DPS Secondary Science News

January, 2018

Inclement weather or amazing natural science experience-- you decide

As I sit here working while looking out on the winter wonderland visible through my window, I'm thinking about just how beautiful snow is. It's this magic substance (I know, it's not magic, it's a phase change) that literally transforms the landscape. I'm reminded of the trip I made to Yellowstone with fellow DPS teacher Kevin Lloyd (that's Kevin in the photo) in 2016, during which we got to see shimmering diamond dust in the air. This is a phenomenon that is amazing to see (video here, at about 38 seconds).

By the way, if you ever get the chance, you should go on a Educator of Excellence trip with the Museum of Natural Sciences-- they are incredible-- deadline for this year's trips is March 5.

I know inclement weather make-up days are a real nuisance, but seriously, who doesn't like a snow day?

Upcoming Events- Details coming soon to your inbox

  • January 29, 4:30-5:30 p.m. Durham Regional Science Olympiad Coach Clinic @ Riverside High School
  • January 30-February 2 Microscope & Balance Repair (by request only)
  • January 31 Early Release Day: Curriculum Writing Project for DPS Hub Farm (please contact me if interested in this opportunity)
  • February 10 Region 3A NC Science and Engineering Fair @ Hillside High School
  • February 15 Biology Learning Tour
  • February 28 Out of the Box Early Release Day
  • March 3 Durham Regional Science Olympiad Tournament @ Riverside High School
  • March 8 7th Grade Science Atmosphere Kit (CIBL) training

Quick News

  • As a partner on a MSP Grant, Durham teachers have priority for openings in The Science House's Modeling Institutes. The 2018 courses include Chemistry, Physics (Electricity & Magnetism) and Middle School Science. There are several DPS teachers who have participated in these workshops and found them VERY beneficial. Participants receive a stipend of $125/day. See below for details.

  • Volunteers are needed for the Region 3A Science and Engineering Fair on February 10 at Hillside! If you are interested in volunteering, contact Barrington Ross at barrington.ross@hillsidehornets.com

  • Volunteers are needed for our Durham Regional Science Olympiad Tournament on March 3 at Riverside! This is a super fun day of science activity! Volunteers are needed for all aspects of the program including setup, leading events, awards ceremony, and cleanup. Sign up here: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0d49aca823aaf58-durham

Special School Year Opportunities for Teachers

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Are you interested in taking your students on a Field trip to the Hub Farm but haven’t had time? Is writing science/interdisciplinary curriculum your passion?

Come to the Hub Farm Curriculum Summit on Wednesday 1/31/18 from 2:30-5:00 pm

  • We will meet at Hub Farm (117 Milton Rd, Durham, NC 27712) at 2:30 for a quick tour of the facility before we head over to Eno Valley Elementary School for a collaborative planning session.
  • The focus for this work session is developing curriculum kits for future field trip experiences. There is the potential to receive a stipend for subsequent curriculum writing work.

Please RSVP to Willow Alston-Socha willow.alston-socha@dpsnc.net or Linda Tugurian linda.tugurian@dpsnc.net by 1/29/18

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Educator Externships on Out of the Box (Feb 28)

For the February 28 Out of the Box, we will again be offering Educator STEM ExternTrips in RTP from 2:30-5 p.m. These are offered to us through a partnership with STEM in the Park. Sign up for ExternTrips is here! This February’s sessions will be held at EPA, Cree, Syngenta and Biogen, giving teachers an opportunity to learn about the research being done in RTP, tour facilities, and discover opportunities for students and teachers to partner with some of these companies. These sessions are open to ALL DPS teachers, but of course, may be of particular interest to those of you who teach in STEM areas.

If you want to sign up, you MUST sign up for this opportunity through STEM in the Park (see link below) because early registration is necessary to secure passes to the facilities. The last day to register is Friday, February 2nd. Once your registration is approved, we will make sure you are registered in the DPS Out of the Box session, so that you can receive credit.

Educator ExternTrips are an immersion opportunity for educators to visit a local STEM company and experience how STEM impacts their everyday lives. The overall goal for these ExternTrips is for educators to be able to take what they learned and utilize in their classrooms. Educator ExternTrips last 2.5 hours and the outline of the day varies from company to company but usually consist of a building tour, employee meet-and-greet, and a hands on activity.

For more information, please read blog posts from previous educator participants and view a 360° video of a previous ExternTrip.

