It is a common misconception that seasons occur because of Earth's elliptical orbit around the Sun, with winter occurring when Earth is farthest away from the Sun, and summer when it is closest to it. Upon viewing the photographs, students will observe that despite being taken during the same month they display vastly different temperatures.
Possible Guiding Question(s):Do all places have the same seasons? Why is there snow on the ground in Austrialia while people in North America are swimming and the trees have leaves? Where is Australia located? Where is North America located? Why do we have seasons?
Possible Instructional Use(s):The photographs can be used as anchor phenomenon, as students compare and contrast the two. Additionally, students can work to develop a model that represents the rotation and revolution of the earth that may answer questions they have about the changing of the seasons in each hemisphere.
S7L4a,5a: Effects of Predation on the Niche of Lizards
This HHMI Data Point resource presents the results of a study on the effects of an introduced predator on the behavior and physical traits of anole lizards in the Bahamas. The "Read More" link provides a student-friendly summary of the research to support their analysis of the experimental data.
Possible Guiding Question(s):How did the anole lizards respond to the introduction of a new predator? What caused these responses?
Possible Instructional Use(s):This phenomenon could anchor a series of lessons that focus on species interactions and natural selection.
Your students will be blown away by My Molecularium, a fun, new molecule building game. This exciting new action-oriented app is played by launching atoms at target bond sites to assemble molecules of increasing complexity and difficulty. The app is the latest effort of the successful Molecularium® Project, spearheaded by faculty at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and funded by the National Science Foundation and others to excite audiences of all ages to explore and understand the molecular nature of the world around them.
“This game app was the next logical step in continuing to expand our innovative educational productions that make learning about science great fun,” said Richard W. Siegel, founding director of Rensselaer’s Nanotechnology Center and one of the innovators behind Rensselaer’s Molecularium Project. My Molecularium is available for free at the Apple App Store or Google Play today! Visit:
Next Generation Science Assessment
- Nicole Page, District 7 Director
Developing formative assessment items that give students the opportunity to practice and apply three dimensional learning can be a daunting task. The Next Generation Science Assessment offers free access to a selection of interactive formative assessment tasks for physical and life science. Though the tasks are developed for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), many of the tasks can be used to formatively assess the GSE. Teachers can sign up for complete access or preview the assessments without an account. All of the tasks can be completed online within the task portal while some can be printed and completed using paper and pencil.
- Nicole Page, District 7 Director
The Concord Consortium offers free access to several platforms allowing teachers and students to engage in three dimensional teaching and learning. The Molecular Workbench, a Java-based program, has open-source curriculum modules that use computational experiments to integrate the science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts with numerous physical and life science core ideas. The computational experiments are referred to as such by the software developers because many of the pre-designed simulations enable users to use modeling tools within the program to design their own simulation. Teachers can use the curriculum modules provided or develop their own. If Java-based programs do not work for you, then check out the web-based, HTML5, version called Next-Generation Molecular Workbench.
Georgia School Highlighted for Providing Personalized Learning, Minus the Screentime
Marc Pedersen, GSTA's 2017 High School Teacher of the Year, and his wife and colleague Tricia, were highlighted in this EdSurge article in October. The Pedersen's use hands-on, student-driven investigations, rather than online learning, to provide their students at Paulding County High School with a personalized learning experience.
Notes From the Editors
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
Serving Our Members
Want to be a Science Leader in Georgia? Join GSTA's Board of Directors - Nominations Open
- Dr. Marion Reeves, Nominations Chair
Have you considered how to become more deeply involved in science education leadership in the state of Georgia? Being a member of the board of the Georgia Science Teachers Association will give an opportunity to add your voice to the leadership conversation in the state.
As a district representative you bring the concerns and desires from the teachers in your part of the state to the general conversation. The level representatives have an opportunity to speak up for the needs of the teachers at their grade level and help provide opportunities to support their work. The Secretary keeps the minutes and helps the organization with all communications so that the work of GSTA can continue in an organized manner. All of these offices require a two year commitment to serve. Being president-elect provides three years of different forms of leadership. The first year the president-elect works on the program for the annual conference. During the second year, the president is the face of the organization and speaks, with the guidance of the board, for science teachers needs and concerns throughout the state. The third year the Director coordinates the logistics of the annual conference and selects the speakers to align with the theme.
Now is the time to apply to run for office. As a professional are you ready to become engaged in leadership? These are the options for the coming election in February 2018:
High school representative
Even-numbered (2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12) district representatives
The first step is completing an application at the GSTA website that tells the membership about you and your experience as well as your answers to a few questions about issues around science education in Georgia. Think about the opportunity, and then if you are ready, go the Georgia Science Teacher Association web site and apply. Thank you for considering being a support for your fellow science teachers with your time and leadership.
