DPS Secondary Science News

November, 2016

Black Moon... and other events of the season

Before anything else, I want to thank the many science leaders (including Brooke Sauer, Tim Brown, Katie Unruhe, Molly Gilliam, Michael Reed, Lynn Chesnut & Tonisha Coburn) who presented during our recent Out of the Box session. I appreciate the extra effort you took to share with other members of the team. Your leadership is GREATLY appreciated.

It's a relief to be able to turn my attention from political ads and debates and look toward the sky for inspiration. This month, there are some cool things happening: a Black Moon occurs on Halloween (Read the full story: Rare ‘Black Moon’ Will Reign on Halloween) and Venus, Saturn, Mars, and Jupiter make appearances. There are even two meteor showers-- the Northern Taurids and the Leonids.

Of course, the election is important, even if we are weary from the process. Please make sure to vote! Remember, there is an important bond referendum pending that includes much needed funding for our schools.

And, take time to enjoy some time with family and/or friends over the Thanksgiving break. Personally, I will be taking my grandson to his second National Park, Death Valley National Park. I am doing my part to introduce him to the better things in life. For the record, it will be National Park number 38 for me. Some people collect Pokémon, I collect experiences in National Parks.

Best wishes for a happy holiday, whatever it is you collect...

Upcoming Events

  • November 1, Middle School Academic Competitions Coaches Meeting, 3-5 @SDC,
  • November 3, 10, and 17, EOG Middle School Teacher Academy, 3-5 p.m. @Rogers-Herr
  • November 8, EOC/EOG Best Practices Morphology for Vocabulary & Reading Comprehension, 8-12 OR 1-5 @SDC
  • November 15, High School Chair Meetings, 4:30-5:30 @TBD
  • November 18, IF Academy, 8-12 @SDC
  • November 29, Middle School Leadership Learning Network, 8-4 @ SDC
  • December 7, Early Release Day

Quick News

  • ALL EOC/EOG teachers are encouraged to attend the Nov 8 Morphology for Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension session. If you teach 8th grade Science, you can also attend this session! Sign up in TNL. THERE WILL BE PRIZES!!!

  • 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

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.

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.

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.

"The National Center for Science Education’s teacher network is launching an exciting new program to get scientists into classrooms across the country!
Scientists in the Classroom is a great opportunity to connect students with real-life early career scientists, as well as for teachers to have an expert on board when teaching evolution and climate change! With this program, teachers and scientists collaborate as colleagues, peers, and partners in the scientific enterprise to further science education. So how exactly does it work? First off, teachers apply for the program here. Then, we'll work to find a scientist in the area who matches the interests and needs of the class. Once a match is made, we'll connect the teachers with a local scientist and provide guidance throughout the semester-long program to plan and carry out two in-class visits.

For more information on Scientists in the Classroom, visit NCSE's website, or email Minda Berbeco at Berbeco@ncse.com.

Student Opportunities

North Carolina Student Academy of Science:

A competition for Middle School and High School Students

- Write a paper on your own science experiment or engineering research project.

- Give an oral presentation in front of the judges.

- Compete at your District to advance to the State.

- State Competition on Friday March 24th, 2017.

- Earn Awards, Scholarships, and a chance to go to the AAAS/AJAS Annual Meeting.

- For more information see www.ncsas.org

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy...

has put together a research opportunity for high school students that might be interesting. Students can actually do research in labs in the school of pharmacy. http://unceii.org/programs/young-innovators-program/ or contack Dr. Kristy Ainslie (ainsleik@email.unc.edu) for details.

The National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) is proud to invite you to take part in our annual K-12 STEM activities a part of our national conference at the Raleigh, NC Convention Center from Thursday, November 10 - Saturday, November 12. Participation is free!

Activities will include:

  • Science Bowl featuring 4-person teams from the local area and around the nation competing for awards and recognition.
  • Science Fair for middle and high school students. Projects previously submitted to other Fairs are welcome.
  • STEM Festival featuring hands-on science activities for students and the general public to explore Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
  • Science Teachers Workshop with tracks for middle and high school teachers. Participants will learn new teaching strategies, experiments and activities.

