DPS Secondary Science News

January 11-15, 2016

This week...

Hope you had a chance to enjoy the sunshine yesterday! It was spectacular to be able to get outside and feel the warmth of the sun.

January marks the beginning of a yearlong centennial celebration of the National Park Service. As part of this initiative, there are a number of associated activities all targeted at getting more of us to take full advantage of our National Parks. This week, Jordan chemistry teacher Kevin Lloyd and I will be traveling to Yellowstone National Park as part of an Educators of Excellence workshop with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. We will be cold, but thrilled to be learning about the biota and geology of Yellowstone. Look for our blog updates at: https://yellowstoneinwinter.wordpress.com/

Congratulations to Lori Khan (Middle College High) and Becky Burns (Githens Middle School) who each received an INGITE the Power of STEM grant from Biogen!

This week: I will be assisting with End of Course testing, meeting with the secondary counselors, and visiting schools (Northern and Lowe's Grove). We will have our middle school open houses for the Secondary Science Resource Adoption on Tuesday and Wednesday, 3-5 p.m. at Githens Middle School. I will be participating in the NC Museum of Natural Sciences Yellowstone in Winter workshop Thursday and Friday.

Upcoming Events

  • January 12, 3-5: Middle School Resource Review Open House, Githens, Room B-8.
  • January 13, 3-5: Middle School Resource Review Open House, Githens, Room B-8.
  • January 21, 3-5: Biology Resource Review Open House, Riverside High School, room 124.
  • January 26, 8:30-4 8th Grade Hydrology Kit Unpacking
  • January 26, 3-5: Earth/Env and Electives Open House, Riverside High School, room 124.
  • January 27, Early Release Day Workshop: A Hands-on Exploration of Mammalian Evolution, presented by Dr. John Willis, Duke University, 2-4 p.m., Githens Middle School, room A-7. Sign up in True North Logic.
  • January 27, Early Release Day Workshop: Investigating Stormwater, presented by Dana Haine, UNC-CH, 2-4:30 p.m., DSA, room T 199. Sign up in True North Logic.

  • January 28, 3-5: Chem, Phys Sci, Physics Open House, Riverside High School, room 124.
  • February 2, 4-5: Secondary Science Resource Review Committee Meeting (to share feedback/reach consensus about top 2), Riverside High School, room 124.
  • February 4, 4-5: Mastering... Technology Resources for AP Sciences: Biology, Earth Environmental, and Chemistry, SDC. Sign up in True North Logic.
  • February 9, 4-5:30: Secondary Science Chair Meeting.
  • February 13, Region 3A Science and Engineering Fair, Hillside High School
  • February 16, 4-5:30: Presentation(s) by publishers (as necessary)
  • March 1, 4-5:30: Textbook Committee meeting (selection)

Quick News

  • Science teachers are invited to participate in one of two optional workshops to be led by scientists on the afternoon of Wednesday, January 27. These sessions may be of particular interest to teachers of 8th Grade Science, Earth-Environmental Science, and Biology.

    A Hands-on Exploration of Mammalian Evolution

    presented by Dr. John Willis, Duke University

    2-4 p.m., Githens Middle School, room A-7

    Investigating Stormwater

    presented by Dana Haine, UNC-CH

    2-4:30 p.m., DSA, room T 199

  • The Secondary Science Resource Review is in full gear this month. Plan to attend an open house to take a closer look at the options. This is your opportunity to provide direct feedback about the materials you would like to have in your classrooms next year! All high school materials will be available at each open house session, so if you can't come to your subject specific one (or if you teach more than one subject), just pick one session to attend from the list below. Both middle school fairs will include all materials for middle school.
  1. January 12, 3-5: Middle School Resource Review Open House, Githens, room B-8.
  2. January 13, 3-5: Middle School Resource Review Open House, Githens, room B-8.
  3. January 21, 3-5: Biology Resource Review Open House, Riverside High School, room 124.
  4. January 26, 3-5: Earth/Env and Electives Open House, Riverside High School, room 124.
  5. January 28, 3-5: Chem, Phys Sci, Physics Open House, Riverside High School, room 124.

