DPS Secondary Science News

May, 2017

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

And, the good thing about teaching science is we get to share the surprise and wonder of natural phenomena as we explore the world around us. As we move into this season of testing, I think it's helpful to remember the joy-- the really cool stuff--the fun-- the reason why we found ourselves drawn to this incredibly challenging and yet rewarding profession.

I also want to, in this week of teacher appreciation, let each of you know how much I value the work that you do everyday-- especially the way you pitch in and support each other through very stressful days and moments. I couldn't be prouder of our secondary science team. Thanks for all your hard work-- and for bringing science to life for our students.

Upcoming Events

  • May 3 EOG Prep Party for 8th grade science teachers, 1:30-3:30 p.m. @ the Ivy Center
  • May 3 Biology Teachers will not be meeting (you can thank me later).
  • May 9 L2N Session for Middle Schools @SDC
  • May 15 High School Scheduling Workshop for teams at each school. Please talk to your Principal if you are interested in participating.
  • May 16 Department Chair Meeting (details forthcoming)
  • May 20 EOC Saturday All Scores Academy
  • May 23 Last Day of Classes College-Schedule High Schools
  • May 29 Memorial Day Holiday
  • June 9 Last Day of Classes (TR/YR)
  • June 12 Biology Teachers are planning to celebrate their EOC challenge achievement with a catered dinner at the Treyburn Country Club...
  • June 12-23 Take 2 Biology and Take 2 8th Grade Science

Quick News

  • Biology Teachers will NOT meet on May 3. A teacher appreciation week bonus?

  • We have been given a trial access to Vocabulary.com for the remainder of the school year. You may want to give this site a try: https://vocab.com/try/2evxc9r

    When a teacher clicks on the link, they will be asked to either create a new account or to log in with an existing account. The teacher will then have full access to class usage reports during that period. Use their Google accounts and identify themselves as an educator then select their school. Students will have access when a class is created, but the teacher will always have access to informational text articles and vocabulary across all content areas.

  • Biology teachers should have access to Study Island for student biology review and practice. Check with your IF or Principal for details.

Congratulation to our Science Teachers!

Heather Czechowski (PLC)...

was selected to the STaRs Program through NCABR and NIEHS.

Kent Lewis (DSA)...

is a recipient of the Borchardt Award and will be traveling to Germany this summer as part of the NC Global Teachers Germany program. He will be seeing international best practices at work and learning new strategies for infusing global content in his classroom.

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

Grants and Goodies

2017 Climate Education Toolkit

Announcing the 2017 Climate Education Week Toolkit! This web-based, multi-disciplinary resource is designed to help educate and organize around this year’s theme: Environmental and Climate Literacy. Earth Day Network provides this toolkit with the goal of educating and engaging K-12 students on topics like climate change, air pollution, environmental justice, and a how-to guide for turning knowledge into action.

Free Women in STEM Posters

NASA's Chandra X-ray Center created a great Women in Science page for last year's Women's History Month. Along with bios of past and current female pioneers, it includes a set of 10 printable posters that celebrate the role of women in the exploration of the world and Universe around us. These dynamic posters are high-res and would look great printed on large format printers, as well as in presentations. The collection even includes two of the women featured in the Oscar-nominated Hidden Figures movie

2017 Forest to Classroom program: FIRE

We are thrilled to announce that the 2017 Forest to Classroom program for classroom teachers will be focusing on FIRE. We will take an investigative look at fire science and learn about North Carolina’s fire-adapted ecological habitats. Discussions will center around prescribed versus wildfires, fire as management tool, and how different state and federal agencies address the use or suppression of fire. The chance of more large fire wildfire complexes will most likely increase in coming years, so we will also learn how we can protect our homes and communities. Program will include field days, as well as classroom instruction. Classroom activities from Project Learning Tree and other curriculum will be used to help teachers carry back what they have learned into the classroom.

For more information, including registration and cost, please see the attached flyer or visit http://forestry.ces.ncsu.edu/f2c.

Conservation Education Teacher of the Year Award- Nominations Due on May 2

Teachers – Each year the Durham Soil & Water Conservation District recognizes outstanding conservation education efforts of Durham County's teachers by awarding a Conservation Education Teacher of the Year award to deserving teachers in Elementary, Middle and High School.

All teachers in public, parochial and private schools in Durham are eligible. Winners from each category will be awarded a plaque and a cash prize of $100 at our Annual Conservation Awards Banquet each year.