Serving Our Members
Georgia DOE Applauded for Milestones Transparency
- Karen Garland, Elementary Representative
As teachers we know that others oftentimes assume that we take the entire summer off, just like our students. Turns out, they are partially right. While we do spend time with our family, going on vacation, and/or relaxing, we also devote a portion of time to education-related activities….and this is precisely how I spent my break!
Despite it being summer, I was thrilled to have been chosen to join a team of teachers, from throughout the state, to review end-of-grade science questions and data. Our primary task was to evaluate potential future field-test items for content, bias, sensitivity, depth of knowledge, and alignment to Georgia’s content standards for science. We also assessed the performance data for items that were field tested during Spring 2017. Lastly, we were provided the opportunity to examine the achievement level descriptors (ALDs), which are used to summarize the knowledge and skills expected of students in each achievement level, including “beginning learner,” “developing learner,” “proficient learner,” and “distinguished learner.”
It was enlightening to observe the efforts that Georgia goes through to ensure that the assessment is designed, developed, and administered in a way that treats students equally and fairly. The transparency afforded by the state demonstrated that teachers do have a voice in the process. With this in mind, questions go through multiple, rigorous teacher reviews so that they meet the highest standards for quality and objectivity.
We could “accept”, “reject” or “reject with revisions” questions that we did or did not find suitable. Additionally, we discussed the appropriateness of the questions, reading passages, graphs, charts, illustrations, vocabulary, and layout. It was not about questions trying to trick students, but trying to provide them every opportunity to be successful by showing what they know, and assessing them at various levels of rigor. We are optimistically confident that the assessments are appropriate and do match the instructional activities that are taking place in classrooms across the state.
Connecting Research and Best Practice
Improving Science Learning in the High School
- Teresa Massey, District 10 Representative
Science Education in Georgia has taken a turn in my opinion for the better. There are several pieces that fit together to form the structure to support student learning and achievement. The new Georgia Science Standards of Excellence fosters students taking a lead in their own learning and teachers working as facilitators. Students are asked to obtain, evaluate and communicate information through authentic research using real world applications. Students are further challenged to learn through incorporation of the Three-Dimensional Learning Process that focuses students to employ Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science and Engineering Practices and Crosscutting Concepts. Educational research shows various modes of lesson roll out that allows students to engage in Science 21st Century Learning. Educators are strongly encouraged to use collaboration to meet the needs of students. The science faculty at DeKalb County’s Elizabeth Andrews High School are diligently working to put the pieces together to make learning engaging for students and providing a means to close the achievement gap in science.
The science department at Elizabeth Andrews High School is entering their second year of implementation of the 5E Lesson Model, and incorporation of Three-Dimensional Learning as well as the third year of weekly Wednesday collaboration. The school has a unique opportunity that allows teachers to collaborate from 1:00-3:00 every Wednesday. The process has been a work in progress with each year becoming more reflective and insightful. The teachers are becoming more comfortable as they understand how to effectively incorporate the Georgia Standards of Excellence, Three-Dimensional learning, the 5E lesson and collaboration into the teaching and learning process.
The teachers at EAHS have found that the 5E Lesson model works in tandem with the Georgia Standards of Excellence and Three-Dimensional Learning. Students are engaged with phenomena where they are asked to make claims. Students explore resources and make models or write statements that support or refute their claims. During the explain part of the 5E lesson the teacher listens as students collaborate their research with the class. The teacher clears up misconceptions and provides content support. The teacher is the facilitator as she walks the classroom providing support as students work in groups to apply the content that supports learning targets and essential questions. Students and the teacher extend learning by looking further to how content can be applied and to make connections with past and future learning. Students are evaluated based on their answers to guided questions that are formatted through various assessment strategies. The teacher evaluates student learning and plans the next lesson to include reteaching if needed.
As the school year moves forward the goal is to add fidelity to the process and to assure that teachers are properly putting the pieces together. The administration and other school leaders are being challenged to be a part of the Science department’s success as they are scheduled to be trained to know and understand what a 21st Century Science classroom looks like. Students are also part of the process as teachers are working with parents and students to help develop efficiency for their learning. It is truly a team effort at Elizabeth Andrews High as the pieces are put together to make science teaching and learning come together for student achievement.
Connecting Research and Best Practice
Correlation Study of Food Quality and Eczema in Homeless People
Editors Note: eObservations occasionally features student scientific research with the goal of recognizing and supporting such work. These articles are published without scientific peer review.
