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Science on My Mind: NSTA 2018 Preview
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 October 9, 2017 Science On My Mind: NSTA 2018 Preview

In This Issue
· NSTA Conference Preview
· Scaffolding the Crosscutting Concepts 
· Is It Engineering or Not?
· Synthesis Modeling
· Phenomena of the Month
· GSTA Recommends
· General
· Elementary
· Middle/High
· Notes from the Editors
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Phenomena of the Month

S1P1d: "Dancing" Rice

Rice grains "dance" on a speaker as music is played through the speaker. 

Possible Guiding Question(s): What is causing the rice to move on the drum? Why is the rice moving? Why does it move differently with the different sounds that are produced? Why does it look like the rice is "dancing" to the beat? Can we see sound? What do you feel in your throat when you hum? How is this similiar to the "dancing" rice? 

Possible Instructional Use(s): After viewing the video, have students discuss if sound is able to travel through different mediums. They feel the vibrations in their throat as they hum music, and on their lips as they play their straw kazoos. They see that when a ruler is struck, it vibrates, producing a sound. Drums are also used to show vibrations, They will design a model that uses their sense of hearing to judge the effectiveness of different solids to transmit sound vibrations.

View this and other 1st grade phenomena in GSTA's GSE Phenomena Bank. Please also submit your own phenomenal ideas.

SC5b,c: Balloon in the Flask

Put between 10 and 20 mL of water in a flask and heat it to a boil. Let the water boil vigorously for one full minute. Remove the flask from the heat and put a balloon on the flask. Let the flask cool slowly.  

Possible Guiding Question(s): Making Predictions: Explain the procedure and ask students to make predictions. What do you think will happen? Why do you think this? After the demonstration: 1) What is in the flask besides water? 2) What is the water doing when we boil it? 3) What is the steam doing to the air in the flask? 4) Why did the balloon go inside the flask (explain in terms of molecular motion)? Why did the balloon continue to expand inside the flask? 

Possible Instructional Use(s): You could use this phenomenon to explain gas laws or how molecular motion varies with different phases or phase changes.

View this and other chemistry phenomena in GSTA's GSE Phenomena BankPlease also submit your own phenomenal ideas.

GSTA Recommends

Class Hook

- Ashley Cody, District 6 Director

How many times have you looked for that perfect video clip to introduce a topic, reinforce a topic, or to add a little humor to your instruction? Class Hook is a website that has free video clips on just about anything you can think of.

At you choose the subject you want the clip for and the length you would like the clip to be. If you are looking for a clip from a series such as A Bug’s Life, 100 Greatest Discoveries, Bill Nye, or even The Day After Tomorrow, they have it.

The Class Hook videos can be added to any presentation by copying the URL, using the embedded code, or sharing. The videos can be added to Google Classroom for your students to watch and analyze for homework or reinforcement.

Seeing Students Learn Science

As science teaching and learning change to match 3D standards, like the Science GSE, assessment must change, too. Seeing Students Learn Sciencea recent report from the Board on Science Education (BOSE), provides research-based guidance on how teachers can use classroom assessment to promote 3D science learning. This NSTA Blog post provides a brief summary of the book from BOSE director Heidi Schweingruber.
Get Schooled: Math/ Science Skills and Showing Students What Scientists & Engineers Do

AJC's Get Schooled blog published two posts last month that will interest GSTA members.  Columbia Count Superintendent Sandra Carraway and Fort Gordon garrison commander Col. Todd Turner wrote a joint column about the importance of math and science skills for the military and Georgia's cyber economy

The very next day, the blog featured GSTA member and 2017 Georgia Teacher of the Year Casey Bethel. That post features a TEDx talk in which Bethel promotes school-industry partnerships that help students see scientists and engineers in action.
NSTA Legislative Update

See NSTA's latest legislative update to learn about President Trump's proposal to boost STEM Education spending by $200 million, and other science and STEM policy news.