· Educators must be teaching full time in the classroom and be personally responsible for utilizing a conservation education program.

· Shown concern, scope, and originality by integrating environmental education into his/her curriculum

· Provide a positive environmental role model

· Team teachers are eligible, but awards will be made to the designated team leader.

To apply:

The application has never been easier! The 1 page entry forms can be downloaded from http://dconc.gov/home/showdocument?id=20755 and filled out at your computer. Then just save and return to the below address/email by 5pm on May 2, 2017:

Durham SWCD (or) jbrooks@dconc.gov

721 Foster St

Durham, NC 27701

For questions, please call or email: 919-560-0558 ; jbrooks@dconc.gov

Student Opportunities in Science

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One-week session: July 10 – July 13, 2017

BRITE Futures’ FREE Biotechnology Summer Camps are designed to inspire students and give them a head start on identifying careers in science and biotechnology.

CLICK HERE for the BRITE 2017 Biotechnology Summer Camp- Application

FREE 2017 Environmental Science Summer Program (ESSP) at Duke

What is ESSP? ESSP is a free-of-charge, intensive 2-week environmental science summer program at Duke, which has operated since 2012. High school students selected for the program have the opportunity to:

  • Work with outstanding interdisciplinary faculty
  • Explore local environmental issues
  • Collect data in the field (think: in the creek with waders!)
  • Receiving training with the Nicholas School's own first-rate Career Service professionals
  • Learn to give a presentation, ace an interview, and create a resume
  • Receive one-on-one college counseling


Catalyst: Creating Opportunities in STEM for Students with Disabilities

Grade Level(s): This program is for rising 10th graders; however, students from other grade-levels will be considered if we do not have enough rising 10th graders.

Date(s): June 26-30th, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. OR July 9th-July 14, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Location: NC State University, Centennial Campus, Raleigh, NC

Cost: $50 (includes 8 Saturday Sessions during the following school year)

Description: This program is for High School Students with disabilities who are in the Regular Education Setting or Occupational Course Study Program in High School, but prefer small group individualized instruction with hands on science experiences to learn about STEM.

Participants will learn about STEM content, skills, and careers. They will also find out about STEM programs at Wake Tech and NCSU. Areas of focus include: Biotechnology, Coding, Wearable Devices, Energy, Engineering, Art, Natural Sciences, Forestry, Space and many other topics. Students will daily go on a Field Trips including to; research labs, North Carolina Natural Science Museum and field sites.


Wake County Energy Camp for Rising 6th Grade Girls ONLY

July 10-14, 2017

8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Campers are encouraged to grow their understanding of traditional energy sources, green technologies, sustainable energy and the impact of consumption. Energy camp offers opportunities to participate in inspiring and challenging hands-on projects to make real-world connections to energy generation.

Awesome activities include:

· Building & racing solar-powered cars

· Exploring Historic Yates Mill & Harris Lake County Park

· “Hair-raising” physics demonstrations & harnessing wind energy at NCSU

· Harnessing the energy of the sun for delicious S’mores

· Designing “Cars of the Future”

· Visiting the ABB Smart Grid Center on Centennial Campus

· Exploring interactive exhibits at Shearon Harris Visitor Center

Visit: wakegov.com/energy/camp to register for camp and to view camp activity schedule

For additional information: 919-856-5777 or ggraham@wakegov.com

School Year PD for Teachers

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2017-18 Project Based Learning Fellowship

Join a cohort of dynamic and innovative teachers of grades K-8 to implement Project Based Learning (PBL) in your classroom. During a year-long fellowship that includes a weekend field experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and 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. This year, preference will be given to teams of 2 or more teachers at the same grade level from the same school.


Saturday, August 26 – PBL workshop at the Museum

Friday-Sunday, October 27-29 – Got Elk Field Experience in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Sept 21, Jan 11, & Mar 8 – Mentoring Meetings at local schools

May 3 – Culminating Event at the Museum


$500 (Due upon acceptance into the program. Includes transportation, lodging and some meals for Got Elk field experience, and materials and meals during other workshops and meetings.)


Applications from teams of two or more teachers from one school will be given preference (each individual should submit a separate application). Applicants should plan to teach in grades K-8 during the 2017-18 school year.

More details at:


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TEacher Summer Opportunities

The NC Science Fair Training

Plan to attend a 1-day Student Research & Fair Workshop for the 2017- 2018 Academic Year. There is a $15 registration fee, but all attendees receive a $65 stipend for participation. Participants will be asked to implement a science and engineering fair for a class, grade-level or school during the 2017-2018 academic year.

