Secondary Science News

October 12-16

This week...

Congratulations to the Jordan Rocketry Team, which this week was selected to participate in the 2016 Rocket Launch Challenge. The Jordan team will be the only high school team representing the entire state of North Carolina. If you'd like more information, contact Jeff LaCosse at Jordan.

Notice the new format? Thank Social Studies Specialist Kelvin Bullock for pushing my boundaries...

This week: I will be visiting Lowe's Grove, Riverside, Southern, Neal and Githens. The Science Department Chair meeting is on Tuesday @ CMA. (Middle School Chairs are excused from this meeting.)

Upcoming Events

  • October 13, 4-5:30 @CMA Secondary science chair meeting. Optional for middle school chairs.
  • October 16, 20, and 21: Microscope Repairs
  • October 20 Genetics and Genomics mini-course begins @ Riverside High School. Sign up in My Learning Plan.
  • October 21: Early Release Day Science Olympiad Coaching Workshop @ Jordan High 1:30-4.
  • October 21: "Water, Water Everywhere: What the Geosciences Can Tell Us about the Present and the Future of Water Resources” 2PM to 4:30PM, @Room T119 Durham School of the Arts, Refreshments provided. Sign up in My Learning Plan if you are not a member of the INSPIRES Project.
  • October 22: DPS Chemistry Teachers Work Session, DSA Media Center, 4-5
  • October 26, 9-3:30 @ DPS Hub Farm Forest Ecosystems Explorations, workshop for secondary science teachers interested in using the resources at the Hub Farm. Sign up in My Learning Plan.
  • October 27-28 Bridging the Gap Uniting NC K-16 STEM Education

Quick News

  • Microscope and Balance Repair continues this week. The schedule is: CMA (10/16), Carrington (10/16), Northern (10/20), Githens & Jordan (10/21).
  • We are opening the INSPIRES workshop on the Early Release Day (10/21) to ALL DPS Secondary Science Teachers. This session is entitled "Water, Water Everywhere: What the Geosciences Can Tell Us about the Present and the Future of Water Resources” and will be presented by Tamlin Pavelsky, PhD, UNC Department of Geological Sciences and US Hydrology Lead for NASA/CNES Surface Water Ocean Topography (SWOT) Satellite Mission and recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers. Participants will also conduct and receive a lesson titled Using Remote Sensing Data to Evaluate Water Resources in North Carolina which utilizes data and satellite imagery from Falls Lake. Time: Wednesday October 21, 2PM to 4:30PM, Room T119 Durham School of the Arts, Refreshments provided. Sign up in My Learning Plan if you are not a member of the INSPIRES Project.
  • The District is supporting NC Science Olympiad Teams by subsidizing registration for one team per school (2 for schools with middle and high school programs) by $100. Register your team, mark pay by check, pay $200 toward your registration, and we will cover the rest. NC Science Olympiad Coach Training is October 21, 1:30-4 at Jordan High School.
  • Dr. John Willis will be leading a mini-course in Genetics and Genomics for interested teachers on Tuesdays, 3:30-5:30 p.m. beginning October 20. Dr. Willis is an amazing plant geneticist and evolutionary biologist at Duke who is committed to helping teachers develop lessons for the classroom. It’s a great opportunity! Sign up in My Learning Plan.
  • FMA Live! Forces in Motion is an assembly from NASA and Honeywell that is coming to DPS (Southern High School) on November 20, 2015. The program is open to ALL 7th graders in DPS. There is still limited space remaining. Please use the form distributed to all 7th grade teachers to sign up.
  • Looking for current science news articles your students can read? Check out:
  • Science Lab Safety training is required for all secondary science this year. If you did not attend any of the face-to-face sessions, you will be required to participate in online training. Information regarding this option will be sent out in the couple of weeks.
  • Making purchases? Check out the discounts:

DPS Science Teachers Share

Have something to share with others? Send it to me and I'll add it here!

Science in the Community

Rx for Science Literacy is partnering with FoodMASTER, an NIH SEPA-funded resource for middle grade science classrooms, to present two professional development workshops featuring FoodMASTER Middle Science — a 10-unit curriculum resource which uses food as a tool to teach hands-on, minds on science to 7th and 8th-grade students. Workshop participants will experience the FoodMASTER approach while completing scientific inquiry learning labs and exploring ways to incorporate FoodMASTER materials into the middle grades science classroom.

The classroom-tested curriculum resource includes 24 hands-on laboratory experiences and 12 health-focused extension activities. Each chapter provides users with hands-on, application-based activities, detailed procedures, science concepts to be emphasized, materials needed, critical thinking exercises and background knowledge with instructions for educators. Lab experiences and extension activities were designed to be implemented in any classroom environment — without the need for specific laboratory space.

