DPS Secondary Science News

January 4-8, 2016

This week...

I trust you've had a wonderful break. As for me, I've eaten my way through London-- experiencing the flavors of India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, as well as a bit of the traditional British fare. It's been wonderful! This week marks the return to exercise and salad.

January is, of course, a busy month for all of us with the end of the quarter for some and term for others. Given that, and because I will be asking you to spend time reviewing science materials this month, I am going to rearrange a few meetings. The secondary science chairs will NOT meet on January 12. Instead, I'm asking that each science teacher in the District attend a resource review session (see schedule below). I don't need to tell you how important it is that we do a thorough job of selecting materials for this adoption; it's been a long time coming and we do not want to squander the opportunity get the materials we know will help support student learning in science. Thanks in advance for the extra time and effort this will require.

Reminder! Applications for a free adventure at NASA Space Camp are due today, January 4, 2016. Check out the details at https://educators.honeywell.com/application.

This week: I will be traveling back to North Carolina on Monday. I will be working with the IFs on Friday. I will be visiting Southern, Jordan, Hillside, and Githens.

Upcoming Events

  • January 12, 3-5: Middle School Resource Review Open House, Githens Middle School Media Center. Alternate date to be added for teacher who cannot make this session..
  • 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 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.
  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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 Middle School Media Center. Alternative date to be added.
  2. January 21, 3-5: Biology Resource Review Open House, Riverside High School, room 124.
  3. January 26, 3-5: Earth/Env and Electives Open House, Riverside High School, room 124.
  4. 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!


DPS Science Teachers Share

Cynthia Colbert and Jim Johnson at Lucas Middle School encourage you to take a look at some Draw My Science videos. They are having students create their own "Draw My Science" videos to demonstrate their understanding of concepts! Here's a teacher example of the idea here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdVQWWnscHM.

Summer Science for Teachers

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 secondary science teachers to be involved in research.

Kenan fellowships for 2016-17 are posted and the application is live! 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

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.

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.

Would you like for your students to be able to image something at the nanoscale? The Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network (RTNN) is here to help!

The RTNN is an NSF-funded collaboration between NCSU, Duke, and UNC. A major focus of the RTNN is to bring nanotechnology awareness and experiences into middle schools and high schools. Through the RTNN, we will be able to offer you FREE access to equipment such as scanning electron microscopes (SEMs) that can image objects at the nanoscale.

There are numerous ways to interact with us for FREE:

  • Monster Under the Bed: Send a sample to us (e.g. dust from under your bed – there will be mite monsters), and we will image the sample in the SEM in a real time Skype link with your class.
  • Seat Belts Everyone! Field Trip: Visit our RTNN labs and observe our equipment in action. Maybe your class collects a few bugs, rocks, or plants they are interested in looking at.
  • School Days: Use scotch tape to collect samples from around your school by sticking it to surfaces and seeing what it collects.

Send your samples to us in advance. On the day of your virtual skype or in-person visit, a student Staff member at one of our universities will connect with your class via Skype or in person. They will talk with your class about the equipment being used, what it’s typically used for, and then will image the sample(s) that your class sent to us. Your students will see the equipment, how the imaging SEM system works, get to see their samples up close, and start making discoveries of their own.

If you’re interested in bringing this technology into your classroom, contact us at rtnanonetwork@ncsu.edu.

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:


Looking for literacy credits? Sanford will be offering a free MOOC on this topic for all teachers of science from January 6 – April 30. The course takes about 20 hours (all self-paced) and aims to explore what it means to teach literacy in science and emerges from work we have done for an IES funded project. Further details are available from:


The American Meteorological Society offers a spring course for K-12 teachers to help you brush up on your weather science. The course provides 3-graduate units, course materials and online resources. DataStreme Atmosphere, supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is a 13-week course that offers K-12 teachers solid subject knowledge to teach about the atmosphere in any science curriculum. Informal educators (parks, recreation, EE, etc.) will also benefit by supplementing their core knowledge about the atmospheric sciences. This course is delivered online in weekly installments with access to mentors; all materials and texts are provided at no cost to participants; and there are three required face-to-face meetings (here in NC) each semester.

You can even receive free graduate credit in science through the State University of New York at Brockport. The only cost to you is your time---time to complete the weekly investigations and current weather studies and time to attend the three meetings---other than whatever costs are involved for travel to the meetings.

For an application and additional information, go to:


DataStreme Atmosphere 1) focuses on the study of the atmospheric environment through the use of online weather data and learning materials; and 2) trains you as a Weather Education Resource Teacher to promote the teaching of science, mathematics and technology using weather as a vehicle, across the K-12 curriculum in your home school district. After completion of the course, you will have access to a network of education resources to help you build weather into your curriculum.

The Spring Semester begins January 18, 2016. Please return the completed Atmosphere application to Carol Wenberg, DataStreme Atmosphere NC Local Implementation Team (LIT) at c1314wenberg@ymail.com or contact Carol for more information.

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


Three research groups, working independently of one another, reported in the journal Science on Thursday that a powerful new gene-editing technique could treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy in mice.


A Japanese diver spotted the creature, known as an Architeuthis, and swam alongside it in Toyama Bay, according to a CNN report.


A powerful El Niño climate pattern washes out what was the hottest year ever recorded on the surface of the planet, leaving experts trying to decipher all the factors behind the odd weather extremes of 2015.


Neuroscientists have struggled to understand exactly how the mind’s cycles affect us. Studies of donated brains provide some answers.


Tiny additives common in cosmetics like facial scrubs and toothpaste were making their way into waterways.


In the face of danger, first we freeze. Then things get complicated.


The launch and landing could become a familiar sight in spaceflight, allowing rockets to be refurbished and reused.