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kansas association of teachers of science


  • 21 Jun 2017 10:39 AM | Anonymous

    I hope you are having a great summer break. I have had so much fun meeting so many of you over the past couple of months during professional development events!

    Please find our KSDE Science Newsletter for June 2017 using the link below. There are a lot of resources linked in this issue including a few for the upcoming solar eclipse. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you.

    Lizette Burks, Ed.D.
    Science Education Program Consultant
    Career Standards & Assessment Services
    (785) 296-8108
  • 20 Jun 2017 8:24 AM | Anonymous

    Media Contact:
    Natalie Anderson
    Communications Coordinator
    Phone: (785) 320-4350
    Email address:

    Deadline for ag foundation teacher of the year award fast approaching

    MANHATTAN, Kan. - JUNE 18, 2017 - The application deadline for the 2018 Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (KFAC) Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year and Kansas Farm Bureau (KFB) Foundation for Agriculture Regional Excellence in Teaching awards is fast approaching. The awards honor Kansas teachers who excel at incorporating agriculture into their everyday classroom curriculum. Applications are due June 30, 2017

    All K-12 district-certified Kansas teachers who currently engage in integrating agriculture into a non-vocational agriculture classroom setting are eligible for the award. Applications will be evaluated on creativity and utilization of agricultural information, interdisciplinary approach, advancement of educational standards and student impact. 

    The Teacher of the Year award winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to the National Agriculture in the Classroom (NAITC) convention, sponsored by High Plains Journal and AG am in Kansas. KFB regional award winners will receive their choice of a $600 scholarship to attend the NAITC convention or a $200 cash prize. The 2018 NAITC conference is slated for June 26-29, 2018 in Portland, Maine.

    The Janet Sims Memorial Teacher of the Year award has been in place since 2008. The award honors the late Janet Sims, an educator for more than 30 years and a strong agriculture advocate. Sims served on the KFAC board of directors from 2005 until her passing in 2007. 

    Applications can be downloaded on the KFAC website at by clicking on Teachers and Teacher of the Year. Application deadline is June 30, 2017.


    About Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom

    The Kansas Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom (KFAC) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. KFAC was founded in 1982 as part of a nationwide initiative to help students gain a greater awareness of the role of agriculture in the economy and society so that they may become citizens who support wise agricultural policies. For more information, visit or call (785) 320-4350.
  • 10 Jun 2017 9:56 AM | Anonymous

      6 things you need to know about the NGSS this month 

    Header - DNA Strand

    June 2017


     EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science has a New Category, New Badge, and New Pathway


    Last month, the EQuIP Peer Review Panel (PRP) for Science expanded its fall 2016 call for submissions with the goals of (1) expanding the categories of lessons and units that will be shared by the PRP, (2) announcing a new digital badge that will follow high-quality materials wherever they are posted online, and (3) opening the PRP review process to developers who face intellectual property constraints.


    A new category entitled "Quality Works in Progress" was created. Early reviews by the PRP surfaced numerous lessons and units that addressed various criteria of the EQuIP Rubric for Science very well, but did not rate highly enough to be shared with the public. Therefore, a new category has been added that will include any lessons and units identified to have strongly addressed at least one of the rubric's criteria.


    A new digital badge for "Examples of High Quality NGSS Design" was developed.  In the future, any lessons and units identified by the PRP as "Examples of High Quality NGSS Design" will be both shared online and awarded the new digital badge. With the PRP's approval, the unique badge can be displayed on the submitter's website(s). 


    Achieve added a new submission pathway for developers with intellectual property constraints. Developers who were previously restricted from submitting NGSS lessons or units under one of the Creative Common licenses can now have their materials reviewed and recognized by the PRP. For any materials deemed to be "Examples of High Quality NGSS Design", developers can use the new badge if they agree to (1) share the materials publicly and make them freely available, (2) restrict the claim of high-quality NGSS design to the specific lesson or unit as it was reviewed by the PRP, and (3) post the PRP's feedback along with the reviewed instructional materials.


    Click here for important details about the current submissions process for lessons and units.



     The PEEC Tool is Coming Soon!


