DPS Secondary Science News

October, 2016

Fall is here...

I was learning to use our District Starlab with 6th graders at Carrington on Friday and it's got me thinking about seasonal changes-- the shortening daylight hours, cooler weather, and the upcoming fall colors. Can't help but feel science is the absolutely coolest subject to teach-- who has better props than a science teacher? We get the whole universe!

Thanks to a grant from Biogen to support our kit implementation in Middle Schools, I'm welcoming science coaches Sam Fuerst and Terri Ray to the team this week! I'm very glad to have their experience and expertise to support science instruction in our schools. Please help me make them feel welcome!

Also, take a look (below) at the Out of the Box Day Early Release Day Sessions for secondary science-- there are lots of choices! There's a particularly exciting session at the Duke Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility, which is opening its doors to partnering with DPS science teachers. Registration for this session will close early, so passes can be secured, so register early!

Currently scheduled visits:

Week of October 3: Shepard, Lakewood, Brogden, Githens, Northern, Southern, Kit Unpacking 8th Grade @ the Frontier

Week of October 10: DSA, Riverside, Northern, Rogers Herr, Southern, SCS, Lucas, Triangle High Five, Kit Unpacking 7th Grade @SDC, Science Chair Meetings

Week of October 17: Hillside, Hillside NT, Early College, Northern, Southern, Out of the Box, CMA, DPI Science Supervisor's Meeting, IF Meeting

Week of October 24: Jordan, Lakeview, PLC, Lucas, Bridging the Gap Conference Presentation, Rogers-Herr

Upcoming Events

  • October 6 8:30-3:30 @The Frontier; NC Life Science Kit Unpacking for 8th grade Science Teachers
  • October 10, Middle School Science Chairs, SDC 3-4 p.m.
  • October 11, E-meeting, High School Science Chairs, 8:00 a.m. Details will be sent to chairs.
  • October 13 8:30-3:30 @SDC: Cells and Systems Kit Unpacking for 7th grade Science Teachers
  • October 19, Early Release Day Optional Sessions- sign up in TNL
    • GIZMOS for the Science Classroom @ 2:30-5:30 If you are in this project, you are expected to attend. LOOKING FOR A HOST LOCATION...
    • AP Science PLC @ DSA 2:30-4:30
    • Labs and Lessons for Physical Science @ Riverside 2:30-4:30 Physics teachers are also welcome to participate.
    • Learning Tour of the Shared Materials Instrumentation Facility (SMIF) @Duke Pratt School of Engineering fabulous opportunity for chemistry, physical science, and biology (and middle school!)
    • Using the Electronic Resources of the iScience Textbooks for Middle School @Carrington 2:30-4:30
    • Anchor Charts for Secondary Science @ Neal 2:30-4:30
    • Energy and Waves Kit Unpacking for 6th Grade Science Teachers @Carrington 2:30-4:30 All teachers new to DPS in 6th grade science are expected to attend
    • Using Study Island in the EOC Courses (Biology, Math 1, English 2) by webinar
  • October 20-21, NCSTA Annual PD Institute (Greensboro)
  • October 25-26, Bridging the Gap in STEM (Raleigh)

Quick News

  • Congratulations to the team at Lowe's Grove Middle School. Lowe's Grove is now a Certified National Wildlife Habitat School! Drop by and check out the free range chickens and the creek restoration project!

  • Did you know Durham Public Schools has a StarLab? Interested in learning more about bringing this to your school? Drop me an email and we'll talk!

  • Good news, Middle School Science Teachers! We've heard you! Our electronic resources for the McGraw Hill Science are going to be available for each student and each teacher. One way to learn more is to join us for our session on the Out of the Box Early Release Day.

DPS Science Teachers and Partners Share

If you are looking for peer feedback on your teaching, check this out! Lori Khan (Middle College High) shares this fabulous idea to encourage effective and directed feedback. Take the #ObserveMe challenge by asking other teachers to help you improve your practice: http://robertkaplinsky.com/observeme/

The NC Museum of Natural Sciences is building its Educator Forum, which will meet 2-3 times per year to provide input and feedback to the Museum. We hope you’ll consider applying to be a part of this important group for 2017-18!