Focusing on Instruction to Improve My School

- via NSTA's Next Gen Navigator

As a teacher and writer of the Next Generation Science Standards, Zoe Evans is intimately knowledgeable about them. Now as a principal, she is helping teachers understand them and make changes in instruction and assessment practices by focusing on "one thing" each day. Read More

Federal Agencies Fulfilling Their Mission to Support Science Education

- via NSTA Express

Have you benefitted from educational federal agency programs? Share your stories and experiences with us so that other teachers can be inspired to seek out and use similar resources and programs to support science teaching. Learn more about the connection among science, education, and federal programs in this 
blog post from NSTA Executive Director David Evans.

GPB Highlights Northside Elementary STEM Program

GPB's Education Matters blog regularly features stories from Georgia educators in STEM and other areas. Recently the blog published a profile of the STEM program at Northside Elementary School in Houston County. The program is connecting student learning to real-world problems and working to help students develop skills that will help them escape generational poverty.
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
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Serving Our Members

Science On My Mind: Planning Continues for 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.
    Sponsored by:National Geographic Learning is Georgia's source for K-12 science instruction.
    Diving Deeper Into 3D Learning

    Using the Crosscutting Concepts to Scaffold Student Thinking

    - Dr. Amy Peacock, Supervisors Representative; Dr. Jeremy Peacock, Communications Director

    Editors Note: This article was originally published on the NSTA Blog May 24, 2017.

    At the recent NSTA National Conference in Los Angeles, three-dimensional learning was, of course, a major topic of discussion. When those discussions focus on classroom instruction, though, the crosscutting concepts are often the forgotten dimension. Some educators argue that the crosscutting concepts should develop in students’ minds organically, and that it’s enough for a teacher to simply guide students to reflect on a learning experience to find connections to those concepts. Other educators see the value in making the crosscutting concepts more explicit for students, but they find it difficult to do so. We fell into this second camp. 

    We realized the crosscutting concepts are valuable tools for helping students develop, understand, and connect disciplinary core ideas and practices across learning experiences.  However, we wondered how we could help students make these connections in effective ways.  We started to see the answer to that question after reviewing the plant growth and gas exchange unit developed at Michigan State University (MSU). The matter and energy process tool used in that unit provides explicit scaffolding for students as they apply the Energy and Matter crosscutting concept to phenomena ranging from a drying sponge to a growing tree. This scaffold helps students see the structure of the crosscutting concept, and it forces them to connect general, abstract ideas about matter and energy with specific, concrete phenomena. Once we considered this tool, we envisioned ways to help students develop their ability to apply the crosscutting concepts when analyzing phenomena.

    With this model in mind, we developed a series of graphic organizers (available as Google Slides) that scaffold each of the seven crosscutting concepts for middle and high school students. As we did this, we wanted to be sure to address the most important aspects of each concept. To accomplish this, we referred extensively to the explanations of each crosscutting concept in the Framework for K–12 Science Education (ch. 4, pp. 83–102) and to the grade- band progressions on the NGSS@NSTA Hub.

    Crosscutting Concepts Progressions

    1. Patterns
    2. Cause and Effect
    3. Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
    4. Systems and System Models
    5. Energy and Matter
    6. Structure and Function
    7. Stability and Change

    For example, the overall description for Cause and Effect on the Hub states, “deciphering causal relationships, and the mechanisms by which they are mediated, is a major activity of science and engineering.” As a result, the mechanism linking the two events in a cause-effect relationship is a central feature of our Cause and Effect graphic organizer.

    As you review the remaining graphic organizers, you will see that we adapted MSU’s Matter and Energy Process Tool only slightly. You’ll also notice eight graphic organizers, one more than the seven crosscutting concepts. We believe Scale, Proportion, and Quantity had two key aspects that could not both be represented in a single graphic organizer. The Scale organizer is actually inspired by another tool from the same MSU unit.

    You will also see that each graphic organizer prompts students to apply the crosscutting concept to a specific phenomenon. We want students to think not in generalities, such as how the structure of cell organelles promotes the cell’s function, but rather in more specifically grounded ideas, such as why a person with a mitochondrial disease experiences chronic fatigue.

    Finally, you’ll see considerable overlap across the graphic organizers, particularly regarding the role of evidence in supporting claims. This reinforces the idea that the crosscutting concepts are not isolated ideas, but interrelated lenses that scientists and engineers use to understand and analyze phenomena and problems.