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Join the Museum of Natural Sciences onsite or in the field for a professional development workshop this year! The full listings are on our website at: http://naturalsciences.org/calendar/events/category/series/educator-treks/

Mammal Collections

NCMNS • Sat, Feb 10 • 9-5 • $40 • 8 contact hours
Learn techniques used by museum curators to collect, prepare, and care for mammal specimens in a research collection.

Backbone of North Carolina
Sites along the Blue Ridge Parkway • Fri, Mar 2 – Sun, Mar 4 • $145 • 20 contact hours
Explore the geology of the North Carolina mountains as we travel along the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway from Linville Gorge to Grandfather Mountain.

Secrets of the Swamp
Roanoke River near Jamesville, NC • Sat, Apr 7 – Sun, Apr 8 • $80 • 20 contact hours
Canoe and camp in a North Carolina swamp forest along the majestic Roanoke River and learn about the unique bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem.

Pitcher This: Plants that Eat Bugs
Green Swamp and Holly Shelter, near Wilmington, NC • Sat, Apr 21 – Sun, Apr 22 • $90 • 12 contact hours
North Carolina is home to an amazing diversity of plants, including some of the ‘most wonderful plants in the world,’ according to Charles Darwin. Join the Museum and the NC Botanical Garden to discover and learn about our wonderful insect-eating plants and the habitats in which they thrive.

Spring in the Mountains
Great Smoky Mountains National Park • Fri, Apr 27 – Sun, Apr 29 • $90 • 20 contact hours
Participate in ongoing research projects studying the impacts of air quality and climate change and bring home ideas to teach about our interdependence with the natural world.

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Laser and Fiber Optics Educator Workshop

Register for a free Laser and Fiber Optics Educator Workshop on March 24th from 9 am-noon. Attendees will learn how to use lasers in the classroom to engage students and introduce them to careers in the emerging field of fiber optics. All workshop participants receive a free “Light and Optics Exploration Kit” containing curriculum and the materials you will need to begin implementing new ideas into your instruction. Feel free to share this opportunity with your colleagues.

The workshop will be held at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) in Lillington from 9 am-noon followed by an optional tour of the laser labs from 12 – 1 pm. You can learn more on the attached flyer.

Location: Central Carolina Community College

1075 E Cornelius Harnett Blvd,
Lillington, NC 27546

Please complete the google form below to register for the Laser workshop. You will receive and email asking you to confirm your attendance 2 weeks prior to the event.

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FEB 2-4: BirdSleuth Educator Workshop: Partnership with Cornell Lab of Ornithology


For only $50 you can attend this exclusive workshop presented by the leaders in bird education at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. We will practice teaching skills, participate in powerful citizen science projects, engage in discussion, and brainstorm methods for successful implementation, all while living and learning inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The workshop will focus on inspiring teachers to observe and document birds and their behavior with their students.

Limit 3 teachers per school. Best for grades 5th - 12th.

FEB 16-18: Achieving Science Literacy in the Classroom (STEM) – Air Quality & Climate Change


For only $75 spend the weekend immersed in the Smokies as you learn how to expand your teacher's "toolkit". Experiential education is a perfect way to achieve deep understanding of complex scientific concepts. Topics covered include: science literacy, citizen science, asking better scientific questions, conducting deeper investigations, data analysis and communicating findings.

Limit 2 teachers per school. Best for grades 4th - 12th.

Questions? Please contact Tremont directly at 865-448-6709 or mail@gsmit.org

Visit the Tremont website for more information on how to register. http://gsmit.org/event/stem-workshop-2018/

Science Opportunities for Students

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Region 3A Science and Engineering Fair

The NC Region 3A Science and Engineering Fair will be held Saturday, February 10th at Hillside High School in Durham. The NC Region 3A fair serves students from Durham, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Nash, Vance, Wake, Warren and Wilson County. Information about the fair, a map, the schedule and FAQ is available here http://ncsciencefair.org/region3a/

Are there students from your school who should attend?

North Carolina students in grades 3 - 12 who participate in local science fairs and are judged winners in particular categories* are eligible to compete in the regional fair. Regional fairs offer students a variety of awards and prizes. In addition regional fair winners qualify to advance to the statewide fair to be held March 24, 2018 in Raleigh.

Schools that do not host a local fair can nominate a limited number of students to represent their schools at the Region 3A fair. Student registration is completed online at https://ncsefreg3a.stemwizard.com/ The registration fee is $30. The last day to register is January 26, 2018.

We hope your school will be represented at the 2018 fair.

Barrington Ross, Director NC Region 3A

Email: ncregion3a@gmail.com

Recognition and Fellowship Opportunities for Science Teachers!

