DPS Secondary Science News

November 16-20, 2015

This week...

One more full week until Thanksgiving week! I'm heading to California to see my grandson and I CANNOT wait. I know it's disappointing, but you'll get a break from newsletters while I'm gone... And, I hope you will be celebrating the holiday with whatever it is that renews your spirit.

This week's Out of the Box experience gives you an opportunity to select from a menu of offerings for professional development. The secondary science-related ones I know about are:

  • Science Fairs with Barrington Ross and Manley Midgett, 2-4 @ The Frontier
  • Using the Starlab with Dacia Jones 2-4 @ RN Harris Elementary School
  • Anchor Charts for Secondary Science with Molly Gilliam 1:30-3:30 @ Neal
  • Metacognition in the Biology Classroom with Lori Khan, Zeb Holsopple, Brook Sauer (and others) 1:30-3:30 @ CMA
  • Biology Modeling Summit (Southern and Northern Biology Teams only) 1:30-3:30 @ Northern

Also, don't forget about the GIZMOs Pilot opportunity (see below) and the upcoming science resource fair (December 9, 1:30-5:30).

This week: I will be visiting Riverside, Lowe's Grove, Neal, Shepard, and Githens. I am in PLATO training Monday. Friday I will hosting FMA Live! Forces in Motion presented by NASA and Honeywell which was made available to 7th grade classes and will be held at Southern.

Upcoming Events

  • November 18
  • 1:30-4 A Science Fair Primer, @ The Frontier
  • 2-4 Using the Starlab with Dacia Jones @ RN Harris Elementary School
  • 1:30-3:30 Anchor Charts for Secondary Science with Molly Gilliam @ Neal
  • 1:30-3:30 Metacognition in the Biology Classroom with Lori Khan, Zeb Holsopple, Brook Sauer (and others) @ CMA
  • 1:30-3:30 Biology Modeling Summit (Southern and Northern Biology Teams only) @ Northern
  • November 20, FMA Live! Forces in Motion performances @ Southern High School.
  • December 3, 8:30-4 8th Grade Change through Time Kit Unpacking @ SDC.
  • December 8, 4-5 High School Science Chairs meeting, Early College High
  • December 9, 1:30-5:30 Secondary Science Resource Fair @ Riverside High School. We will be reviewing materials for possible adoption in 2016-17.

Quick News

  • Test specification documents for the 2015-16 NC Final Exams of Science and Math are out and can be found at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/common-exams/specifications/.

  • Kenan fellowships for 2016-17 are posted and the application is live! The Kenan Fellows Program is proud to feature internship opportunities for teachers on our website. You can view these fellowship offerings and access the application from our web site, www.kenanfellows.org. We've had a number of science teachers benefit from this wonderful professional growth opportunity!

  • GIZMOS! Explore Learning is offering an opportunity to our District secondary math and science teachers. Their online simulation tool, Gizmos, allows teachers to create inquiry-based lessons in the areas of mathematics, physical science, and life science that engage students in data collection and analysis. The project involves teams of between 2-4 same subject teachers at a school in 2 half-day professional development sessions and provide the Gizmos resource to participating teachers and their students during the pilot period (January, 2016-December, 2016). Please complete this Google form to indicate your team's interest in participating in this project.
  • FREE classroom presentations! BioNetwork (from the NC Community Colleges) brings all supplies, equipment, and lessons to you! Did I mention free? And, they can stay all day, working with all your classes. Learn more and schedule at: http://www.ncbionetwork.org/educator-resources.
  • Anybody interested in using Webassign? Cengage is offering a free preview opportunity to interested teachers that will run through second semester.
  • Want to help review science resources for adoption in 2015-16? Each school needs one representative who will be serving on the Science Resource Review Committee. I've heard from: Brogden, Githens, Little River, Neal, DSA Middle, DSA High, CMA, Early College, Hillside NT, Middle College, Northern, Riverside, Southern, and PLC. Chairs, you can respond to me directly or in the Google Doc.
  • NC Science Olympiad is holding an invitational showcase for Division B and C teams on January 9, 2016 at the Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. Cost is $20 per team. This is a good opportunity for practice. If the fee is prohibitive, it can be waived. Register here.
  • Want a specific publisher at the Secondary Science Resource Fair? The current list of invited publishers is: Wiley, Accelerate Learning,TPS Publishing, Cengage, Carolina Biological (STC), Pearson, Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, Lab-Aids, School Specialty (FOSS), Perfection Learning, McGraw Hill, Bedford, Freeman, and Worth, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, IAT, Discovery, Kendall Hunt, and Scholastic. Let me know if I should extend other invitations.
  • Looking for current science news articles your students can read? Check out: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1RtCxUaEYbHZiMmLof8NDlx54QHdC1tInQgjOLbp_CBA
  • Making purchases? Check out the discounts: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BzMODhERQCTzX3pPTzZQTFNma3c