To Register or for more information, visit www.nobcche.org

Science Resources

PhET has a new iPad App

All 40 of our HTML simulations for science and math learning in one convenient app, that runs offline too! The App is a great way to reach more parents and bring PhET into the home, as well as providing another option for teachers in the classroom. PhET sims will always be free on the web, of course. But all proceeds from the $0.99 app will help develop more PhET sims in HTML5! Here is the link:


The Field Guide to the Southern Piedmont is available as a free e-book.

http://www.uscupstate.edu/fieldguide/ There's also a Facebook page where they will post a brief natural history note on a common organism every couple of weeks and will also provide updates on when a new edition of the field guide will be available.

The link is at https://www.facebook.com/piedmontnaturalhistory/

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.

NEW Fall 2016 Exhibit at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Our fall featured exhibition, The Secret World Inside You (October 22, 2016-March 12, 2017), explores the rapidly evolving science that is revealing the complexities of the human microbiome and reshaping our ideas about human health. For prices, curriculum correlations, more information or how to schedule a visit today, please click here or contact Debbie Huston at debbie.huston@naturalsciences.org or 919.707.9840.

School Year PD for Science Teachers

All Urban Streams are NOT Created Equal: A Case Study on Creek Smart(R) Neighborhood Design

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”

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


Saturday, November 05, 2016

9:30am - 4:30pm

Aquatic insects are fascinating creatures and useful as environmental indicators. In this workshop, you will learn how to sample/collect aquatic insects from both a stream and a pond, practice aquatic insect identification, and learn about aquatic insect behavior and adaptations. You will also gain hands-on experience doing a few lessons that can be adapted for use with your own students that focus on how aquatic insects can indicate human impacts on aquatic systems.

Registration information: To register, email Chris Goforth atchris.goforth@naturalsciences.org.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

9:30am - 4:30pm

Spend the day exploring ways to engage your students in the study of microbes while meeting a number of Science and Health Education Essential Standards for 5th grade, 8th grade and High School Biology. During the workshop participants will tourThe Secret World Inside You, which investigates the rapidly evolving science that is revealing the complexities of the human microbiome; get a behind-the-scenes look at the Museum’s Genomics and Microbiology Research Lab; and test out a variety of hands-on activities designed to explore the needs of living organisms through experiments that can be done in your classroom. Participants will be provided with classroom materials and vouchers for bringing up to 40 students and chaperones to The Secret World Inside You.

Registration information: Online registration

Science in the News

Scientist Goes It Alone on Climate Change to Save His State

National Geographic

Facing opposition from politicians, this North Carolina scientist is urging coastal communities to get ready for rising water. Read the full story

Skywatch: Bright planets and shooting stars are November highlights
The Washington Post

The autumnal heavens provide an array of visual cosmic candy. Read the full story

Doubts About the Promised Bounty of Genetically Modified Crops
The New York Times

Higher yields with less pesticides was the sales pitch for genetically modified seeds. But that has not proved to be the outcome in the United States. Read the full story

Melanesians May Possesses Traits Of Extinct Hominid Species
Inquisitr News

Have researchers discovered new strands of hominid DNA in people living in Micronesia? That’s one of the questions raised in a recent article in Science News, the magazine of The Society for Science & the Public. According to new human DNA research conducted by Ryan Bohlender, a statistical geneticist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, “Traces of long-lost human cousins may be hiding in modern people’s DNA.” Bohlender and others believe indigenous peoples living in Read the full story

Breakthrough in production of dopamine neurons for Parkinson’s disease
Stem Cell News

The first transplantation of stem cell-derived dopamine neurons in patients with Parkinson’s disease is almost within reach. However, it remains a challenge for researchers to control stem cells accurately in the lab in order to achieve successful and functional stem cell therapies for patients. Dopamine neurons differentiated from human embryonic stem cells – In our preclinical assessments of stem cell-derived dopamine neurons, we noticed that the outcome in animal models varied dramatically, Read the full story

Scientists snare their first ever observations of a solar wave erupting upward from a sunspot

The findings may help explain a deep and abiding solar mystery Solar scientists have a problem: They haven't been able to fully explain why the Sun's atmosphere is about 100 times hotter than its surface. Now, observations of a solar wave rising up from a sunspot may help explain at least one of the ways in which the atmosphere, called the corona, gets so hot. Why should the Sun's atmosphere be hotter than the region below it? If you think about it, this makes no sense. Read the full story