    Later this month, Achieve will release the latest version of the PEEC tool. "PEEC" stands for the Primary Evaluation of Essential Criteria for NGSS Instructional Materials Design. Along with recent revisions to the EQuIP Rubric for Science, the resource build on the public draft of PEEC to (1) help educators identify instructional materials programs designed for the NGSS and (2) help curriculum developers and publishers design their materials for the NGSS.


    Although PEEC was specifically designed to evaluate materials designed for the Next Generation Science Standards, development of the tool was rooted in research from the NRC's A Framework for K-12 Science Education which shows what works well for all students when learning science. Therefore, any state or district that has adopted science standards based on the Framework can benefit from using the PEEC tool.



     Featured Standards

    This issue of NGSS Now features an example of how certain PEs* could be bundled in order to develop an instructional unit that engages students in science phenomena. 


    MS-PS2-4: Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects. 


    MS-ESS1-2: Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.


    MS-ESS1-3: Analyze and interpret data to determine scale properties of objects in the solar system.


    Teachers Note: This month's featured phenomenon led to the discovery of Neptune. You may need to add an experiential element for students to access the phenomenon. 




    For a more in-depth look at these NGSS PEs and to search for others, read this


    Need more context? 


    See where these ideas are introduced in A Framework for K-12 Science Education (pages 116, 175, and 177). 


    Microscope Icon


     Science Phenomenon

    This phenomenon offers teachers a potential way to connect our "Featured Standards" (see #3)  to a real-world phenomenon:


    In the early 19th century, a group of astronomers were using a telescope to observe Uranus' orbit around the sun. They noticed that the planet's orbit was irregular and not elliptical as they had expected. Why was this the case?



    Below are some high-level lines of student inquiry that could help students facilitate their understanding of DCIs related to the featured science phenomenon:


    Click here for a video of an elliptical orbit.

    • [with simulation of orbit] Observing the irregular nature of the orbit, what things might interact with it to cause it to move slightly off course? Are those things pushing or pulling it?
    • Does this planetary interaction take place elsewhere in the solar system? Galaxies?
    • What other effects does gravity have in the solar system?
    • [after determining the cause of the irregular orbit] Examine data to analyze the size of Uranus and Neptune. How might Uranus' orbit change if Neptune had more mass? Less mass?


     Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms


    By Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

    California Classroom Science

    May 8, 2017


    Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the NGSS integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms.


    Example from a 6th-grade classroom:

    MS-LS1-3: Use argument supported by evidence for how the body is a system of interacting subsytems composed of groups of cells.


    Through multiple activities, students explored, researched, collaborated, and communicated information related to specific body systems and how they interacted with each other. Mr. Nikkel wanted students to understand that the different body systems are made up of organs that must all work together for the system to function properly (Crosscutting Concept: Systems and System Models). He found an online simulation from Gizmos called "Digestive System" that allowed students to investigate the order and function of the organs that are involved in the breaking down of food, absorption of nutrients, and elimination of waste. Students used the simulation to test the model digestive systems that they created. Read more.



    NextGen Teachers in Delaware showcase their work at Open House


    By Delaware Department of Education

    Take Note: Education in the First State

    May 31, 2017


    As Capital School District chemistry teacher Corey Pennypacker has implemented the NGSS with his existing curriculum, he's witnessed increased interest and enthusiasm among his Dover High students.


    "The kids are into it because we're using real-world applications," he said, citing as an example an assignment he gave students to determine how many chemicals should be added to a home pool to reach the correct pH balance. "We propose a scenario and they have to reason their way through it. It's definitely a different way of teaching."


    Pennypacker was one of hundreds of NextGen teacher leaders, other educators and science education advocates who gathered at the Department of Education in Dover to showcase the valuable NGSS work taking place in Delaware schools. 


    Much of the NextGen teacher leaders' focus over the past year has been on the development of NGSS-aligned performance tasks, which they showcased in a fair-like exhibition at the event. Read more.

  • 07 Jun 2017 9:34 AM | Anonymous

    In science classes, do students work better in random groups or with their friends? I'm a student teacher in middle school. – S., Arizona Most teachers will tell you there is no best way to set up groups. There are many variables, including the age of the students, the structure of the investigation, the students' experience [...]

    You may view the latest post at

  • 07 Jun 2017 9:05 AM | Anonymous

    Take a look at the free teacher electronic newsletter published by the American Society of Engineering Education.  Recent issues feature multitudes of ready-to-go lessons targeted to various grade levels.  See News for Teachers.

