Science and Technology's Semi-Regular Department Newsletter

December 11, 2015


What's happening in and around your classroom? Let everyone know!



Allison Bell has joined our science department in Grade 7 Life Science. She wasn't able to start the year with us in September because her last district just didn't want to let her go! Luckily for us she was able to start on Columbus day in Madison. With almost 2 months under her belt I thought it would be a good time to put her in the spotlight.

Welcome to Madison, how is it going?

I'm finding out that the Madison staff is filled with a wealth of talent and knowledge, and that all members are happy to help and collaborate. As a teacher new to the district, this has been critical for my success. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with my middle school colleagues as well as my discipline colleagues at the high school as we rewrite the 7th grade life science curriculum.

What do you do when you aren't thinking about all things science?

I've been trying to keep up with my hobbies with this new schedule, which are yoga, crossfit, and ultimate frisbee. Does wedding planning count as a hobby? We're wrapping up plans and details each weekend for our wedding in March.

What's happening in your classroom now?

In Science 7, we are currently finishing our Ecology unit by discussing interactions between populations and communities of organisms in an ecosystem. This will build towards the research project students will be conducting in January about environmental stewardship in biomes, countries, or oceans across the world.


Congratulations to the MHS Physics Team for placing in the top 6 out of 40 teams and making it to the semi-finals in the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Competition at New Providence High School on Wednesday December 9th! They put in a tremendous amount of effort and their outcome was certainly rewarding! Congrats guys!

The team will be moving on to the next competition in January. A big congratulations and thank you to everyone involved!

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The federal education law that will succeed NCLB has passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a margin of 369 to 64 on December 2nd and the U.S. Senate by a margin of 85 to 12 on December 9th. President Obama signed the bill into law on Thursday.

Pertinent parts of this legislation to STEM:

  • Math and Science Standards and Testing requirements are maintained
  • Engineering and Technology may be integrated into Science Assessment
  • Differential Pay for STEM educators is established

See a more complete listing of how this bill affects STEM here.

Education Week Article on the bill's passage in Congress.

Washington Post Article on how schools will be judged as compared to NCLB.

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Mike Heinz is the NJDOE Science Coordinator. For those of you who haven't seen Mike Heinz's Model Curriculum Google shared folder, you can find it here: Mike typically shares this link at his workshops, and it is a good idea to be familiar with what the state is putting out there in your content area. I have also included a link to this folder in our NGSS subfolder in the Madison Science and Technology Google Shared folder.

Want to know more? Sign up for one of Mike's workshops (info below).

NJDOE Workshops

Go to: for more information. If you would like to go to one of these workshops please get a travel authorization form from your building secretary, fill it out, and send it to me.

Translating the Biology Model Science Curriculum Framework into Local Curriculum

February 18: Trenton - Register by 2/4/16

Translating the Chemistry Model Science Curriculum Framework into Local Curriculum

January 4: Trenton – Register by 12/21/15

March 4: Trenton - Register by 2/19/16

Translating the Physics Model Science Curriculum Framework into Local Curriculum

February 12: Trenton – Register by 1/29/16

March 22: East Orange – Register by 3/8/16

Translating Capstone Earth & Space Sciences Model Science Curriculum Framework into Local Curriculum

March 1: Trenton - Register by 2/16/16

Translating Middle School Earth&Space Sciences Model Sci Curriculum Framework into Local Curriculum

January 13: Trenton – Register by 12/30/15

Translating Middle School Life Science Model Science Curriculum Framework into Local Curriculum

January 7: East Orange – Register by 12/23/16

January 15: Trenton – Register by 1/4/16

Translating Middle School Physical Science Model Science Curriculum Framework into Local Curriculum

January 27: Trenton – Register by 1/13/16

February 26: East Orange - Register by 2/12/16

Inheritance and Variation of Traits for teachers in grade 3

January 8: Trenton – Register by 12/28/15

January 12: East Orange – Register by 12/29/15

Interdependent Relationships; & Matter and Energy in Organisms and Ecosystems for Grades K, 2, 3, &5

February 9: East Orange - Register by 1/26/16

February 19: Trenton - Register by 2/5/16

Structure, Function and Information Processing for teachers in grades 1 and 4

March 2: East Orange - Register by 2/16/16

March 21: Trenton - Register by 3/7/16