Each lesson is aligned with the North Carolina Essential Science Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Incentives for Attending

  • 1 unit of certification renewal credit for North Carolina-certified educators (4 hours of additional work required)
  • Online access to FoodMASTER curriculum resource materials, including supplemental instructional videos
  • Free supplemental curriculum and other education materials to use in the classroom
  • Free lunch and morning break refreshments
  • Substitute teacher support (up to $70)

The FoodMASTER Middle Science workshop is being offered at two locations on the following dates:

NOAA is conducting a Professional Development Workshop for Educators of grades 5th-12th on Sunday, November 8th from 8 AM – 4 PM hosted by and located at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

An essential component of the NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) mission is to enhance ocean science literacy and to build interest in careers that support ocean-related work. To help fulfill this mission, the Okeanos Explorer education Materials Collection was developed to encourage educators and students to become engaged in real time with the voyages and discoveries of the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer – America’s first Federal ship dedicated to Ocean Exploration. Join NOAA OER Facilitator Conniee Leverett, as you are introduced to Volume 1 of the Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection: Why Do We Explore? Participants will learn how to use standards-based lessons and other online resources that guide classroom inquiries into important reasons for ocean exploration including Climate Change, Energy, Ocean Health, and Human Health. This is Part One of a two-part professional development series. Part Two will be offered at a later date.

Registration is required and space is limited. Educators attending the full day will receive Volume 1 of the Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection, Why Do We Explore?, other resources, a NOAA Ocean Exploration Certificate of Participation, a continental breakfast and lunch. Those educators attending Part One and Part Two will receive a $100 stipend.

To register, please visit:

There is a $25 registration fee which will be returned upon completion of the workshop.

The Water Science Center section of the US Geological Survey (USGS)
Provides a wonderful Web site for teachers to use to learn all about water, the Water Science School

A new section is about the Water Cycle, especially made for 3 levels of school students.
We feature a great diagram and also an Interactive Section

where a student can hover their mouse over various sections of the diagram

and get popup information and pictures about that topic, along with links to more information.

All of this is available for 3 different age levels.

And, the diagram is available in over a dozen languages, including Spanish!

Apply for the 2016 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy

The school year has only just begun, but if you're a third- to fifth-grade teacher, it's not too early to think about your summer plans! The Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, a partnership among professional golfer Phil Mickelson, ExxonMobil, NSTA, and Math Solutions, will take place at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, in July 2016. Applications are currently being accepted!

This unique program provides third- to fifth-grade teachers with an all-expense-paid, week-long professional learning experience that equips them with new ways to inspire their students in math and science. For more information and to apply to the Academy—or nominate a fellow teacher—go to Please share this with the teachers in your school today and join the almost 5,000 teachers nationwide who have attended since 2005.

Calling All Teachers: Registration Now Open for Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Program

Registration for the 24th annual Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision program—the world's largest K–12 student science competition—is now open. The deadline for all project submissions is February 1, 2016.

Through the competition, teams of 2 to 4 students are challenged to research scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for designing innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. Students simulate real scientific research to outline how they plan to test their ideas and create mock websites to illustrate concepts. Student participants will have a chance to win a number of great prizes, including $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bonds (at maturity). Canadian winners receive Canada bonds purchased for the equivalent issue price in Canadian dollars. And to celebrate ExploraVision's 24th anniversary, the top 24 teachers who submit 24 eligible online entries will receive a Toshiba tablet.

Teachers can learn more information by visiting the frequently asked questions page on the competition website. Follow ExploraVision on Twitter at @ToshibaInnovate or like ExploraVision on Facebook


White House Astronomy Night October 19

The White House will host Astronomy Night on October 19. The event will bring together scientists, engineers, and visionaries from astronomy and the space industry to share their experiences with students and teachers as they spend an evening stargazing from the South Lawn.

Schools, astronomy clubs, museums, and scientists are urged to participate in the White House Astronomy Night by hosting an event or a watch party on October 19. Post your event here.

Science in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Below are 6 fall 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.