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Announcing the 2018 Energy Literacy Fellows Program

A year-long teacher professional development program for grades 8-12 science and technology teachers in NC's Duke Energy service territories. Eligible teachers must teach in schools located in either the Duke Energy Progress or Duke Energy Carolinas service territory. To see if your school is eligible click here and select the state of North Carolina from the top left corner of the website to proceed.

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. Programming includes field trips to a variety of energy production and energy research facilities including UNC’s co-generation plant, Amazon Wind Farm US East, and a utility scale solar farm.

Receive numerous benefits including:

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

· over $250 worth of instructional materials to support hands-on STEM investigations including a class set (30) of Energy Infobooks from NEED, a wind turbine design kit and a solar energy kit from Vernier

· opportunity to read and discuss the books Living on the Grid and The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future

· access to a peer learning network that will include 2017 Energy Literacy Fellows

· certificate of completion at conclusion of program documenting total contact hours

· credit towards the NC EE Certification Program

· scholarship opportunity to attend the UNC CLEAN TECH Summit in March 2018

Click here to access the online application

All applications must be completed before 9AM on Monday, January 22nd , 2018; teachers selected to participate in this program will be notified via email on or before February 1st​, 2018. Upon notification of acceptance, teachers will be asked to submit a $100 deposit to reserve their spot in the program. The deposit check will not be deposited unless you cancel without a suitable replacement; it would then be considered a tax-deductible gift to the Institute for the Environment. This deposit check will be returned to you at the end of the summer institute on July 12, 2018 after successful completion of both the weekend retreat and the summer institute.

This program is sponsored by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Institute for the Environment with funding provided by the Duke Energy Foundation.

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Kenan Fellows 2018-2019 applications open in December

The Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership will begin accepting online applications for its 2018-19 Fellowship year on Dec. 1. Please continue to check their website often as new fellowships are being updated regularly. These exclusive 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 and high-tech manufacturing industries.

View the Fellowships available this upcoming cycle.

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.

Founded in 2000, the Kenan Fellows Program for Teacher Leadership addresses the critical need for high-quality professional development for educators, and is the largest (science, technology, engineering and math) STEM-focused teacher leadership program in North Carolina.

Approximately 50 outstanding K–12 teachers from across the state are selected annually for this year-long program.

NCCAT's Honored Educator Scholarship (HES) program pays tribute to outstanding educators and individuals by providing scholarship funds in their names. Scholarship funds can be named in honor of classroom teachers, coaches, administrators, school board members, or community volunteers--anyone whose teaching or influence in public education has made a positive difference in the lives of others. Each fully endowed scholarship is awarded annually to a North Carolina teacher based on criteria determined by the scholarship benefactor.

You can apply for one of several Honored Educator Scholarships!

Scholarship funds provide:

  • instruction and program materials;
  • substitute teacher reimbursement;
  • teacher travel (excluding expenses for hotel stays while traveling);
  • lodging and meals provided on the NCCAT campus; and,
  • $250 for use in the classroom.

You do not need to be enrolled in an NCCAT program in order to apply for a scholarship. However, you will need to enroll and attend a program between July 2018 and June 2019.

The application process opened for the 2018-2019 year on January 1st and will close April 30th. Scholarship recipients will be notified by May 31st.

Click here for the Honored Educator Scholarship Application page.

If you are interested in creating a new scholarship honoring an outstanding educator, contact Dorcas Masson in the Development Foundation of NCCAT, Inc. at 828-293-5202 or dorcas.masson@nccat.org.
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Apply Now for Teacher and Student Awards

Applications are now being accepted for teacher and student awards. Applications are due March 1, 2018.

President's Environmental Youth Award (PEYA) (http://go.usa.gov/3u7XB):

The PEYA program recognizes outstanding environmental projects by K-12 youth. Each year the PEYA program honors a wide variety of projects developed by young individuals, school classes (kindergarten through high school), summer camps, public interest groups, and youth organizations to promote environmental awareness. Recent award-winning student projects included forming recycling programs for pencils and books, starting an environmental news YouTube channel, and creating a better method to protect migratory birds from airplanes.

Projects need an adult sponsor. Talk to your students today about submitting their work.

Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators (PIAEE) (http://go.usa.gov/3u7XQ):

The PIAEE program recognizes outstanding K-12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students.

PIAEE’s winners will be awarded up to $2,500 to be used to further their professional development in environmental education. The teacher's local education agency will also receive up to $2,500 to fund environmental education activities and programs.

Contact PEYA@epa.gov or PIAEE@epa.gov for questions.

