Click here to find the contact information for GSTA board members.
New Georgia DOE Science Resources
The Georgia DOE has posted curriculum maps, pacing guides, and sample instructional segments at GeorgiaStandards.org. Once there, click on the *NEW* TRL Public Now Available: Access the GaDOE Essential Toolkit. You can search by content area and subject.
GSTA Phenomena Bank
Are you looking for phenomena to use as you teach the GSE? Be sure to check out the GSTA Phenomena Bank.
Please submit your ideas for phenomena too! Together, we are stronger!
GSTA and NSTA Offer Joint Memberships
GSTA and NSTA are now offering joint memberships. You can join both GSTA and NSTA for one year for just $105, which is a savings of $15. Take advantage by visiting this special page on the NSTA site.
Notes From the Editor
Share Your Great Ideas! Write for eObservations
Have a great lesson or idea to share? Contribute to eObservations and gain recognition for your great work with students by submitting an article for publication. Each month, we feature articles of ~500-750 words that fit into one of the three series described below. We also invite classroom-oriented education research, or K-12 student scientific research. Articles should include 1-2 supporting images and one or more links to additional information or supporting files. Articles can be submitted via email. Implementing the Science GSE
This series is intended to build teachers' capacity for the new Science Georgia Standards of Excellence and to increase their understanding of the Framework for K-12 Science Education by highlighting model classroom lessons that support students in three-dimensional science learning. Articles should describe lessons that challenge students to integrate core ides, science & engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts to explain phenomena or solve problems. Connecting Research & Best Practice
This series is intended to help teachers incorporate research-based best practices into their science and STEM classrooms. Articles should focus on curriculum, instructional, or assessment approaches that are demonstrated to support science learning within the context of Georgia's student assessment and teacher evaluation systems. Each article should provide relevant background information and practical guidance for classroom implementation.
Speaking Up for Science Education
This series offers a space for GSTA members to share their perspectives on key issues facing science education in our state and nation. We seek articles that inform and support members in acting as leaders and advocates for science education on the local, state, and national levels.
Have Something to Share with GSTA Members?
GSTA seeks to share announcements, information, and resources from not-for-profit or government-sponsored programs at no cost. We also offer paid advertising options for commercial interests that align with GSTA's goals. Please visit GSTA's Newsletter Information for details.
Notes From the Editor
GSTA welcomes you back to school and hopes that you have a great 2019-2020 school year. This edition of the eObservations highlights several experiences of teachers implementing the GSE and important updates from the DOE.
Welcome Back to School Updates from the DOE Science Team!
As we travel around the sun, there are signs that let us know where we are on the journey. Dawn comes later, sunset arrives earlier, leaves begin to change color, muscadines ripen, and the yellow cloudless sulfur butterflies pass by on their migration south. These are signs that fall is here.
As we approach fall and another new school year, we find ourselves thinking about where we are on the journey of implementing GSE and 3D science. If you haven’t yet read A Framework for K-12 Science Education (free download http://bit.ly/2LVikvk), you must add it to your reading list as it is a wonderful map to help lead the way!
Signs on the GSE journey:
Science Ambassadors - In 2016, over 300 educators were trained from around the state to help spread the word and provide training in the new GSE standards. These individuals, Science Ambassadors, continue to grow as a community, and many spent two days this summer focusing on instructional strategies and formative assessments. We will find ways to share any deliverables with all. This fall, an effort to reach systems that did not have any representation in the first round will be made. If you need to know who the Ambassadors are in your area, contact us.
Resources – Georgiastandards.org, has been under some redevelopment and so all our resources have been landing in the SLDS-TRL-Essential Toolkit.
Don’t have access to the SLDS-TRL? No problem! Just look for the public access notification on georgiastandards.org and click. In SLDS-TRL, make sure you navigate all the way to the Essential Toolkit and then explore the various buckets for the following:
Curriculum maps, pacing guides and sample instructional segments
Color-coded standards to highlight “Obtain, evaluate and communicate”
Grab-and-Go Phenomenon Cards
Flowchart for Adapting a GPS Lesson to GSE
FAQ – our most commonly received questions about specific standards and our answers are being shared with all in the “Need to Know?” bucket of the Essential Toolkit
Reading, Writing and Science: The Perfect Combination Video Series will be released later this fall (Coming soon!)