Applications due November 1

Would you like to learn about all the Museum has to offer? Do you have ideas on how the Museum can better serve educators? Apply to join the Educator Forum for the opportunity to deepen your involvement with the Museum. The Educator Forum will meet 4 times between January 2017 – June 2018, and members have the opportunity to earn a $50 credit towards participation in an Educator Trek and two free tickets to our next special exhibition! http://naturalsciences.org/calendar/event/educator-forum/

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

As you may or may not be aware our district currently subscribes to Discovery Education Streaming, a comprehensive digital curriculum resource. Discovery Education has recently added new resources and content for Back-to-School, specifically designed to support instruction and make navigating the site easier. You can find the resource at http://de.dpsnc.net.

Fall 2016 Updates from Discovery Education:

· Content Collections: These custom curations of content provide digital resources, Lesson Starters and Instructional Strategies (SOS), banded by grade level, based on the most highly searched keywords within Discovery Education

· Current Events: Published every Wednesday, Global Wrap is a four-minute current events series intended for and narrated by students! Introduce a global context into your instruction by illustrating real-world connections. Brand new for this year is Global Stories, which is catered to the K-5 grade levels.

· Board Builder : Our Most Popular Feature! This tool allows students to showcase their critical thinking skills through a multi-media digital poster board. Teachers can create and share boards to engage students and support classroom instruction. To get started, review our suggested 50 ways to use Board Builder (Each idea also links directly to a completed board example of that topic)

"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

The Fitzpatrick Institute for Photonics is hosting a community Open House on Saturday, October 9 “Introduce a Girl to Photonics” at Duke University, Sunday October 9, 2016, 1-4pm. The event, organized in conjunction with IEEE’s International “Introduce a Girl to Photonics” Week, will feature hands-on activities, giveaways and tours to introduce kids (and grownups) to the exciting possibilities of light-based technologies. Demonstrations will range from cell phone microscopes to 3D printers to technology that can power cars with light.

You’re invited!

The Department of Computer Science at UNC Chapel Hill invites classes, groups, and individuals to attend our Middle School/High School Open House.

1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 15

Register to attend - spaces are limited!

The Department of Computer Science at UNC is hosting an open house for middle and high school students on October 15. Students will have the chance to participate in hands-on demonstrations, visit research labs to find out what computing is all about, and talk with current students about why they chose Computer Science at Carolina. Join us to experience the exciting world of computer science!

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

The NC International Science Challenge (NCISC) is a yearly North Carolina science competition for high school students. The selected students travel to Beijing, China to present their science research projects at the Beijing Youth Science Creation Competition the third week of March. The competition requires students to undertake a research project, write an abstract explaining their research problem and present their research to a panel of scientists and engineers. The students selected spend a week in Beijing presenting their research, meeting students from other countries, and experiencing various cultural and scientific events. The NCISC is offered jointly by the North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology Education Center (SMT Center) and the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

More information is available at http://ncsmt.org/competitions/ncisc/. If you are interested in applying, be sure to review the components of a successful paper and the scoring rubric http://ncsmt.org/competitions/ncisc/components-of-successful-ncisc-research-projects/ and http://ncsmt.org/competitions/ncisc/components-of-successful-ncisc-research-projects/#prettyPhoto/0/

Science Resources

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

Cape Lookout Educator Adventure

October 28-29, 2016
9am – 5pm (both days)

Registration Deadline: Oct 21

Join rangers from Cape Lookout National Seashore for a two-day workshop exploring program opportunities and resources along Cape Lookout National Seashore!

Classroom teachers will roll-up their pant legs and explore the tidal flats and beaches at the base of the Cape Lookout lighthouse, and get a taste of the types of explorations and programs they can lead. After lunch, we will turn our attention to the history, preservation, and function of the lighthouse. Day two will provide teachers with more information about how to schedule and plan trips to Cape Lookout, exploring the Harker’s Island Visitor Center, and participating in a Project Learning Tree professional development workshop. Lunch on both days, and transportation to Cape Lookout is provided. Teachers will be provided with resources to help incorporate what they have learned into their classroom, including sample activities and supplemental resources.