    What does this look like in the classroom? Teachers have used the graphic organizers in scenarios ranging from students analyzing the cause and mechanism of swarming locusts after reading an article about the phenomenon to using a modified version of the Matter and Energy graphic organizer to analyze changes in matter that occurred during a reaction in a bag activity.

    One of our favorite uses is in a storyline we developed to investigate the causes of land and sea breezes at the beach. After viewing a video of a flag at the beach blowing in different directions during the day and night, students engage in a series of investigations to help them understand the factors contributing to this phenomenon.

    Students then use the Cause and Effect graphic organizer to make sense of how these factors (differential heating of land and water, air pressure, convection, and so on) cause the flag to blow in different directions at different times. The key is that students are actively using the graphic organizer to help them comprehend the phenomenon. They are not simply taking notes about the phenomenon or about the general ideas of the crosscutting concept.

    We encourage you to try out these graphic organizers, and we hope they will help you make the crosscutting concepts more explicit and more useful for your students. We hope your students will see the graphic organizers and the crosscutting concepts themselves as thinking tools that will help them make sense of the world around them and connect various phenomena and core ideas. As you use these resources with your students, we would love to hear about your experiences and welcome your feedback.

    Implementing the Science GSE

    Is It Engineering Or Not? (Article Summary)

    - Denise Webb, Secretary

    The original article, Is It Engineering Or Not? To bring engineering tasks into the classroom, know what qualifies-and what doesn’t, by Brooke A. Whitworth and Lindsay B. Wheeler appeared in the Summer 2017 issue of The Science Teacher, and the full article is freely available online.

    The article offers a framework to determine whether a task is based on engineering. When designing an engineering task, ask yourself the following three-part question. “Are students designing a solution to a problem under constraints without step-by-step directions?” Engineering tasks must start with a problem that students can solve. It must also involve designing a solution to the problem under constraints. Therefore, following step-by-step instructions to build or construct a product does not qualify as engineering. What do constraints look like? It may include time, money, available materials, environmental regulations, laws of nature, ability to manufacture, reparability, etc. (Ketehi, Pearson, and Feder 2009)

    This article points out that to be authentically engaged in engineering, students must design, build, test and redesign a prototype. However, some engineering-based tasks could include drawings or written plans to solve a problem if they are given specific design criteria or constraints for the design or plan.

    There are valuable tasks like, constructing physical or conceptual models of cells, circuits, or weather instruments that play an important role in the classroom. However, they are not considered engineering tasks because they do not involve solving a problem under constraints.

    How do I integrate engineering tasks into my science instruction? Integrating engineering tasks into the science curriculum is a great way to grab students’ attention and involve them in authentic, real-world problems. The includes a chart shows engineering examples in high school biology, chemistry, Earth science, and physics.  Here are some examples for elementary and middle grades. Here are some examples for elementary and middle grades.

    Prototype: Students are told that a tall building will be constructed the downtown sector of a city. The builders need a way to get the materials to the top of the building safely. The teacher provides a variety of materials for students to build and test their machines. The materials the students are provided access to are associated with a total cost and the students are expected to create a budget out of such constraints. Students design, build, test and modify their machines to develop a presentation for the contractor.

    Drawing: Students are told that a major electronics company is developing a pinball game that will be installed in every Pizza shack around the country. A variety of materials available for the task are described, and students are given size, engagement, and sound restrictions for the pinball game. Students then use their knowledge of electric circuits to plan and draw their pinball machine. They then share their designs in groups to receive feedback and make modifications before turning in a final design.

    Incorporating engineering into the science classroom may increase student interest in STEM careers and increase STEM literacy. It can also help make science and math relevant to students. (Ketehi, Pearson, and Feder 2009). Students also learn such skills as; critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Engineering in the classroom allows students to learn that failure can be utilized as an opportunity to learn invaluable life lessons. (Cunningham and Carlsen 2014).

    Connecting Research and Best Practice

    Models and the Standards: What should your students know?