Been recognized for something? Let me know, so we can celebrate your professional achievements!

Grants & Goodies

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Looking for summer employment? GSK Science in the Summer Program

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is hiring North Carolina certified teachers as summer science educators for the GSK Science in the Summer Program.

Application information including required documents and dates are provided at the following link ( http://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/133336) OR (http://sis.moreheadplanetarium.org/sis/employment).

The deadline is February 9, 2018. Applicants should not wait until the last minute due to our online application process. Principals or assistant principals also MUST complete an online recommendation form. The link for this form can be found within the above links. Please be sure to carefully read the instructions particularly regarding the recommendation section.

We need to fill up to 40 positions for 10 surrounding counties (Alamance, Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Harnett, Johnston, Orange, Vance, and Wake) with their respective North Carolina certified teachers. Please share with your colleagues and others. For questions, please contact the Science Programs Outreach Manager, Glenda Hairston.

STEM Partnerships with NC Science Festival

Middle school classrooms can bring in a STEM expert to introduce students to new STEM careers and engage them through a hands-on activity as part of our Novozymes SciMatch program. Apply now so we can make a perfect match!

High school teachers of any subject are invited to bring our Science Spotlight into their classes anytime this fall or spring. Your students will engage in critical thinking and discussions of a key issue with science and policy implications. You’ll also have the opportunity to bring a STEM expert into your classroom (in person or virtually) to take the discussion to the next level with you students. Apply now to share this great program with your students!

Summer PD Opportunities for Teachers

2018 Sustainable Forestry Teachers Experience

Registration for the 2018 Sustainable Forestry Teachers Experience is now open. Each year the North Carolina Forestry Association and its partners, deliver multi-day residential programs designed to educate participants about the field of forestry and the wood products industry- through presentations, tours and hands on lesson plans. For nearly two decades the Sustainable Forestry Teachers Experience has given educators the tools to transfer knowledge of the importance of our state’s resources to their students.

Participants pay a registration fee of $50.00. NCFA and partners will pay for your food, lodging, transportation between tours, and materials. Educators will receive credit hours (CEUs and/or EE Certification Hours) for attending.

Space is limited to 40 participants per workshop. Preference will be given to science educators and individuals who have not participated in an experience in previous years. For more information and to apply: https://www.ncforestry.org/teachers/sfi-sustainable-forestry-cee-experience-for-teachers/

Dates for the workshops are :

Piedmont: Southern Pines, North Carolina June 18-21, 2018

Coastal Plains: New Bern, North Carolina June 25-28, 2018

Mountains: Asheville, North Carolina July 23-26, 2018

Modeling Institutes in Secondary Science-- PRIORITY FOR DPS SCIENCE TEACHERS

Grade Level(s): High School Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science, & Middle School Science
Date(s): 2018 Summer Modeling Institutes
Location: North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
Cost: Supported by a Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP) grant from the US Department of Education and the NC Department of Public Instruction

Description: Modeling Institutes provide professional development in secondary science through a research-based, reform-oriented pedagogy called Modeling Instruction for science teachers in North Carolina. To learn more about Modeling Instruction please visit the American Modeling Teachers Association.

2018 Summer Modeling Courses:

  • Modeling Chemistry - June 18 - 29, 2018 (excludes weekend dates)
  • Modeling Physics: Electricity & Magnetism - July 9 - 27, 2018 (excludes weekend dates)
  • Modeling Middle School Science - July 16 - 27, 2018 (excludes weekend dates)

For more information: https://sciencehouse.ncsu.edu/programs/modeling/

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Drawers, Jars and Databases: Teaching the Hidden Science of Natural History Museums

July 9-11, 2018

Join the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, iDigBio (Integrated Digitized Biocollections), and the MicroFungi project to answer these questions and more. Discover the work of collections research on a field trip to Prairie Ridge Ecostation and the Museum’s Research Lab. Get behind the scenes with visits to research collections at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and North Carolina State University. Participate in hands-on activities that utilize collections, digitization, and collections data, and develop new ways to incorporate collections-based educational resources into your classroom!

Fee: Free. Breakfast and lunch will be provided all three days, and participants traveling 50 miles or more from home are eligible for lodging, mileage, and a stipend to cover meals that are not provided.

Requirements: For educators. This workshop is designed for high school biology and earth/environmental science teachers, but other educators who would like to adapt content are welcome to apply.

Credit: 24 contact hours toward CEUs or Criteria II/III for North Carolina’s Environmental Education Certification Program.