Space is limited! Only 24 teachers will be able to participate in this unique program. In addition to the resources listed above, each teacher will receive a $325 stipend (pending submission of all paperwork to NC State University) to off-set the costs of mileage, substitute teachers, overnight lodging if needed, and meals not provided during the two-day workshop. Participants needing overnight accommodations are responsible for making their own arrangements. To register, please submit your application at http://go.ncsu.edu/CALO

Citizen Science for the Classroom

STEM Series: Air Quality and Climate Change

October 14-16, 2016 at Tremont Institute

Citizen Science is a perfect way to bring the scientific method and the art of ‘knowing’ into the classroom. Participate in several hands-on projects developed to monitor resources in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Learn how you can easily adapt the tool of citizen science to teach your students how to

  • ask better scientific questions,
  • conduct deeper investigations,
  • creatively analyze datasets,
  • communicate their findings to their peers and
  • reflect on relevant applications related to the topic of air quality and climate change.

Meals, lodging and materials included.
Classroom teacher fee: $75.
(Limit 16 at the Educator rate - Standard rate is $304)
6 meals and 2 night lodging included with registration fee

Sign Up


Nature Research Center, Natural World Investigate Lab, Raleigh, NC

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

6–8 p.m.

Fee: $35 (includes insect resource manual, pinning board, butterfly display box, numerous exotic butterfly specimens)

CEUs: 2 contact hours

Prepare, pin and mount a variety of spectacular tropical butterflies. Learn the various techniques used to catch, preserve and mount these and other fascinating arthropods. Explore the possibilities of insect collecting in your backyard.

To register for Butterfly Pinning and Backyard Bug Collecting: Educator Trek Registration Form (PDF) – Complete, print and mail this form to register for Educator Treks. Once registered, you will receive a confirmation email and/or mailed receipt. Workshop details will be sent via email one to two weeks prior to the workshop.


Prairie Ridge Ecostation

Saturday, October 8, 2016

9:30AM-4:30PM (6.5 contact hours)

Fee: $25

CEUs: 6.5 contact hours

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. Cost provides a basic sampling kit, including a hand-held net, kick net, and feather forceps.

To register for Aquatic Insects 101: Please email Chris Goforth at chris.goforth@naturalsciences.org.

Science in the News

Forgotten story of the black women who helped land a man on the moon - newsela.com/articles/black-women-nasa-history/?utm_source=email&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=web

Houses in rich neighborhoods harbor more species of bugs.

You probably think you don't have that many bugs in your house. Maybe a couple of spiders and a moth here and there, but that's all, right? Not so! At this moment, you're likely hosting more than 100 SPECIES of arthropods in your home, ranging from flies and spiders to mites and lice. Not only that, but according to this study, homes in richer neighborhoods have even a higher diversity of bugs. The authors suggest that this correlation may be related to an increased diversity of vegetation i Read the full story

Fish Industry On the Hook for Rampant Mislabeling of Species

A new report identifies rampant fraud in the seafood industry Read the full story

Oklahoma Just Had Its Biggest Quake Ever, and There May Be More to Come

Oklahoma's recent string of earthquakes are something new for the state. Read the full story

Sugar Study Draws Attention to Food Industry’s Sour Secret

Food industries have long opened their wallets to snag a piece of the science pie Read the full story

Rethinking the Moon's Violent Origin

Our moon has a violent past that just got a little more fearsome. Planetary formation is not for the weak of heart. Building a planet from countless grains of dust and tendrils of gas is a violent process of colliding, coalescing, and melting into bigger and bigger rocks. Our Earth was a decently-sized world when it took one final hit: a Mars-sized object smashed into our home planet. We used to think this object, Theia, struck a glancing blow and was captured into Earth orbit as our n Read the full story

Caught Red-handed: Charon Is Stealing Pluto's Atmosphere

When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft sent back the first high-resolution images of Pluto and its moon Charon, scientists quickly realized the outer solar system was more active than they’d previously thought. The first images of Charon revealed a crimson north pole, covered in tholins — chemically complex, tar-like hydrocarbons that are produced when nitrogen and methane ices are exposed to radiation from the sun. Scientists nicknamed the dark area “Mordor” — the seat of evil in “Lord of t Read the full story

Chemicals In Drinking Water Prompt Inspections Of U.S. Military Bases

Synthetic chemicals have been found in Colorado water supplies. The Pentagon is examining hundreds of military sites for possible contamination by PFCs, which have been linked to health problems. Read the full story

How Mapmakers Make Mountains Rise Off the Page
National Geographic

Here are a few of the ways cartographers have created the illusion of depth on maps through the centuries. Read the full story

Opinion | The Shady History of Big Sugar
The New York Times

Manipulating nutrition research was just one of many sneaky tactics. Read the full story