  • 22 May 2017 9:43 AM | Anonymous

    Middle school science teachers, are you interested in new NGSS-based instructional materials for weather?

    BSCS and the UCAR Center for Science Education are developing an innovative middle school science unit on weather that uses activities, data, and scientific protocols from the GLOBE ProgramThis 4-5 week curriculum unit is a comprehensive approach to the NGSS-based concepts on weather, such as the uneven heating of Earth, local and global atmospheric circulation, and air mass formation and collision, all in pursuit of understanding normal weather patterns and extreme weather events that we experience in our everyday lives.

    We are recruiting twelve middle school science teachers to attend a teacher professional development workshop in Boulder, CO, from August 13-18, 2017, and to field test the instructional unit with students in the fall semester of 2017. Teacher and student feedback will play a significant role in informing the revision of the materials. Please note that it isn’t a requirement for field test teachers to be familiar with the GLOBE Program in order to participate.

    We will provide funds for travel, lodging, and meals for the professional development workshop in August. In addition, we will provide field test teachers with a $1440 stipend: $300 after completing the workshop in August and $1140 after completing the field test in the fall.

    For more information and to apply for this opportunity, please visit:

  • 22 May 2017 9:27 AM | Anonymous

    National Center for Earth and Space Science Exploration Announces:

    New Flight Opportunity for School Districts--

    Student Spaceflight Experiment Program (SSEP) Mission 12

    to the International Space Station, Starting September 2017

    Find details here. 

  • 19 May 2017 8:54 PM | Anonymous
    Sponsored by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory and the Fort Hays State College of Education, this no cost workshop on Monday, July 17 shows the way to bring modern physics into your classroom.  

    Topics include:

    • Relativity and Gravitational Waves
    • Nuclear Radiation
    • Particle Physics
    • Anti-matter
    • NGSS alignment
    Workshop hours are from 9am - 3pm.   Lunch is provided.  Please register online.   For more information please contact:  

    Paul Adams

    Dean, College of Education

    Anschutz Professor of Education & Professor of Physics

  • 19 May 2017 8:45 PM | Anonymous


    Teaching Nature of Matter aligned with NGSS

    July 17th and July 18th, 2017

    9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

    Activities and lesson ideas for elementary classrooms.

    • Participants will receive a $250 participation stipend

    • Lodging stipend

    • Lunch provided on both days

    • All workshop supplies will be provided

    • Held at Fort Hays State University

    • Limited to first 24 registrants

    • Optional 1 credit hour – Paid by Participant

    • Deadline to register June 16th, 2017

    • Registration fee $20 (non-refundable)

    For more information, please contact: Ann Noble at or at 785-628-5449

    Operation Primary Physical Science Workshop

    Please mail $20 registration fee before June 16, 2017 to: Ann Noble, 600 Park Street, Hays, KS, 67601

    Name: _____________________________________________________

    School: _____________________________Grade Level:_____________

    Address: ____________________________________________________

    City: ______________________ State: _________ Zip: ______________

    Phone Number: _______________________________________________

    Email: ______________________________________________________



  • 25 Apr 2017 9:46 PM | Anonymous member

    STEM Classrooms and Competitions:  Asking Questions and Defining Problems – Inquire Today  

    The first course of four in ESU’s 12-credit hour information, technology, and scientific literacy certificate program will be offered again this summer, May 22 – August 1, 2017, online using Canvas. Based on available funding, up to 16 students may receive scholarships for tuition and books for three of the four courses.  

    The course (791) develops knowledge and skills STEM preservice or in-service teachers (science, math, engineering, technology) and school librarians need as co-teachers to provide grades 4-12 students guided inquiry instruction around critical issues such as sufficient energy; prevention and treatment of illness and disease; maintaining clean food and water; and global environmental change.

    Complete course descriptions and course learning outcomes are available on the certificate website. Certificate website: 

    Please apply using the online form. Look for STEM-ALL Application Information form.

    Certificate website:

    Please contact Brady Lund for more information about enrolling.

    Dr. Mirah Dow, Professor,

    Dr. Ken Thompson, Professor,

    STEM-ALL is partially funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.



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