From July 2018 to June 2019, we provided over 60 trainings across the state and reached 1,940+ educators. We hope to see even more of you this year.
We have a NEW online course in the SLDS - PL section, “3D Science”. You can earn a badge for this introductory course about 3D science and the GSE. The course should take about 2 hours or less, and it is all online. It is appropriate for K-12 science educators and leaders. Please check it out!
Standards Revision for 12 High School Courses – We wanted to bring these high school science courses into the suite of 3D GSE. This has been an amazing process that began with an initial survey, a working committee, an advisory committee and an academic committee and ended with a final survey. Over 100 K-12 educators (k-12 & higher ed), museums, government agencies and business and industry professionals served on these committees and over 800 responded to surveys. On July 18, 2019, the State Board of Education approved the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) for the following high school science courses: Astronomy, Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Epidemiology, Forensic Science, Geology, Human Anatomy & Physiology, Meteorology, Microbiology, Oceanography, and Zoology. The 2019-2020 school year will be utilized to inform educators of the new standards. These Science GSE courses should be implemented during the 2020-2021 school year. To access the standards visit: https://www.georgiastandards.org/Georgia-Standards/Pages/Science.aspx
As we continue this journey together, we hope to provide more ways for teachers to connect this year. We plan to highlight some of our great science teachers in 2019-2020 by having them host webinars throughout the year that can be watched live or via access to recordings. We will also start a teacher newsletter this year. Please also consider following us on Twitter @GaDOEScience.
Where are you on your journey in relation to 3D, phenomena-based instruction? Achieve, CCSSO Science SCASS, and Kerri Wingert (University of Colorado Boulder) have collaborated to develop a self-assessment survey that is not scored or assessed by anyone other than yourself. The tool is designed for you to take what you need from it. You’ll be asked about your confidence and practice in relation to 3D, phenomena-based instruction. This survey is responsive to your answers. You can take it as often as you'd like to see how your understanding has changed. Depending on what you answer, you will be guided to resources that are tailored to your needs:Tinyurl.com/howsmyteaching
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us to let us know what you would like to see along the journey to help you navigate your way. We are grateful to GSTA and its members for the work being done to support science education around the state. Thank you for all you do to make sure every child, in every grade is immersed in the wonder of science. Enjoy this new school year and all the phenomena it brings!
Congratulations to Georgia’s three science state finalists for the 2019 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST): Julie Godfrey (Northwestern Middle School - Fulton County), Angela Quarles (Pickens High School -Pickens County) and Megan Heberle (Islands High School -Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools).
Presidential awardees will each receive a presidential citation; a trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities; and $10,000 from the National Science Foundation.
There were 23 very highly qualified applicants for this prestigious award. The committee members had a hard time selecting only three of them as state finalists. Mrs. Godfrey’s, Ms. Quarles’ and Miss. Heberle’s applications now move to the national selection committee where they will be reviewed again by a national panel.
Nominations for the 2020 PAEMST award will open this fall and will be open to K-6 science and mathematics teachers.
Implementing the Science GSE in District 3
by Alana Davis, Cobb County Schools & GSTA District 3 Representative
As science educators, we are expected to be the experts in our grade level content. We learn new standards when they are drafted and adopted, attend conferences, seek out professional development in order to make ourselves better, and try new things in our classrooms hoping for excitement and success. Now that the Science GSE have been implemented with an emphasis on 3D science instruction, teachers are developing lessons and projects that highlight student understanding of phenomena, but also help students develop critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. At Mableton Elementary in Cobb County, which is a Georgia DOE STEAM Certified School, teachers are expected to collaborate together to write 3D science units that end with a culminating problem-based STEAM project in order to assess mastery of content. Below are examples of how two teachers from Mableton are implementing the Science GSE and transitioning to 3D instruction with highly engaging activities that will no doubt help students master the content, and allow these teachers to reflect on the more successful and less successful aspects of their science unit development.
How can I build a levee to protect a town from Floodwater?