All participants will be asked to complete a survey spring 2017.

Register Here: http://ncsciencefair.org/index.php/teachers/workshops

July 27 - Biogen Research Triangle Park

July 28 - Triad Math and Science Academy Greensboro

The following topics will be discussed during the workshop:

Learn how to foster and guide scientific and engineering research in the classroom.

Learn how to initiate, manage, and evaluate student science and engineering research projects.

You will be guided through the steps in planning a school or district science & engineering fair.

All materials and 0.6 CEUs for completion of the workshop.

For questions contact: Manley Midgett, Outreach Coordinator Phone: 919-218-7917


Teachers on the Estuary

When: June 19-20, 2017 9:00-5:00 p.m.

Where: 101 Pivers Island Rd, Beaufort, NC

Who: K-12 Classroom Teachers

Cost: Free-- and lunch is provided on both days. Participants are reponsible for their own lodging.

Contact: Lori Davis, lori.c.davis@ncdenr.gov or 252-838-0883


NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC

Saturday, June 24 – Sunday, June 25, 2017

9 am – 5 pm each day

Fee: $20 (includes lunch for both days; classroom materials)

CEUs: 16 contact hours

Recommended for high school teachers, administrators, pre-service teachers.

Based on her research on salt-adapted microbes (halophiles) and in collaboration with the NC School of Science and Math, Dr. Amy Schmid and her colleagues from Duke University have developed a five-part learning module that engages teachers in current scientific content and models how to integrate scientific inquiry into the classroom. During this two-day workshop, participants will perform the module’s five steps: (1) reading primary literature on transcriptional regulation of stress response, (2) formulating hypotheses and designing experiments, (3) measuring microbial growth, (4) calculating microbial growth rates using MatLab code and/or user-friendly Excel spreadsheets and (5) analyzing data. So that participants can implement the learning module in their classrooms, they will receive activity kits which will include background materials, booklet, interactive modeling Excel spreadsheets, a coupon for purchasing a Halobacterium growth kit from Carolina Biological, and assessment forms for students and teachers.

Get signed up!

Check out all the details and register online!

Envirothon School for Advisors and Teachers - June 12-16

This is to remind you about a summer workshop that is to help advisors prepare teams to compete in the Envirothon.

The Workshop runs the week of June 12-16 and is held on Falls Lake in Wake County. You can selected the day or days that you would like to attend or spend the entire week. You will have the opportunity to interact directly with professionals in each subject area of the Envirothon (aquatics, soils, wildlife, forestry) and have time to share ideas with other advisors.

Information from the Workshop also fits into the NC Standard Course of Study for most grade levels. You can also earn hours toward the NC Environmental Education Certification or continuing education hours by attending.

For more information about the Workshop visit: http://www.ncagr.gov/SWC/educational/envirothon-envirothon_school.html. You can register to attend at the web link.

Smokies Science Investigations, July 17-22

We are excited to announce to you a brand new summer youth program for students aged 13-17: Smokies Science Investigations, July 17-22.

This one week program is the perfect introduction to scientific investigation and deep discovery of the natural world. Participants will spend the week immersed in authentic field research and will engage the scientific process by designing and conducting their own experiments and presenting the results to local professionals. They will hold birds, catch salamanders, climb mountains, swim in rivers, and discuss their findings, all while forming tight bonds with each other and the national park.

Sound like fun?

1. Please tell your students! Post this flyer around school and send it to other schools in your area. This is a summer program they won't want to miss!

2. But this program isn't just for the students!

Wouldn’t you like to be able to do a project like the one pictured below with your students during the school year? This program is designed as a training to help science teachers transition to the demands of new standards that encourage more project-based learning. We are looking for a few teachers to be a part of this first cohort to facilitate this program alongside Tremont faculty.

We invite YOU to apply to partner with us as we pilot this new program. Come experience firsthand the impact of student-driven learning and investigation. Learn techniques to take back to your classroom through this 40+ hour practicum. Best of all, consider bringing YOUR students to Tremont Institute for a similar experience during the school year!

Apply here.


Teacher participants- $250

Teachers that bring 2 or more students - $200

Students brought by teachers - $400

Apply now! Contact Tiffany Beachy (tiffany@gsmit.org, 865-448-6708) if you have any questions.

See you this summer!

