Afterschool program.

Scratch: Teach 15 students for 1 hr. /day, two days a week for 6 weeks (15 hrs.)

Robotics: Teach 15 students for 1.5 hrs. /day, two days a week for 6 weeks (*30 hrs.)

*This includes participating in a Tournament on Saturday, May 6th.

Teachers will be paid by Extra Duty at a rate of $20/hr. The Club Coach will work

under the supervision of the afterschool manager. Classes can be taught on a

M/W or T/TH schedule. Training materials will be provided prior to classes starting.

Questions? Contact: Mike Vadala at x 22234 or

(919)560-3698; michael.vadala@dpsnc.net

"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

Free Women in STEM Posters

NASA's Chandra X-ray Center created a great Women in Science page for last year's Women's History Month. Along with bios of past and current female pioneers, it includes a set of 10 printable posters that celebrate the role of women in the exploration of the world and Universe around us. These dynamic posters are high-res and would look great printed on large format printers, as well as in presentations. The collection even includes two of the women featured in the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures movie

Nominate an Outstanding Earth Science Teacher and Educator (OEST and OESE)! Deadline is March 31, 2017!!

Home for Bonnie & Agnes

I'm trying to help my daughter find a good home (classroom or house) for her 2 pet rats and their cage. They are free to a good home who promise that they won't become snake food. Bonnie and Agnes are friendly, clean, fun pets. However, with Kristen's new life adventure, she can't take them with her. Since I work 95 hours a week and already have 2 pets, I can't keep them long term. They love to be held, but are also happy in their cage. They are really easy, low-maintenance pets who will live about 2-3 years. If you are interested, please let me know. Please also help spread the word to others, too. Thanks!-- Beth Lewis, Githens Middle School.

Educator Scholarship from NC Safewater Endowment

The NC Safewater Endowment Program plans to award a total of $14,000 is scholarships and grants in 2017. Scholarships are available for educators at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.

Details and applications available online at ncsafewater.org/scholarships.

Applications for scholarships for the 2017-2018 academic year must be RECEIVED by March 23, 2017.

Carol Bond Fund Scholarship for Middle and High School Environmental Educators – $1,000

Student Opportunities in Science

The Patek Lab at Duke has been awarded a grant to fund a high school student summer fellowship.


One-week session: July 10 – July 13, 2017

BRITE Futures’ FREE Biotechnology Summer Camps are designed to inspire students and give them a head start on identifying careers in science and biotechnology.

CLICK HERE for the BRITE 2017 Biotechnology Summer Camp- Application

FREE 2017 Environmental Science Summer Program (ESSP) at Duke

What is ESSP? ESSP is a free-of-charge, intensive 2-week environmental science summer program at Duke, which has operated since 2012. High school students selected for the program have the opportunity to:

  • Work with outstanding interdisciplinary faculty
  • Explore local environmental issues
  • Collect data in the field (think: in the creek with waders!)
  • Receiving training with the Nicholas School's own first-rate Career Service professionals
  • Learn to give a presentation, ace an interview, and create a resume
  • Receive one-on-one college counseling


Science Resources

Open Educational Resources in Marine Science

Ocean First Education recognizes that not everyone has the opportunity to experience the ocean. We bring the sea to life through high-quality, innovative marine science education and create lifelong students and stewards of the ocean.
To accomplish our mission we have created a collection of open source marine science content designed for students across grades K through 12

School Year PD for Teachers

Rx for Science Literacy: What, Where, How and Why of Health Science Research

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Duke University, Durham
8:00 am – 4:00 pm


Rx for Science Literacy will partner with Duke University to present Rx for Science Literacy: The What, Where, How and Why of Health Science Research. This is an introductory workshop based on NCABR’s comprehensive Rx for Science Literacy curriculum manual, which provides an overview of the biomedical research process.

Educator Treks at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences


MARCH 24 - 26, 2017

Experience the wonders of wetlands as we explore several aquatic NC habitat types. Discover first-hand how different these ecosystems are, and meet the diverse communities of amphibians, reptiles, and plants they support. Learn about life cycles, food webs, and the importance of bio-indicators.

More Details

Educator Trek:


APRIL 8, 9:30am - 4:30pm

This workshop will provide simple lesson plans that you can adapt for use with your own students that incorporate technology, math, graphing, data analysis, and writing as well as a list of available databases and other resources that will help you develop your own lessons and programs using citizen science data.

More Details

TEacher Summer Opportunities

The Science House is currently accepting applications for the 2017 Summer Modeling Institutes.

The Modeling Project is a Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) program that was awarded by the NC Department of Public Instruction with funds from the US Department of Education. This summer we plan to offer the following courses:

Modeling Chemistry: June 19-30, 2017

Modeling Physics I (mechanics): July 10-27, 2017

What is Modeling?

Modeling Institutes are professional development programs using a structured inquiry approach to science teaching to equip teachers with the content knowledge and pedagogical tools needed to transform their instruction and their students. Emphasis is placed on the use of basic models and modeling to teach content. Participants develop skills in fostering scientific discourse and presentation and in assessment of student learning. If you wish to learn more about Modeling Instruction you are encouraged to visit the web site of the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA): http://modelinginstruction.org/

Who is eligible to participate?

The Modeling Institutes are open to public, charter, or private high school teachers from North Carolina who will teach Biology, Chemistry, or Physics during the 2017-18 academic year. You must anticipate teaching the appropriate content during the upcoming academic year to participate in the summer course. Teachers and their administrators will be asked to sign a document committing to this stipulation. Out of state teachers are not eligible for this grant-funded project. Participating teachers will be paid a stipend for attendance. In addition teachers who are more than 35 miles from campus are eligible for campus housing and meal per diems.

For more information and to apply please visit:


Educator of Excellence INSTITUTEs

Applications at: http://naturalsciences.org/learn/educators-of-excellence-institutes


Dates: June 17–25, 2017 with an orientation at the Museum on Saturday, April 22, 2017

Location: Yellowstone National Park, WY and MT

Activity Level: Moderate to rigorous, including walking/hiking at high elevations

Cost: $950 (includes round-trip air travel between Raleigh and Bozeman, MT, all ground transportation, instruction, and lodging)

Participating educators will study and experience the wonders of the world’s first national park. Join us from sunrise to sunset as we observe the incredible wildlife including bears, bison, wolves and elk. Learn about the area’s unique geothermal features and enjoy the magnificent scenery as we hike trails throughout the park. The daily program will include field experiences, opportunities to meet with park staff and local experts to discuss resource management issues, and activities to help bring these experiences into the classroom. Discover strategies for exploring the connections between Yellowstone and North Carolina (wolf and elk reintroduction, fire ecology, resource management issues in the parks, and much more).


Dates: July 25–August 1, 2017 (Mandatory pre- and post-trip sessions will be held in Raleigh on May 6 and November 4, 2017.)

Location: Belize, Central America and Raleigh, NC

Activity Level: Moderate to rigorous, including walking/hiking in tropical (high heat/humidity) settings, canoeing and snorkeling

Cost: $1,300 (includes supplies, round-trip air travel between Raleigh and Belize, all ground transportation, instruction, lodging and meals)

Participants will experience several tropical habitats, including coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and rain forests. The daily program will include practical field experiences, basic biological information, and easily duplicated techniques for teaching natural sciences. This program is designed to give educators a direct experience with environments and concepts that are part of the classroom curriculum. Participants will spend time at a Belizean school interacting with teachers and students.

Syngenta Summer Fellowship - July 17-26

Travel to Syngenta sites around the U.S. learning about the biotech product development process

· All travel, lodging, and meals covered by Syngenta!

· Application due by April 1

Contact: ondrea.austin@dpsnc.net

Students Discover Professional Development Workshop

Date: June 26-27, 2017

Open to: Grades 6-8 Educators

Application Deadline: March 23, 2017

Join us to learn how to bring citizen science to your NC Middle School classroom! Citizen science provides students the opportunity to be engaged in real, authentic scientific research. Come learn about citizen science projects designed by NC Kenan Fellows as well as other citizen science projects to meet your curriculum goals. The Institute includes meals, lodging and a stipend of $120/day.

The goal of Students Discover is to have scientists and teachers collaborate to develop citizen science projects and related curriculum modules in order to engage students in real, authentic science. Learn more about the Students Discover project at studentsdiscover.org.

Applications are available HERE.

Ag Biotech Industry in the Classroom 2017

July 31 - August 4 | Meredith College | Raleigh, N.C.

Looking for new activities to share with your students? Wondering what technologies are key in agriculture today? Come explore this ag biotech focused professional development workshop, for high school science and ag teachers across North Carolina. Registration opens in March. LEARN MORE

2017 Science, Teachers and Research Summer (STaRS) Experience

This two-week professional development program, hosted by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, is designed to enhance high school science teachers’ understanding of basic research in biomedical sciences and enable them to transfer knowledge received from this program into classroom applications. After participating in exploratory lectures, lab investigations and group discussions, teachers will process what they’ve learned to develop lesson plans and classroom projects. Finally, through engagement and discussion with NIEHS scientists in various research labs and the NIEHS Clinical Research Unit, teachers will broaden their understanding of translational research processes. The program will run from Monday, July 10, to Friday, July 21, (excluding Saturday and Sunday). STaRS participants are expected to attend the full two-week program and actively participate each day from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. To offset costs associated with lodging, meals, transportation and time spent during the two-week program, participants will receive a $2,000 stipend. The stipend will be provided in two equal payments, which will be disbursed each week of the program.


  • Applicants must be currently teaching in a North Carolina high school.
  • Applicants must be available for the full two-week program (July 10-21, excluding Saturday and Sunday).
  • Applicants must have reliable transportation and be willing to travel to Research Triangle Park (which may include overnight stays at a hotel in Research Triangle Park on Sunday through Thursday each week).

Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 17, 2017.

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.


July 24, 2017 to July 28, 2017

Located at Ocracoke, NC 27960

North Carolina’s coastal ecosystems can provide rich lessons to enhance the high school biology curriculum, including how the living organisms within these environments demonstrate interdependence, adaptations, and stability. Close focus of these ecosystems will reveal the complex workings of carbon and nitrogen cycles, energy pyramids, and biochemical processes and energy use in the cell. Understand how humans impact these coastal ecosystems through population growth, technology, consumption of resources, and production of waste. Partner with biologists and other science experts to create lessons that will engage high school students and advance their learning of North Carolina biology standards.

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Science in the News

Scientists Say Canadian Bacteria Fossils May Be Earth’s Oldest


Ancient rocks have yielded tiny fossil-like formations up to 4.2 billion years old, researchers reported. But some experts are skeptical.

Spring Came Early. Scientists Say Climate Change Is a Culprit.


Spring weather across the United States arrived more than three weeks earlier than usual in some places, and new research released Wednesday shows a strong link to climate change.

Our Universe’s Very Dusty Early, Early Beginnings


Far away, in a constellation called Sculptor, astronomers have glimpsed the universe’s oldest dust. It’s 13.2 billion years old.

How Did Aborigines Get to Australia? DNA Helps Solve a Mystery


Scientists used a genetic test to discover that the ancestors of Aboriginal Australians arrived 50,000 years ago and spread along the coastlines.