By: Vicki Broughton
In fifth grade we study how changes in surface features are/were caused by constructive and/or destructive processes. The students study this topic for many weeks including how surface features such as deltas, sand dunes, mountains, and volcanoes are/were caused by constructive and/or destructive processes such as weathering and erosion. We end the unit with a S.T.E.A.M. project where the students create the town of Houston and the students have to build a levee to protect the town of Houston from the force of a flood. We studied a Pueblo levee in Colorado that has a mural painted on it by local artists that would be a reflection of themselves. The students were then challenged to create a levee and paint a mural that would reflect the different members of the group. This project is an example of how 3D science implementation with the GSE has affected my students’ learning with increased engagement, higher summative assessment scores, and helps develop critical thinking within the constraints of the challenge.
We start the project by watching a video of the phenomena, which included flooding in Houston, and see the destruction caused by the flooding. This phenomena video got the attention of the students, as many were not aware of floods and the damage that could be done to towns. We continue by having the students develop questions in order to understand the purpose of levees, including the different levees and how they are built to prevent the destructive forces of a flood. I facilitate the learning by asking guiding questions and prompting students that are struggling. We study the levees as a class and review the vocabulary including the names of the levees. The students then study levees independently to see what materials they can use to create a stable levee. The class was very engaged studying levees as they were very interested in knowing how to make sure the levee would not allow the water through to their town. The students were given some examples of materials to use such as craft sticks, sponges, cotton balls, rocks, and duct tape. The students were given the freedom to use other materials in the classroom if they feel that they could use it to make their levee better.
The students collaborated in groups of five and created a small town using Legos to model buildings for the levees to protect. The students used paint trays for this project; they would build the town on one side of the paint tray and then build the levee in the grooves of the tray. The students had to use materials to hold the levee in place along with other materials to make sure that the floodwater could not reach the town. It was great to see the different types of levees being built along with the different materials being used such as one group used Play doh. The students in the groups worked well together and had to rely on each other for different ideas as they were building. They then drew on their levee to create their mural to reflect their personal interests. It was great to see how the group who used Playdoh was able to create their mural by digging into the material for a design. Once they built their levee, they would take their tray to the sink to get the floodwater. This was the testing stage of the project and many times their levee did not work. You could hear groups say, “It’s good!” Then you would hear, “No!” However, the groups were very flexible and they would go back and reflect of how they can change their levee to work better. What materials could be added to make it stronger? What materials could be added to make it thicker? They were quick to figure out what they needed to do. The students were engaged the whole time and worked well together in their groups. They were never discouraged when their levee did not work and quickly reflected on how to make changes to get it to work properly. This engaging project gave students the chance to use their knowledge of constructive and destructive forces with a real-world connection. As teachers get more comfortable with GSE implementation and effective 3D science instruction, more students will have the chance to engage in problem-based learning, which in turn, will help our students master the content standards!
Where Are the Honeybees?
By Kristin Bosley
Where are the Honeybees? This is the question we used to inspire our Mableton Elementary fourth graders to take the time to research the declining honeybee population. The Cheerios’ National Honeybee Campaign was a great introduction to our BEE problem-based learning unit. We asked the students to investigate what is happening with the world’s honeybees. Students were to find reasons why the bee populations everywhere have been declining at an alarming rate. We told them that they were to assist engineers at Georgia Tech and the Georgia Department of Agriculture in Atlanta who had been called in by farmers to develop a pollination system that will help deal with the loss of honeybees due to colony collapse. The students’ job is to research why we need honeybees and research the declining trend to come up with a solution to save our local honeybees population.
The students’ engagement level sharply increased! The students loved researching and discovering many possibilities that resulted in the honeybee decline and found remarkable ways to help slow down the decline. These fourth graders were able to come up with several reasons for the decline and ideas to help the bee population thrive. This PBL gave them the opportunity to create STEAM projects in their favorite academic area. Some students created media campaigns, built devices to help the bees work easier, and they also planned a pollinator garden to help the honeybees in the pollinating process.
The students excelled at finding data to represent the change in the ecosystem and built data tables to show the decline over the past 100 years. They used this data to create their STEAM projects and inspire changes we implemented in our own school. The students walked away with a better understanding of the everyday choices we make and the effects it has on our environment now and in the future! The Mableton Elementary fourth grade students are now motivated young environmentalists!