- Eunsoo Jenny Oh, East Coweta High School
Eczema can cause persistent itching, skin wounds, or skin infections of homeless people and lower the quality of life of homeless people, who are often unable to acquire resources that help maintain health. A common representative of dermatopathy is eczema, a condition where patches of skin become inflamed, itchy, red, rough, and cracked. Blisters can also occur (1, 2).
According to previous research studies, junk food or old food may increase the risk of developing eczema (3, 4). Homeless people have to look for food at each mealtime and often have to get in line regardless of extreme weather. Since they are homeless, they have to carry around their food and this item is easily stolen. All day, they worry about where to find food (5). Homeless people reported in numerous instances they would obtain food from garbage cans (6). Homeless people have a variety of health problems ranging from simple to serious diseases (7). However, there has been minimal research focused on the relationship between the diet and skin health of the homeless people. Therefore, this study was conducted to explore the correlation of junk food, old food, and certain eczema symptoms in Atlanta homeless. The hypothesis was that adolescents who consumed junk food and old food more frequently would experience more frequent symptoms of eczema.
What are the characteristics of junk food and old food ingestion of respondents?
What are the characteristics of eczema symptoms of respondents?
Is there a correlation between diet and eczema?
From October to November of 2016, 103 homeless people in Atlanta were included in this study. Information about the study was provided before the research, and homeless people chose to participate. To measure for Characteristics of food, categories divided into junk food, old food were used to determine characteristics of food consumption. “How many times have you eaten the following food in the past week?” was questioned to the respondent. Answers were rated on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 to 5. For example, 1=none, 2=1~2 times, 3=3~4 times, 4=5~6times, 5=7times or more. To examine the respondent’s severity of eczema, “How often have you experienced the following symptoms in the past 3 months?” was questioned. The symptoms of eczema evaluated were very itchy skin, dry skin, repeated rashes, and inability to sleep due to itchiness. Answers were rated on a 5-point Likert-type scale ranging from 1 to 5. For example, 1=Never, 2=Rarely, 3=Sometimes, 4=Often, 5=Very often. Cronbach’s α=.83. As Demographic variables such as age, sex were included as covariates for the analysis. For data processing, SPSS 21.0 was used. Descriptive statistics, correlation analysis, and multiple regression analysis were examined.
As Socio-demographic Characteristics, of the respondents, 35(37.2%) people were in their 50’s, and 27(28.7%) people were in their 40’s. 66% of the respondents were middle aged (40’s and 50’s). 15% of them were in their 60’s or over. Males accounted for 77% of the total respondents. There were more homeless men than women.
1) The frequency of fast food and old food ingestion
27.6% of them consumed junk food 1 to 2 times. Next, 26.4% consumed junk food 3 to 4 times, and 5.7% consumed junk food more than 7 times. Regarding consumption of old or spoiled food, 28.8% consumed it 1 to 2 times, 16.1% consumed it 3 to 4 times, and 5.7% consumed it more than 7 times.
2) The frequency of eczema symptoms
The most common symptom that respondents experienced was “dry skin” with 16% answering “sometimes,” 14.6% answering “often,” and 5.2% answering “very often.” The next most common symptom was “very itchy skin” with 19.2% answering “sometimes,” 11.1% answering “often,” and 6.1% answering “very often.” Regarding repeated rashes, 7.1% answered “very often,” and 5.1% answered “often.” More than 8% of the respondents could not sleep due to itchy skin.
3) The correlation between fast foods and eczema
There was no correlation between food and eczema of homeless people that was statistically significant.
Main conclusions are as follows. Regarding diet, more than 17% of the respondents consumed junk food and old spoiled food 5 to 6 times a week. Therefore, the efforts of the state government, non-governmental organizations, and citizens are needed to increase the amounts of healthy and fresh food that can be provided to the homeless people.
Regarding eczema, 17% had very itchy skin during daytime, and 20% had dry skin. 12% had frequent repeated rashes On the contrary, about half of the homeless people were almost free from eczema symptoms. Dermatologic care for the homeless people with chronic eczema is especially necessary. There was no correlation between food and eczema of homeless people that was statistically significant. As a result, rather than simplifying the cause of eczema symptoms as diet, biopsychosocial factors must be considered. Furthermore, since the survey was conducted from October to November, the significance of dietary induction of eczema may have been reduced due to the weather. Although this study has important implications for the relation between diet and eczema of homeless people, it is limited in sampling and use of measure. Only one homeless population in Atlanta was included in this study, so the results of this study have difficulty to be generalized to all homeless population in various regions.
I would like to thank Mr. Sewell and Mrs. Milam for their support and advice throughout the research study. I would also like to thank Dr. Hyeseong Jeon (email@example.com) for her advice in the statistics operation of this paper.