  • Want to help with Science Fair? The Region 3 Science and Engineering Fair is looking for a few good judges! We need YOUR help to judge elementary, junior and senior projects from Durham, Granville, Wake, Vance, Warren, Johnston, Wilson, Nash, Edgecombe, Halifax, Northampton, and Franklin counties. The Region 3A Science & Engineering Fair will be held Saturday, February 13, 2016 at Hillside High School in Durham and judges are needed from 8 am to 1 pm. If you are available to help out with this exciting event please visit sign up today!


  • GIZMOS! Explore Learning is offering an opportunity to our District secondary math and science teachers. I will be in touch with those of you who have applied for this opportunity to announce the details of this exciting project.

DPS Science Teachers Share

Jackie Gibbs at Carrington Middle School shares this exciting opportunity:

REAL WORLD SCIENCE—YESTERDAY, TODAY, AND TOMORROW: How Necessity Creates Innovation in Science and Technology The National WWII Museum is hosting a week-long professional development opportunity in summer 2016 for middle school science teachers (defined as 5th-8th grade). Teachers will receive free room and board in New Orleans, a travel stipend, and all seminar materials free of charge. More information at this link!: http://www.nationalww2museum.org/learn/education/for-teachers/summer-teacher-seminar.html

Summer Science for Teachers

Applications are DUE TODAY for summer 2016 participation in 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 to be involved in research.

Kenan fellowships for 2016-17 are DUE JANUARY 18! 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!

Looking for some great PD this summer? BioNetwork is offering several sessions (Biotechnology, Marine and Environmental Science, Forensics, Middle School Biotechnology) for teachers at low/no cost. You get materials to take back to school as well. Housing reimbursement is available for some sessions. Find the details at:http://www.ncbionetwork.org/educational-resources/professional-development. Register soon-- these classes fill quickly!

Summer Science for Students

The 2016 Environmental Science Summer Program at Duke is now accepting applications. Please share this opportunity with rising Sophomores and Juniors in the Triangle Area. Please share this link with students: sites.nicholas.duke.edu/essp

Two high school seniors have the opportunity of a lifetime - participation in the National Youth Science Camp (NYSC). Please encourage your students to consider applying for this program. The deadline is February 17, 2016.

The students receive a full scholarship to exchange ideas with scientists and other professionals from the academic and corporate worlds. The nearly month-long experience includes lectures and hands-on research projects presented by scientists from across the nation; overnight expeditions into a national forest; and a visit to Washington D.C. The selected delegates must not only demonstrate academic achievement in science, but also show potential for thoughtful scientific leadership.

The NYSC experience is offered at no cost to its participants so that selected delegates may attend regardless of their financial status. Educational and recreational programming, as well as meals, lodging, and round-trip air passage on scheduled airlines are provided free of charge.

Delegates arrive in Charleston, West Virginia, on June 15, 2016 and depart on July 10, 2016. The NYSC is held near Bartow in the eastern mountains of West Virginia, within the Monongahela National Forest. Application forms are available on the NYSC website http://apply.nysc.org. Applications must be submitted by February 17, 2016.


Lisa Rhoades at 919-991-5111 or lrhoades@bwfund.org

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 high school students to be involved in research. APPLICATIONS ARE DUE JANUARY 11!

Science Resources

As part of our science resource review, we have a FREE Trial of Discovery Education Science Techbook! Check it out and let me know what you think!


User name: ncstbteacher

Password: discovery

The Emmy-winning television series, Into the Outdoors consists of 30 minute episodes where student hosts take viewers on journeys to discover science, technology, history, and conservation topics that they oftentimes would not be exposed to anywhere else. Our website holds much more. Every episode is broken up into four, STEM-based "Serious Science" videos that can downloaded in high definition and be used in the classroom. Each video has at least one companion lesson guide and many videos have lesson activities for all grade levels. Each lesson is aligned to NGSS, Common Core, and state standards.

Drivers, on your mark … The NC Gravity Games returns to downtown Lenoir on Saturday, April 23. Brought to you by Google and Appalachian State University, the NC Gravity Games features a gravity-powered race and science street fair designed to get young people revved up about STEM. In addition to traditional soap-box derby kit division, where students race pre-manufactured cars they’ve assembled and refined, the Gravity Games also features the scratch-made engineering division for teams to get creative with their designs. A great experience for your students, the Games promote teamwork, engineering problem solving and hands-on learning.