Adopt A Stream Experience
by Virginia Kirima, Commodore Conyers College and Career Science Instructor
The Scientific Research class recently adopted the local Lower Flint Watershed, our specific spot is located right along the River Walk at Turtle Grove Park in Albany, GA. One of the reasons why we chose this project was to ensure we fulfilled our school objective to increase Project Based Learning tasks and also be involved in the community. My utmost reason was to engage my students with a real world and local experience. This workshop allowed them to learn outside of the four walls of the classroom and sparked their interest in the class which seemed boring at first because they believed all they had to do was research, research, research and write…
After taking the workshop the students were able to use their knowledge to conduct the water monitoring field tests. The students interested in the water were excited about the chemical testing, while the students interested in the macroinvertebrates were able to explore the macros in our river. This experience not only enables the students to explore their interests but also help increase their awareness and instill the desire to become environmental champions in our local community.
The following are journal entries from a different students’ experiences.
ADOPT a stream workshops have enhanced my learning because at first I didn’t really know about the Flint River. The instructor came and taught about different animals and I didn’t even know half of that information. I’m so glad that she came to talk about the different things about the Flint River. I learned what ADOPT means which is Awareness, Data, Observation, Partnerships, and Tools/Training. I also learned about what kind of environments the animals can live in and what animals live inside the local stream.
On our next water quality project trip, I want to learn even more information and get in the water to test the levels. I made some mistakes at the event when me and my group got the phosphate and nitrate chemicals mixed up with each other and we put the wrong amount of drops the first time. The second time we did it correctly and got the water to change colors it was very interesting to see. Being able to work with chemicals, go outside of school for a field trip, or even just enjoying volunteering with the water quality project is amazing!!
I also gained an understanding of the different types of pollution that can be inside rivers and around it's environments. The 2 types of pollution are point source pollution and nonpoint source pollution. ….. The studying of rivers also included measurements of temperatures that the water is exposed to and different types of macroinvertebrates in the water’s environment. Just small things in the water can cause pH level changes and can affect many living things. But overall I learned a handful of information and many new insects and I Truly enjoyed this experience.
The importance in volunteering for the water quality monitoring project was to see if our river flow is/was healthy. What I learned about the flint river was that the water flow was high. Yes, the Flint river is also healthy because when I did the experiment the pH was 7.0, which means the river was healthy. I would like to actually see the macroinvertebrates move/fly around and see how they adapt to the area.
On the next water quality monitoring trip I would like to fix mistakes I made along the way like, I put too much water in the sample and it made the test go slower so my group had to start over. Then when I did that the test again it happened faster and it was right. But, overall the experience showed me a lot about how I need to keep the water clean by recycling and not throwing my trash on the ground. I can say that I am truly lucky to have the opportunity to ADOPT the Flint river.
Class session on the river walk
Students receiving feedback from their Scientific Research Teacher
2020 GSTA Conferencewill be held on February 13-14 at the Columbus Trade & Convention Center. GSTA will be accepting proposals soon so stay tuned for more information! Check with your schools now about funding and make plans to attend!
GSTA Awards and Mini-Grant Applications
Have a great idea for your classroom? Know a great science teacher or administrator? Then take advantage of one of GSTA's awards or mini-grants. GSTA believes it is important to recognize and reward excellence in science teaching. Therefore, we offer the following awards, scholarships, and mini-grants.
Teachers of the Year
Teachers of Promise
Administrator of the Year
ScienceQuest Teacher Scholarships
Science Adventure Student Scholarship
Dallas Stewart Award
6th Annual STEM/STEAM Forum: Making Connections, Innovating,and Sharing STEM/STEAM Pedagogy
]The Georgia STEM/STEAM Forum is a platform for STEM/STEAM educators and administrators from all around the state to share their best practices. The Forum will be held October 20-22, 2019, at The Classic Center in Athens. Register Online: www.stemgeorgia.org.
2019 West Georgia RESA STEAM Conference will be held at the Peachtree City Conference Center on September 12 & 13. The theme is "Fly Me to the Moon & Beyond." For more information and to register, visit: www.wgaresastemconference.com
Zoo Atlanta's 2019-2020 Professional Learning
Are you looking for a fun opportunity to gain access to resources and teaching tools that you can utilize in your classroom and beyond? Zoo Atlanta is excited to share with you the 2019-2020 Professional Learning Workshops. Join us at the Zoo for hands-on activities exploring STEM and ways to incorporate the Zoo in your classroom curriculum.