    - Dr. Daniel Capps, Assistant Professor of Science Education, University of Georgia

    Building and revising models, what educators call modeling, is an important way that scientists develop and test their ideas about the phenomena they study. Likewise, modeling is an excellent way for science learners to develop and test their ideas about phenomena they encounter in the classroom. Thus, it is not surprising that modeling is a key area of emphasis in the new Georgia Standards for Excellence (GSE) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

    As promising as modeling seems to be for instruction, there is much that experts in science education do not understand about it. As an example, researchers have long been perplexed by the intractable and pervasive problem that learners tend to think that models should be full and accurate reflections of the phenomena they represent, what some have called “copies of reality”, rather than partial or selected renderings of these phenomena. This misconception often arises during (and perhaps because of) instruction, but it is rarely addressed, leaving students with a fundamental misunderstanding of what models are. While research in this area has generated good ideas for teaching what models are not, it has yet to produce precise ideas for what to teach about models that make them not copies.

    Since standards are only as good as the research base supporting their development, it is not surprising that standards describing what students should learn about models are somewhat vague. As an example, the GSE and NGSS contain multiple performance expectations, across all grade levels, calling for students to both use and develop models to represent and/or explain science ideas; yet, nowhere do they discuss what models are or what students should understand about them. This lack of specificity is also apparent in the reform documents that undergird the standards, including Taking Science to School and the Framework for K-12 Science Education. These documents state that models are not copies, and provide some examples of different kinds of models; however, they fail to define essential qualities of models that students should know.

    The lack of specificity of what to teach about models raises a problem for us as educators, especially if we think of standards as checklists of ideas that we need to accomplish in a given year, as we are being asked to teach beyond what is currently known! Conversely, if we think of standards as the visionary documents they were written to be, projecting beyond what is currently achievable to what could be achieved in the future, then there is an exciting opportunity for teachers and researchers to innovate to meet the standards.

    This is exactly what my colleague, Jonathan Shemwell (University of Alabama), a group of high school teachers, and I have been doing over the past several years. Our team has been working on defining essential characteristics of models that students should know, and developing instructional supports for teaching these ideas. A candidate idea we are investigating is that models are abstractions, or ideas that are distilled from the phenomena they are meant to represent. To help students learn about abstraction we have developed an instructional approach called synthesis modeling where students study multiple instances of a phenomenon that differ on the surface, but share the same underlying structure. Students are then asked to construct a model that relates all the instances. As a simple example of synthesis modeling, imagine students are studying homes from different parts of the world. They might learn about igloos, yurts, and other human dwellings, and compare these to their own home. They would then be asked to construct a model of a dwelling that would adequately represent all of the homes they studied. To construct the model, the students would need to eliminate surface-level features and distill the shared underlying features common to all of the dwellings. This model might include features like an entrance or an exit, and a covering to shield inhabitants from the elements, but would not include features specific to particular kinds of homes like a door, a peaked roof, or a domed shape. By creating a synthesis model, students would come to realize that their model is a distillation of the essential features of a dwelling, meaning it could not be a copy of any single home (see Figure 1). This would support learners in moving beyond the persistent misunderstanding that models are copies and help them develop more robust understandings about the nature of models.

    Figure 1. The synthesis model is an abstraction of the features of the particular homes, but can still represent each of the particular homes.

    Our team was recently awarded a National Science Foundation grant to further pursue this idea in the area of high school environmental science and biology. As part of the project, we will recruit a small group of high school environmental science and biology teachers from Georgia and Alabama to join our team. These “lead teachers” should be interested in being on the leading edge of learning and teaching about models. The team will work together during the 2017-2018 school year to pilot some ideas, and in the summer of 2018 we will provide a professional development workshop for other interested Georgia and Alabama teachers. There will be financial compensation for the lead teachers and opportunities to travel to conferences. More importantly, lead teachers will have an opportunity to learn about models and modeling and have a hand in developing knowledge about what students should learn about models. If you are interested in getting involved (either as a lead teacher during the 2017-2018 school year or would like to participate in professional development workshop in the summer of 2018), please contact me ( ASAP and let me know how you might like to be involved.

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    Gladiators Heroes of the Colosseum at Fernbank
    GSTA Awards and Mini-Grant Applications Now Open

    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
    • $750 Mini-Grants
    • Conference Grant
    • ScienceQuest Teacher Scholarships
    • Science Adventure Student Scholarship
    • Dallas Stewart Award

    Nominate a colleague, apply for yourself, or share this with your network of science educators. The application deadline is November 30th. Visit the awards page for complete details. All awards will be presented at the GSTA Awards Banquet to be held in February 2018. We look forward to seeing you there.