1 “Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders. Dermatology 3rd ed. ((Elsevier Saunders Bolognia, J., Jorizzo, J. L., & Schaffer, J. V. 2012)).”
6 Kushel MB, Vittinghoff E, Haas JS. Factors associated with the health care utilization of homeless persons. JAMA. 2001;285(2):200-206. doi:10.1001/jama.285.2.200
7 Rhy, S. J. A stusy on the health status among the homeless in the shelter. The graduate schoolof Pusan national university. 2004.
Science On My Mind: Register and Plan for the 2018 NSTA National Conference in Atlanta
The local conference committee continues to work with NSTA staff to make plans for an outstanding professional learning experience during the 2018 NSTA National Conference. The conference will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center and Omni Hotel in Atlanta March 15-18, 2018. The local team is led by Conference Chair Zoe Evans of Carroll County, Program Coordinator Jeremy Peacock of Northeast Georgia RESA, and Local Arrangements Coordinator Rabieh Hafza of Atlanta Public Schools. Here are some of the highlights that are already planned.
Conference Strands and Featured Presenters
Focusing on Evidence of 3D Learning
Speaker to be determined
Imagining Science as the Foundation for STEM
Dr. Jo Anne Vasquez, STEM Author & Consultant
Reflecting on Access for All Students
Speaker to be determined
Comprehending the Role of Literacy in Science
Dr. Cynthia Greenleaf, WestEd
In addition to these strand-specific speakers, Dr. Carla Zembal-Saul will deliver a special presentation on elementary science education, and NSTA continues to recruit other featured presented and speakers. In addition to these featured speakers, the conference will offer hundreds of sessions by educators from Georgia and around the country. There will also be opportunities to take field trip to see the exciting science happening around Atlanta. You can review the list of Exhibitors to make the most of your Exhibit Hall visits.Conference registration and housing reservations are now open. Make your plans now and don't miss this opportunity to improve student learning in your classroom.
The Georgia Tech Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics & Computing (CEISMC) is gearing up for the 2nd Annual STEAM Leadership Conference in March 2018. We would love for you to be involved.
Technology is all around us. From smartphones to voice assistants and self-driving cars, our world is becoming increasingly high-tech. We believe technology has a place in every discipline — and studying its role in our lives is critical for students of all ages. Share your tech-focused lesson plan with us, and you could win up to $1,000 for classroom supplies, educational subscriptions and apps for your students, and more. Learn more here.
Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards
Vernier Software & Technology and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) are now accepting applications for the annual Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. The 2018 awards program will recognize up to seven educators—one elementary teacher, two middle school teachers, three high school teachers, and one college-level educator—who promote the innovative use of data-collection technology.
Prizes include $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier products, and up to $1,500 toward expenses to attend the 2018 NSTA National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Award recipients are chosen based on their application, which is judged by a panel of NSTA-appointed experts. All applications must be submitted by December 15, 2017.
Lessons with Legos - PreK–8 teachers will find lesson plans for using LEGO Education bricks and other LEGO Education materials or products. Created by teachers, the lessons foster curiosity, engagement, and collaboration and address topics in engineering, coding, computer science, creative exploration, and Maker learning.
USDA Team Nutrition Program - Excite students about gardening and nutrition with this curriculum from the USDA’s Team Nutrition program. The curriculum presents a series of 11 investigations and fun experiences connecting the school garden to the classroom, school cafeteria, and home. In addition, the curriculum features fruit and vegetable flash cards, bulletin board materials, veggie dice, and a nutrition newsletter for parents. The materials are available for all to download online; schools participating in the USDA’s National School Lunch Program or other Child Nutrition program can also request a print version of the curriculum.
This is an awesome website for science educators and students in grades K-12! Learningscience.org has links to a variety of “Tools to Do Science” (such as graph paper, rulers, timers, etc.), YouTube Science Channels, and Google Resources for science. There are also image galleries, interactive lesson plans, and so much more. A new section of the site is called “Help Scientists do Science.” In this section, students are able to join a real scientist and become a citizen scientist. The resources are arranged by science discipline and are linked to the NGSS (which can then be easily linked to the GSE).