Session One @ Zoo Atlanta: How Regions Influence Native Plant and Animal Populations (Grades 2-5) on August 24
Session Two @ Carlos Museum: How the Environment Influences Art & Culture (Grades 2-5) on September 21
Evaluate Energy Transfer and Predict Outcomes
Grades 3-5, September 14
Halloween Science Spectacular
Grades K-2, October 19
2019-20 STEAM Collaboration Series: PBL on the African Savanna
Grades K-12, November 2
Activate Prior Knowledge and Demystify Classification
Grades K-2, February 8
Teachers that complete workshops will receive resources to help facilitate their students’ learning. You can also find more information and register online here.
NSTA Teacher Awards: Apply Now
NSTA's Awards and Recognitions program comprises more than a dozen awards, recognizing educators in varied science fields and at every career level. All entries must be received by 12:00 NOON ET on December 18, via online submission. No entry fees are required for the NSTA Teacher Awards.
2020 Earth Expeditions
Miami University’s Project Dragonfly is accepting applications for Earth Expeditions graduate courses that offer extraordinary experiences in 16 countries throughout the world. http://EarthExpeditions.MiamiOH.edu
Earth Expeditions can build toward the Global Field Program (GFP), a master's degree that combines summer field courses worldwide with web learning communities so that students can complete the GFP master's part-time from anywhere in the United States or abroad. http://GFP.MiamiOH.edu
Project Dragonfly also offers the Advanced Inquiry Program (AIP) master's degree that combines web instruction from Miami University with experiential learning and field study through several AIP Master Institutions in the U.S. Applications for Miami's cohorts are being accepted now with place-based experiences provided at zoos in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, New York, San Diego, Seattle, and our newest affiliate learning institution, St. Louis. http://AIP.MiamiOH.edu
Graduate tuition for all programs is greatly reduced because of support from Miami University.
GEEO Teacher Travel Programs
Founded in 2007, Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO) is a 501c3 non-profit organization that has sent over 2000 teachers abroad on adventurous travel programs. With GEEO educators can earn professional development credit while seeing the world. GEEO's trips are 7 to 23 days in length and are designed and discounted to be interesting and affordable for teachers. In addition to amazing tour leaders, many of the programs are accompanied by university faculty that are experts on the destination. The deposit is $250 for each program and then the final payment is due 60 days before departure.
GEEO also provides teachers educational materials and the structure to help them bring their experiences into the classroom. The trips are open to all nationalities of K-12 and university educators, administrators, retired educators, as well as educators’ guests.
GEEO offers travel programs to destinations such as: Argentina and Brazil, Bangkok to Hanoi, Tibet, Camino de Santiago, Eastern Europe, The Galapagos Islands, Greece, Iceland, India and Nepal, Madagascar, Ireland, Armenia and Georgia, Paris to Rome, Multi-Stan, Sri Lanka and The Maldives, Morocco, Peru, Vietnam/Cambodia, and, The Balkans.
Detailed information about each trip, including itineraries, costs, travel dates, and more can be found here.
$1,000 DNR GRANT AVAILABLE FOR TOP CONSERVATION TEACHER
SOCIAL CIRCLE, Ga. (June 20, 2019) – The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is offering a $1,000 grant to a third-, fourth- or fifth-grade public or private school teacher in the state who demonstrates exceptional energy and innovation in teaching life sciences. Science specialists covering those grade levels also may apply. The grant is provided by the Georgia DNR Wildlife Conservation Section and friends group The Environmental Resource Network, or TERN.The deadline to apply is Sept. 6, 2019. DNR will notify the grant winner by Sept. 27. Click here for details.
Toshiba America Foundation offers grants up to $1,000 to K-5 teachers. Applications are due on October 1st each year. Grants For Grades K - 5
Toshiba America Foundationoffers grants for Problem Based Learning projects for 6-12 teachers for both more and less than $5000. Check out their website for application dates and to see previous recipients.