    How is STEM education shaping your students' futures? Let's ask them!

    GSTA is proud to announce the 2017 GSTA STEMtalk student video competition to coincide with STEM Georgia's 2017 STEM Forum. The competition gives K-12 students in Georgia the opportunity to share their thoughts about how their STEM learning experiences are shaping their futures. To enter the competition, students create a TEDx-style video that is under five minutes long to answer the question, How is STEM shaping your future? Winning students will be invited to speak at the 2017 STEM Forum in Athens. The competition requires a short turnaround, so get your students started immediately. All submissions are due October 12th, 2017. Find additional information about the competition on GSTA's STEMtalk webpage.

    Save the Date for the 2018 Atlanta Science Festival

    The 2018 Atlanta Science Festival will be held March 9-24. That's right, we're extending the festival from one to two weeks. And that's not all that's changed. This year the Exploration Expo will be help at Piedmont Park in Midtown! Explore the Festival Here!

    "Think Outside" at the 2017 Outdoor Learning Symposium

    The Outdoor Learning Symposium is an annual fall event intended for private and public school teachers, PTA volunteers, youth organization leaders, resources agency educators, nature center instructors, camp counselors, and all interested volunteers and professionals from across the state, providing opportunities for networking, sharing lessons learned, exciting outdoor teaching ideas, and strategies for taking students outside. This year’s Symposium will provide sessions on Georgia reptiles and amphibians, simple app creation for use in outdoor learning, Georgia geology and biogeography, garden math, citizen science, and much more. Registration begins at 8:00 am followed by age-oriented outdoor learning sessions, networking opportunities, and lunch provided by local chefs. This year's event will be Friday, October 20th, at Southwest Atlanta Christian Academy. Register and learn more here.

    NSTA Teacher Awards: Apply Now

    NSTA Awards and Recognitions comprise more than a dozen awards, recognizing educators in varied science fields and at every career level. All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on December 15, via online submission, with the exception of the Shell Science Teaching Award, for which applications must be completed by January 13, 2018. No entry fees are required for NSTA Teacher Awards.

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    Register for the Georgia STEM/STEAM Forum

    This year's STEM/STEAM Forum will take place October 23-24 at the Classic Center in Athens. The conference will feature keynote speaker Stephanie Espy, author of STEM Gems. The event will also feature more than 200 sessions by Georgia STEM educators. Learn more and register here.
    Enter Now for a Chance to Win the 2017–2018 Shell Science Lab Challenge

    Submissions are now being accepted for the eighth annual 
    Shell Science Lab Challenge. The Challenge encourages science teachers (grades 6–12) in the United States and Canada, who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences using limited school and laboratory resources, to apply for a chance to win up to $93,000 in prizes, including a grand prize school science lab makeover support package valued at $20,000. The deadline for submissions is December 15.
    Toshiba and NSTA Kick Off 26th Annual ExploraVision Program

    Registration is now open for the 2017-2018 Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition. Student participants will have a chance to win a number of great prizes, including $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bonds (at maturity).  Learn more and register here by February 8, 2018.

    Miami University’s Project Dragonfly Now Accepting Applications

    Miami University’s Project Dragonfly is accepting applications for 2018 Earth Expeditions graduate courses that offer extraordinary experiences in 16 countries throughout the world.

    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.

    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 2018 cohorts are being accepted now with place-based experiences provided at zoos in Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, New York, San Diego, and Seattle.

    Graduate tuition for all programs is greatly reduced because of support from Miami University.

    Travel the world affordably, earn professional development credit, and bring global understanding into your classroom! 

    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 21 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 is offering the following travel programs for 2018: Argentina and Brazil, Bangkok to Hanoi, Colombia, 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 at


    Symbolic Monarch Migration Project

    Every November, millions of monarch butterflies migrate to their overwintering sites in the mountains of Mexico. At the same time, symbolic paper monarchs made by students in all grades in the U.S. and Canada find their way to students who live in the monarch sanctuary area. These symbolic butterflies build bridges of communication between the students. For videos, lesson plans, and the paper butterfly template visit the website.