A.R. Johnson Health Science and Engineering Magnet School Middle School Science Showcase
On September 28, AR Johnson Health Science and Engineering Middle School in Augusta, GSTA District 9, held a Middle School Science Showcase with over 200 in attendance. The show was a collaborative effort by the three middle school teachers, Kristina Istre, Steve Roach, and Donita Legoas. The sixth grade students created a rock show to present egg carton rock collections, an ultraviolet collection of minerals, and 3 different types of crystals created in class. They also had professionals from the Aiken, SC Gem and Mineral Society presenting a variety of rocks, fossils, and minerals as well as opportunities for families to become more involved in the study of rock s and minerals through the group’s activities. Seventh graders created cell models, cell analogy posters, as well as “Organelle Wanted” projects. They also offered visitors the opportunity to create their own edible cell model cookies. Finally, the eighth grade students created a large interactive periodic table with qr codes. The event was a huge success, and it was a wonderful culmination of the first grading period!
*If your middle school has an event or activity you would like to Highlight, please send an email to Donita Legoas. I look forward to hearing your story!
Data Resources for High School Science
- Bob Kuhn, High School Representative
Data analysis is a large part of most high school science classes. Finding reliable data resources and those that are geared for teachers has been challenging. Profiled below are three data resources for the high school classroom and one database for scientific data for those looking for more.
HHMI Data Points - The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has a free collection of data analysis resources scaffolded for teachers to use in their classrooms. Each Data Point has a figure, breakdown of the graph, background information, and classroom questions. A new Data Point is released each month. All Data Points are constructed from peer reviewed journal articles .
Data Nuggets - Data Nuggets is a website that contains a plethora of data driven resources for the classroom. Data Nuggets are developed from authentic, peer reviewed journals and current literature. The Data Nuggets feature teacher guides and activities ready for the classroom.
Science in the Classroom - Science in the Classroom are a collection of annotated scientific papers to be used in the classroom. Students can toggle different layers for each journal article, highlighting parts of the paper corresponding to the scientific method and experimentation. Each paper has a breakdown of the graphs and figures, complete with leading questions for the students. Great for bringing current scientific literature into the classroom in an easy way.
Dryad Digital Repository - The Dryad Digital Repository has become a go-to place for scientists to make their data public access. Over 60,000 data sets are freely available to be used. Although there is no scaffolding for the classroom, teachers looking for data to use can search by topic and filter journal articles of interest.
Become a CDC Science Ambassador Fellow!
Apply Now! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recruiting teachers and educational leaders to bring public health into middle and high schools across the United States and beyond. Selected fellows tour CDC’s state-of-the-art facilities and work with CDC scientists to design innovative lessons using today’s emerging public health topics.
Teachers Invited to Fisheries Society Annual Meeting
The Georgia Chapter of the American Fisheries Society holds an annual meeting where college students and professionals in the field of fisheries science gather and share research and other information about Georgia’s fishery resources. The 2018 meeting will be in January at Unicoi State Park and Lodge, and the group would like to invite high school biology or environmental science teachers to attend the meeting. Learn more about the Georgia AFS on their website and download the meeting flyer and registration form to learn more about this opportunity.
Invitation to participate in the field testing of NIH-funded Pandem-Sim
High school (10-12) life science (biology, anatomy and physiology, environmental science, or advanced life science selections) teachers are invited to participate in the pre-mission lessons and Pandem-Sim live, role-play simulation conducted via videoconferencing with the Wheeling, WV Challenger Learning Center. Students act as field epidemiologists to prepare case definitions, create epigraphs, diagnose infectious diseases, and develop public health reports. Students and teachers complete pre- and post-surveys. Teachers also provide formative feedback for improving the simulation. There is no cost for any materials, and teachers receive a stipend of $150.00 and a simulation experience worth $550.
Our field testing runs from January through April 2018. As part of our NIH-focused diversity recruitment, we especially encourage teachers from racial and ethnic groups shown to be underrepresented nationally to participate.
We also need a few teachers to review the NIH-funded Pandem-Data (big data) resources. Pandem-Data is an educational curriculum that introduces high school students to the concepts of Big Data and specifically how it is used to improve the prediction of the spread of infectious diseases, from local outbreaks to global pandemics. With Pandem-Data, students learn how to model disease outbreaks and then use professional epidemiological modeling software that accesses Big Data. Students in all of the Pandem projects learn about career-related opportunities and preparation for them.
As seen in recent news reports, teachers are spending out of pocket money to support their classrooms. Science teachers conducting lab activities often have a greater need for resources.
Do you have all the funding and supplies needed to teach?
As a fellow science teacher, I am aware that some science teachers have adequate funding while others are in desperate need of resources. Little is known about science funding, and I need your input.
Help me document funding needs, funding inequities, and what it costs to offer high quality science instruction. Please consider taking this 5-10-minute online survey to give your perspective on funding and resources in high school science classrooms. Participants will be eligible to be entered in a drawing for one of ten $25 gift certificates to Amazon for completing the survey.
Use this link below to complete the survey. Please forward to colleagues who may be interested in sharing their experiences.