Application: This workshop is being offered in collaboration with iDigBio. Please visit iDigBio’s website for an application - https://www.idigbio.org/content/drawers-jars-and-databases-teaching-hidden-science-natural-history-museums

Applications due March 12, 2018!




New England Institute

Appledore Island, ME and White Mountains, NH

June 20-28, 2018

Participants will experience the rocky New England coast and the high peaks of New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Educators will spend five days at Shoals Marine Laboratory (Appledore Island, ME) and three days hiking between Mt. Washington Observatory and AMC Highland Center at Crawford Notch (White Mountains, NH). The daily program will include practical field experiences, basic local natural history, and easily duplicated techniques for teaching natural sciences. During the trip, participants will provide daily updates to students in North Carolina via a blog. This program is designed to give educators a direct experience with environments and concepts that are part of the classroom curriculum including developing a deeper understanding of the impacts of climate change. Participants will have the opportunity to engage in ongoing scientific research and citizen science projects.

Tropical Ecology Institute

Belize, Central America

July 24-August 1, 2018

Participants will experience several tropical habitats including coral reefs, mangrove swamps, and rain forests. The daily program will include practical field experiences, basic local natural history, and easily duplicated techniques for teaching natural sciences. During the trip, participants will provide daily updates to students in North Carolina via a blog. 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.

More information and application at: http://naturalsciences.org/learn/educators-of-excellence-institutes

Thinking of Graduate School?

Western Carolina University is pleased to announce our new STEM Education Graduate Track in Elementary and Middle Grades Education as part of the M.A.Ed. Comprehensive Education Degree Program

Are you an elementary or middle grades teacher who is interested in improving your STEM teaching? Would you like to develop as a STEM education leader?


1. Understand STEM education and the broad landscape view of STEM in society.

2. Effectively design, implement, and evaluate a real-world, problem-based, integrated learning approach to STEM fields (incorporating engineering, scientific inquiry, mathematics application, and technology).

3. Effectively plan, teach, and evaluate engineering in elementary and middle grades classrooms.

4. Effectively use a range of technology tools and processes that support STEM education in elementary and middle grades classrooms.

5. Productively collaborate with STEM-related community agencies and businesses to help elementary and middle grades students solve problems.

6. Advocate in schools, districts, and beyond for STEM education for all students.


· 100% online

· 30 credit hours that can be completed in as little as two years

· Affordable tuition with scholarships available

· Start any semester (spring, summer, or fall)

· Our programs are accredited through NCATE/CAEP.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Dr. Patricia Bricker, bricker@email.wcu.edu, 828-227-3352

This program is for teachers who already have an "A" level elementary or middle grades education teaching license. Additional M.A.Ed. Comprehensive Education programs include Elementary Literacy & AIG, Middle Grades Language Arts & Math, Special Education, English, Biology, & Social Sciences.


Science in the News

The Parasite on the Playground


Roundworm eggs, shed by stray dogs, can be ingested by children playing outside. The worm’s larvae have been found in the brain, experts say, perhaps impairing development.

Magnetic Secrets of Mysterious Radio Bursts in a Faraway Galaxy


Black holes or neutron stars behaving wildly are the likely suspects of a repetitious burst of cosmic energy 3 billion light years away, astronomers say.

Climate Change Is Altering Lakes and Streams, Study Suggests


Like the ocean, fresh water absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But the effects are likely to vary widely from place to place.

Dolphins Show Self-Recognition Earlier Than Children


Dolphins develop the ability to recognize themselves in a mirror at an earlier age than children, which fits with how fast they develop generally.

The Squid That Sink to the Ocean’s Floor When They Die


Some squid sink to the ocean floor when they die, researchers found, and they may take a lot of carbon down there with them.

That Recent Brutally Cold Weather? It’s Getting Rarer


With climate change warming the Arctic air, researchers say, cold snaps are getting warmer. The recent spell of cold was an outlier.

Still Not Convinced You Need a Flu Shot? First, It’s Not All About You


Adults also need to get vaccinated to provide herd immunity for others, especially babies and older people.

Durham Regional B/C Science Olympiad Tournament

The Durham Regional B/C Science Olympiad Tournament is on March 3 at Riverside High School. You can find more information about this tournament here: https://ncsodurhamregional.weebly.com/

Please make sure your school is registered if you have a team! We are quickly running out of spaces for teams. https://www.sciencenc.com/tournament-registration.php

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NC BioNetwork brings guest speakers and lab activities to your school for FREE. Get more information here: http://www.ncbionetwork.org/educational-resources/activities