Got Elk!: Fall Research in the Smokies

October 30-Nov. 1, 2015 in Cataloochee Valley

Elk abound in Cataloochee Valley so spend the weekend with the recently reintroduced elk and participate in fall research projects that have easy application to your classroom. Participants will receive transportation, lodging and classroom materials. Register through the NC Museum of Natural Science at Cost: $75* (includes lodging, some meals and transportation to and from Raleigh)

Mountains, Macros and Mind Pies

November 7, 2015 at Cherokee Middle School, Cherokee, NC

Join us at Cherokee Middle School as we immerse ourselves in creative ways to use STEM in the classroom focusing on the outdoors. Activities will highlight on hands-on learning, authentic assessments, incorporating local cultures into STEM lessons, and ways to use student collected data in the classroom. Includes lunch, classroom materials and door prizes. Register online under “events”

Wild About Elk

November 21, 2015 at Oconaluftee Visitor Center, Cherokee, NC

Participants will learn about the life history and management of elk, as well as how to incorporate activities about elk into the NC Curriculum. This workshop will take place at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park from 9:30am - 3pm. To register email

Citizen Science for the Classroom

December 4-6, 2015 at Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont

Citizen Science is perfect way to bring the scientific method into the classroom. Participate in several projects, some national and some more regionally specific developed to monitor resources in Great Smoky Mountains NP. Learn how you can use these projects to teach students how to ask good scientific questions, analyze datasets and communicate their findings. Meals and lodging included. Register through Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont The workshop is offered at the reduced educator rate of $50.

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 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, visit Cost: $75* (includes lodging at Lake Junaluska, some meals and transportation from Raleigh).

Susan Sachs

Education Coordinator, Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

PO Box 357

Lake Junaluska, NC 28745

(828) 926-6251


Renew your passion for teaching while gaining information, ideas, and insights to take back to your classroom by joining the Museum for an educator workshop!

Educator Treks...

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. Participants receive a certificate for CEUs and credit for North Carolina's Environmental Education Certification Program.

To register for Educator Treks, please fill out and mail a registration form and deposit. The registration form can be found on this website!


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

Thursday, October 15, 2015

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.


NC Museum of Natural Sciences at Whiteville

Thursday, October 22, 2015

4-6 p.m.

Fee: $10

CEUs: 2 contact hours

Your school grounds holds amazing opportunities for teaching science and other subject areas. Join Museum educators to explore resources that are available in the fall right outside your school's door including caterpillars and trees. Walk away with new ideas and activities for exploring the outdoors with your students.


Hammocks Beach State Park, Onslow County

Friday, October 23 (depart Raleigh at 1 p.m.)-Sunday, October 25, 2015

Fee: $85 (includes lodging, all meals, journaling supplies)

CEUs: 20 contact hours

Discover nature journaling as a strategy for enhancing science learning. Explore a variety of coastal habitats and document your experiences using an assortment of journaling techniques including sketching, digital photography, poetry and reflective writing. You'll increase your understanding of these ecosystems and gain news ways to incorporate science and writing into your teaching.


Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Haywood County, NC

Friday, October 30 (depart Raleigh at 3:45 p.m.) - Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fee: $85* (includes transportation, lodging, most meals)

CEUs: 20 contact hours

Join us as we search for the majestic elk, reintroduced to the Smokies after an absence of more than 200 years. Sample activities used to document the biodiversity of the park. Discover how you can bring the excitement of field research into your classroom.

*The cost of this Trek is reduced due to a generous gift through the Friends of the Smokies. Due to this reduction of costs, Friends of the Museum discounts are unavailable.

Science Grants

Apply now for an Ignite the Power of STEM grant from the Biogen Foundation.

In commemoration of the Bridging the Gap STEM Education Conference, the Biogen Foundation will award $125,000 in grants to support science education programs and projects in North Carolina public and charter elementary, middle and high schools.

· Teachers may apply for up to $2,000.

· Schools and non-profits may apply for up to $5,000.

For application and guidelines, visit: The deadline to apply is Nov. 10, 2015.

PRISM Grants from BWF are open again.
Money for science doesn’t get much easier than this! This award provides up to $3,000 for one year to cover the cost of equipment, materials, and supplies. An additional $1,500 may be requested for professional development related to the implementation of new equipment or use of materials in the classroom. For additional details, visit

N.C. Beautiful Windows of Opportunity Grants for K-12 teachers have been increased from $1,000 to $1,500 for 2015.
These grants provide resources “to foster enthusiasm for the natural environment, build leadership for greater awareness, initiate a sense of community service and improve stewardship.” Public and private k-12 teachers can apply for the grants until November 30th. For more information or to apply, visit the NC Beautiful website.

Science in the News

The bleaching of colorful coral is spreading into a worldwide, devastating crisis, scientists say, and they predict it will likely get worse.

The specimen described in a new study is the earliest and best-preserved mammalian fetus to date.

Findings published in the journal Science Advances describe an “Etch A Sketch” using light that may have diverse applications in computing.

The animals appear to be exceptional cancer fighters, using a special set of proteins, a new study reports, but it’s unclear how to apply that to humans.

DNA was recovered from a 4,500-year-old human skeleton in Ethiopia, and it is strikingly different from that of living Africans.

The annual nighttime display peaks Thursday night and is likely to be helped by good visibility across much of the U.S. and a waning crescent moon.