BioNetwork’s teacher professional development workshops

Are you looking for low cost, high return summer professional development? Your registration fee will cover lodging (for those who have significant travel), hands-on instruction, lesson plans, a box of take home supplies, a CEU certificate, the opportunity to engage with industry representatives, as well as lunch. Our workshops are interdisciplinary and feature differentiated instruction to make them the perfect complement for any curriculum from middle school to college!

Industry Immersion: The Big IDEA

July 18- July 20, 2017

This is the perfect opportunity to see first-hand the types of jobs that are the future of NC manufacturing. Participants will tour an advanced manufacturing site, learn a related and standards based activity for their classroom, and develop new industry based lessons/activities in a collaborative environment.

Biotech 101

June 27-June 29, 2017

The life science industry in NC is rapidly growing, with 31% more jobs today then there were just ten years ago. To be competitive for these jobs, North Carolina students will need a solid foundation in STEM and biotechnology. In order to provide your students with this foundation, you must first feel comfortable with the concepts. Shore up your skills with this workshop, which provides a foundation in basic biotechnology as well as innovative methods for incorporating it into existing curriculum and leave with the confidence and resources necessary to integrate these interdisciplinary concepts into your class!

Forensic Sciences

July 11-July 13, 2017

Do you have a foundation in biotechnology, and are you in the market for some fresh, new ideas for how to apply the concepts in your own classroom? Have you ever watched a crime show performing laboratory analyses and thought “I wonder how I could bring that into my classroom?” Don’t worry – BioNetwork has got you covered! Regardless of your biotechnology background, you can take your biotech skills to the next level at this exciting interdisciplinary workshop!

Water Quality

June 20-June 22, 2017

Biotechnology, marine science, and environmental science are often intertwined. In this workshop, you will discover ways to teach students all three topics at once, while sparking their interest in important societal issues. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the effects of microplastics on marine mammals, waste management in marine aquaculture systems, living shorelines, algal growth, and human health risks from non-point and point-source water pollution.

Explore the Faces of Ag Biotech

July 11- July 13, 2017

Looking for new activities to share with your students? Wondering what technologies are key in agriculture today? Come explore the faces of ag biotech in this three-day professional development workshop for middle school science, ag, and family & consumer science teachers. Learn about ag biotech on the farm, in the classroom, and in industry. This hands-on workshop will include a farm tour, lesson plans, a tour of a multi-national ag biotech company, and discussions around biotechnology's role in agriculture. This workshop is being offered in collaboration with NC Farm Bureau and the NC Biotechnology Center.

Ag Biotech Industry in the Classroom 2017

July 31 - August 4 | Meredith College | Raleigh, N.C.

Looking for new activities to share with your students? Wondering what technologies are key in agriculture today? Come explore this ag biotech focused professional development workshop, for high school science and ag teachers across North Carolina. Registration opens in March. LEARN MORE


July 24, 2017 to July 28, 2017

Located at Ocracoke, NC 27960

North Carolina’s coastal ecosystems can provide rich lessons to enhance the high school biology curriculum, including how the living organisms within these environments demonstrate interdependence, adaptations, and stability. Close focus of these ecosystems will reveal the complex workings of carbon and nitrogen cycles, energy pyramids, and biochemical processes and energy use in the cell. Understand how humans impact these coastal ecosystems through population growth, technology, consumption of resources, and production of waste. Partner with biologists and other science experts to create lessons that will engage high school students and advance their learning of North Carolina biology standards.

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Science in the News

The New Threat to Wolves in and Around Yellowstone


Packs of the animals, once endangered, have flourished, but biologists worry about the effects of renewed hunting outside the national park.

Hunting Mushrooms, and What Makes Some Glow in the Dark


Scientists may have had more luck tracking down how some fungi glow than you may have hunting bioluminescent mushrooms, a reporter discovered.

6 Bots That Deliver Science and Serendipity on Twitter


Not all bots on Twitter are out to spam, hack or misinform you. These science-themed bots dole out humor, factual information and galactic perspective.

What Moves Gravel-Size Gypsum Crystals Around the Desert?


The large crystals, and perhaps life forms within, may be scattered around by a whirlwind that a geologist calls a gravel devil.

Mass Die-Off of Whales in Atlantic Is Being Investigated


Officials are seeking the reason for an “unusual mortality event” that has left 41 humpback whales dead since early 2016 from North Carolina to Maine.

No Bones About It: Scientists Recover Ancient DNA From Cave Dirt


With a new technique, German researchers isolated Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA from sediment alone, opening new possibilities in archaeology.