    The New Science Teacher

    K - 8 educators can research information about science topics as well as learn the pedagogy behind best teaching practices. In addition, the site offers lesson plans, videos, and interactive learning resources. Click on "Hot Science" to discover interesting facts and more about science history, trivia, research, and safety; there is even a feature “ask a scientist” if you have a specific science question that is not answered on the site.

    1st Annual Georgia College K-5 State Science Fair

    Georgia College is proud to announce we will expand our regional science competitions to offer the 1st Annual Georgia College K-5 State Science Fair (pilot competition) held on Friday, February 2, 2018. With most of the state regional science and engineering competitions only targeting Grades 6-12, we feel the need to get the students excited earlier in their academic careers. It's going to be important, if not critical, for STEM education to help and encourage students go beyond the textbook. Almost all career fields today require a solid STEM foundation. That’s precisely why these are the fastest growing areas of study and the reason STEM professionals are in high demand around the world. Early exposure to STEM fields can set today’s kids on a path to success by giving them the tools needed to make informed decisions about the future.

    General Information

    • Fair experimentation timeline: January 2017 - February 2, 2018
    • Online registration begins December 1, 2017
    • Online registration deadline is January 12, 2018
    • Registration fee is $15 per student
    • Deadline for fees and paperwork is January 19, 2018

    Learn more here.

    Conservation Teacher of the Year: $1000 Grant

    The Nongame Conservation Section of Georgia DNR's Wildlife Resources Division offers a $1,000 grant to a third-, fourth- or fifth-grade teacher who demonstrates exceptional energy and innovation in teaching life sciences. Project proposals must include Georgia's nongame wildlife (animals not fished for or hunted and rare plants not harvested) as the context for learning curriculum standards. One teacher is selected based on project design and how well the grant proposal questions are answered.  Applications are due October 16th.  Learn more here.

    Why Do We Need to Teach Science in Elementary School?

    Our future depends on a public that can use science for personal decision-making and to participate in civic, political, and cultural discussions related to science. Though we have national goals for science education, science is often pushed to the side—particularly at the elementary school level. There are multiple reasons for science to be a core part of elementary school learning. It can support: (a) development of a knowledgeable citizenry, (b) meaningful learning of language and mathematics, (c) wonderment about how the natural world works, and (d) preparation for STEM-related careers. Read more in this new STEM Teaching Tool brief.

    Applications Open for Darwin Day Roadshow

    Organizers are now accepting applications for the 2018 Darwin Day Roadshow. Teachers, museum and science center staff are invited to apply for an exciting opportunity to connect students with scientists via the annual Darwin Day Roadshow. The roadshow is a way for scientists and educators to share their excitement about the science of evolution. Applications from host teachers are due DECEMBER 20, 2017, for the 2018 Roadshow! More details can be found on this website
    The Serengeti Rules

    In 2016, evolutionary scientist Sean B. Carroll published a book titled The Serengeti Rules. This book looked at how nature operates on feedback loops at all scales from enzymes pathways to ecosystems. The focus here is on regulation and what are the “rules” of regulating processes that drive life on all scales. To accompany the book, Dr. Paul Strode, a science teacher in Colorado developed a fantastic educational supplement to help teach the stories provided in the book. The supplement uses data from scientific literature and can be used at various levels of life science. If you are looking for a nice summer read that you can actually use in your classroom, these two resources will fit the bill.

    Applicants Sought for Doctoral Research Assistantships in Science Education

    We are seeking applicants for 2 funded doctoral research assistantships in science education beginning in the summer of 2018. One position will be at the University of Georgia and other will be at the University of Alabama. The research assistantships include both tuition and a stipend and are funded by the National Science Foundation grant:  Research on the Utility of Abstraction as a Guiding Principle for Learning about the Nature of Models in Science Education (DRL-1720996). 

    Applicants should have a background in science teaching and/or interest in learning how to conduct science education research. If you are interested in one of these positions (or know of someone who might be interested), please contact">Daniel Capps and">Jonathan Shemwell or more details.  


    Daniel Capps and Jonathan Shemwell


    eObservations Co-editors: Dr. Amy Peacock and Dr. Jeremy Peacock
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