The NC Science Festival is now recruiting school, after school and club teams to represent the Triangle at the Games! If you would like more information, including details on our race sponsorship program, which includes a travel stipend and engineering professional mentorship, please contact Marissa Hartzler, Statewide Programs Coordinator at hartzler@unc.edu or 919-962-3274.

The Science Writing Resources for Learning (ScWRL, scwrl.ubc.ca) project has developed resources that help students learn – and help educators teach – the most important skills associated with good science writing. Since the onset of the project in 2012, we have focused on developing these freely available resources to address the skills that students find especially difficult to master, based on student feedback and rigorous assessment of scientific written work. We currently have over 100 of these resources, which take the form of study guides, quick quizzes, videos, podcasts, lesson plans, activities, and assignments. For educators, we also provide rubrics and sample solutions to activities and assignments.

Attention Teachers! We've extended the deadline for the Durham Soil and Water Conservation District contests to January 28, 2016. The Soil and Water Conservation District’s Deadline for the Annual Conservation Contests for Poster, Essay, Public Speaking, Slide Show and Computer Designed Poster has been extended to make sure that all Durham County students have an opportunity to participate. Find out more about the different contests at http://dconc.gov/home/showdocument?id=13179. Please contact us at 919-560-0558 to learn more about each contest and for official rules and registration forms.

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.

School Year PD for Science Teachers

Project Based Learning Fellowship The Museum of Natural Sciences and Exploris School are partnering on an exciting new program! Join a cohort of dynamic and innovative teachers of grades 4, 6, and 8 to implement Project Based Learning (PBL) in your classroom. Beginning with an immersive outdoor experience in a bottomland swamp, and followed by training and mentorship in PBL by experienced educators, PBL Fellows will develop an issues-based case study (integrated thematic unit) that applies best practices of PBL to the standards that you teach. Throughout the 2016-2017 school year, PBL Fellows will work closely with colleagues and mentors to bring a current North Carolina issue to life in their classrooms.

Friday-Saturday, May 6-7, 2016: Secrets of the Swamp overnight field experience
Tuesday, July 19, 2016, 9 am-3 pm: Dive into PBL workshop
Friday, September 9, 2016, 5:30-8:30 pm: Mentoring meeting
Thursday, November 3, 3016, 5:30-8:30 pm: Mentoring meeting
Thursday, January 5, 2017, 5:30-8:30 pm: Mentoring meeting
Friday, March 3, 2017, 5-9pm: Capstone presentations at the Museum

Fee: $300, due upon acceptance into the program
Qualifications: Applicants should plan to teach 4th, 6th, or 8th during the 2016-17 school year. In order to be considered for selection, applicants must commit to attend ALL meetings.

Applications and recommendations are due Friday, February 26, 2017. Email Melissa Dowland (melissa.dowland@naturalsciences.org) for an application.

More information at:


Teachers will learn about Mars exploration and NASA resources they can use to excite and engage students. Each participant will receive free NASA materials and handouts. Presented by NASA Solar System Master Teacher/Ambassador Ken Brandt. This workshop is being provided at no cost to educators, but a $10 refundable deposit and pre-registration is required! Please fill out and return the Registration Form by Friday, January 22nd. Checks should be made out to: Friends of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Deposits will be returned after you complete the training.

Date: Saturday, January 30

Time: 10:00am (workshop lasts approximately 3 hours)

Audience: Teachers in grades 6-12

Location: NC Museum of Natural Sciences

Fee: $10 refundable deposit

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.

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).


Renew your passion for teaching while gaining information, ideas, and insights to take back to your classroom by joining the Museum of Natural Sciences for an educator workshop! 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. To register for Educator Treks, please fill out and mail a registration form and deposit. The registration form can be found on this website!


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!

Science in the News


The state recorded two of its largest earthquakes in years, fueling concern that burying oil and gas wastes in seismically active areas is courting danger.


Some simple changes in ancient organisms might have given rise to a world of multicellular animals.


Element 113 is credited to scientists from the Riken institute in Japan, who will bestow an official name more than 12 years after they began their efforts.


An insight into the peopling of Europe has emerged from an unlikely source — the stomach contents of a 5,300-year-old body pulled from a thawing glacier.


During Arctic winters, zooplankton migrate from the surface when they moon is full, a study found.


The animal has an apparatus that can shoot to about two and a half body lengths, accelerating at about 8,500 feet per second per second.