DPS Science Teachers Share

James Johnson at Lucas has a contact at NASA who is local and willing to come in to talk with students. He is a NASA Ambassador and his name is Marc Fusco. Contact him at Stentor@mindspring.com.

Matt Hickson at Neal shares:

Saturday, November 21: Making Design Work in the Classroom teacher workshop again at the Design Lab, on the campus of NC State's College of Design.

This workshop is for K-12 teachers of any subject area who want to incorporate design-based strategies and activities in their classrooms. The hands-on, three-hour session will address how design activities can contribute to the student achievement of local and nations standards and assessment in a variety of disciplines.

The workshop will include discussion of:

• 21st century critical and creative thinking skills
• Characteristics of design problems
• Design-based teaching and learning strategies: Mapping, Modeling, Diagramming, Scenarios, Simulations and prototypes, Analogies
• Making design work in the classroom
• Meeting the requirements of content standards
• Hands-on activities
• Assessment in a counting and measuring culture

For more information and to register, please visit our teacher professional development page: design.ncsu.edu/designlab/teacherpd.

Corey Mayle at Brodgen found a genetic simulation that may be useful, especially for 7th grade science. You can use the practice fruit fly populations or create populations of their own to create Punnett squares. http://cgslab.com/

Science in the Community

Applications for summer 2016 are now available on the NCC Summer Research Experience program website: https://dcri.org/education-training/ncc-research/NCC-research#to-apply. This is a GREAT PAID opportunity for secondary science teachers and high school students to be involved in research.

The newsletter from the Durham Soil and Water Conservation District Education Team is attached.

Would you like for your students to be able to image something at the nanoscale? The Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (RTNN) is here to help!

The RTNN is an NSF-funded collaboration between NCSU, Duke, and UNC. A major focus of the RTNN is to bring nanotechnology awareness and experiences into middle schools and high schools. Through the RTNN, we will be able to offer you FREE access to equipment such as scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) that can image objects at the nanoscale.

There are numerous ways to interact with us for FREE:

  • Monster Under the Bed: Send a sample to us (e.g. dust from under your bed – there will be mite monsters), and we will image the sample in the SEM in a real time Skype link with your class.
  • Seat Belts Everyone! Field Trip: Visit our RTNN labs and observe our equipment in action. Maybe your class collects a few bugs, rocks, or plants they are interested in looking at.
  • School Days: Use scotch tape to collect samples from around your school by sticking it to surfaces and seeing what it collects.

Send your samples to us in advance. On the day of your virtual skype or in-person visit, a student Staff member at one of our universities will connect with your class via Skype or in person. They will talk with your class about the equipment being used, what it’s typically used for, and then will image the sample(s) that your class sent to us. Your students will see the equipment, how the imaging SEM system works, get to see their samples up close, and start making discoveries of their own.

If you’re interested in bringing this technology into your classroom, contact us at rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu.

Science in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Below are all and winter educator workshops in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. All day-long workshops are free; multiple day workshops with lodging are at a greatly reduced rate through generous grant donations received by Friends of the Smokies. All workshops are eligible for CEU and EEC Criteria II and III credits.

Citizen Science for the Classroom

December 4-6, 2015 at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Citizen Science is perfect way to bring the scientific method into the classroom. Participate in several projects, some national and some more regionally specific developed to monitor resources in Great Smoky Mountains NP. Learn how you can use these projects to teach students how to ask good scientific questions, analyze datasets and communicate their findings. Meals and lodging included. Register through Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont atwww.gsmit.org. The workshop is offered at the reduced educator rate of $50.

Salamanders and Storms: Climate Change in the Smokies

February 19-21, 2016 at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Every year we learn more about how climate change is impacting the Smokies and the Southern Appalachian Mountains. We bring in area experts to discuss this complex issue and will showcase several hands-on activities you can use in the classroom. Meals and lodging included. Register through Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont at http://www.gsmit.org/climatechange.html. Ten spaces are available at a reduced educator

rate of $50.

Spring in the Smoky Mountains

April 29 -May 1, 2016 at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center

Great Smoky Mountains National Park is world-renowned for its diversity of wildflowers and salamanders. Explore cove forests and stream-side habitats for salamanders as well as the blooms of spring. To register, visithttp://www.naturalsciences.org/education/for-educators/educator-workshops/spring-treks. Cost: $75* (includes lodging at Lake Junaluska, some meals and transportation from Raleigh).

Susan Sachs

Education Coordinator, Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

PO Box 357

Lake Junaluska, NC 28745

(828) 926-6251


Renew your passion for teaching while gaining information, ideas, and insights to take back to your classroom by joining the Museum for an educator workshop!

Educator Treks...

These professional development workshops provide opportunities for educators to increase their content knowledge, gain ideas to use in the classroom, and network with other educators. Participants receive a certificate for CEUs and credit for North Carolina's Environmental Education Certification Program.

To register for Educator Treks, please fill out and mail a registration form and deposit. The registration form can be found on this website!


Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Plymouth, NC

Friday, January 8 (depart Raleigh at 3:45 p.m.) - Saturday, January 9, 2016

Fee: $90 (includes transportation, lodging, breakfast and lunch)

CEUs: 12 contact hours

Experience one of the greatest wildlife spectacles in North Carolina - thousands of tundra swans, snow geese, and other waterfowl over-wintering in an area rich in wildlife such as black bears, bobcats, and red wolves. Learn winter bird identification, tips on preserving tracks and signs, and ideas for incorporating wild creatures into your teaching.


NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC

Thursday, January 28, 2016

6 - 8 pm

Fee: $10

CEUs: 2 contact hours

You need to know what your students are understanding and retaining, but grading daily homework is a chore and you feel exhausted thinking about yet another poster project or in-class presentation. What to do? Join us to discover tons of fun strategies for assessing learning, swap ideas for what works, and test out a few activities. From 1-minute check-ins to semester-long group projects, we have ideas for blending assessment with team-building, self-reflection, and group learning.


Offered as an outing for educators and the general public

Off the coast of Hatteras, NC

Friday, February 5 (depart Raleigh at 3:30 p.m.) - Saturday, February 6, 2016

Fee: $280 (includes transportation, lodging, and all day boat charter)

North Carolina has a huge variety of birds that visit the waters off our coast. Join Museum educators and ornithologists as we travel offshore toward the Gulf Stream and we learn about and observe some of our amazing pelagic birds. Winter is also a great time to spot migrating marine mammals, and we hope to encounter these as well!

Due to the unpredictability of winter weather and seas, please reserve Sunday, February 7 on your calendar as well! If the weather looks bad, we may hold the trip Saturday to Sunday (instead of Friday to Saturday). We will let you know as soon as possible if we need to shift the trip.

Science Grants

PRISM Grants from BWF are open again. Money for science doesn’t get much easier than this! This award provides up to $3,000 for one year to cover the cost of equipment, materials, and supplies. An additional $1,500 may be requested for professional development related to the implementation of new equipment or use of materials in the classroom. For additional details, visit http://www.bwfund.org/grant-programs/science-education/promoting-innovation-science-and-mathematics.

N.C. Beautiful Windows of Opportunity Grants for K-12 teachers have been increased from $1,000 to $1,500 for 2015.
These grants provide resources “to foster enthusiasm for the natural environment, build leadership for greater awareness, initiate a sense of community service and improve stewardship.” Public and private k-12 teachers can apply for the grants until November 30th. For more information or to apply, visit the NC Beautiful website.

Science in the News


A study of fossils from before and after a mass extinction 359 million years ago found that animals that flourished after the event were smaller on average.


The controversial procedure seems to cure some patients of dangerous C. difficile infections. Now there’s a simpler option, in pill form.


By studying the largest glaciers on earth, scientists hope to determine whether we’ll have time to respond to climate change or whether it’s already too late.


An impoverished nation must balance domestic demands for development and international demands to limit greenhouse gas emissions.


The intricate fungi often surprise hikers in sun-scorched pine or oak woods like those at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn.