Looking ahead with the new GSTA Board.
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 May 2014 Looking ahead with the new GSTA board

  eObservations
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In This Issue
· New GSTA Board
· ExploraVision Winners

· Grant Writing
· Discovery STEM Forum
· Review: Your Inner Fish 
· GSTA Recommends: Climate Assessment
· GSTA/NSTA News
Highlights:
· General
· Elementary
· Middle/High School
· Preservice
 
Quick Links
 GSTA
NSTA
GA Performance Stds
CCGPS Literacy Stds
NGSS@NSTA
Next Generation Science Standards
Join GSTA
GSTA Recommends
 
Teach Your Students How Climate Change Is Affecting the U.S.

"The National Climate Assessment (NCA) offers a treasure trove for educators and learners with a wealth of background information, detailed summaries, and relevant data about changing climate throughout the United States.  This resource provides an overview of key highlights of the NCA and suggestions on how to make effective use of the materials that have been compiled by experts to inform the nation on the causes, effects, risks and responses to human impacts on the climate system." Source: www.climate.gov.
GSTA/NSTA News
Share Your Success

Along with keeping you informed on important state and national activities, we want to highlight the accomplishments of Georgia science teachers and students. Please share any awards, recognitions, or special projects earned by you or your students by emailing the editors at gstanews@gmail.com.
Creekview HS Students Detect New Exoplanet

GSTA member Kim Geddes is living up to every science teacher's desire to get their students involved in real science. Student in Geddes' AP physics class at Creekview High School were able to remotely access a Smithsonian telescope in Tuscon and use the data they collected to detect a planet outside our solar system. Read more about this great project here.
Chattahoochee HS Student Named a  Finalist in World of 7 Billion Video Contest

Chattahoochee High School student Seri Lee was named as a finalist in the Global Poverty category for the World of 7 Billion population education video contest. Visit the World of 7 Billion website to view the 13 winning videos, which were selected from 929 international submissions.
NSTA District V Report

Your GSTA President, Dr. Donna Governor, also serves as your NSTA District V Director. Check out NSTA's May Field Reports e-NewsBrief for a District V report, as well as an update from NSTA President Bill Badders.
 Ready to Join GSTA?

If you are receiving this email as a forward from one of your colleagues, then you are getting a sample of the benefits of being a GSTA member. If you like what you see, then please visit our Member Benefits Page to learn more about the value of a GSTA membership and to join your colleagues from all over the state in supporting excellent science education in Georgia.
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. To submit an announcement or inquire about advertising rates, please email the editors at gstanews@gmail.com.

 
New GSTA Board Prepares for a Great 2014-2015 Year

- Donna Governor, President

The April 27th GSTA Board Transition Meeting in Macon provided an opportunity for new and returning board members to connect with each other and to make plans for an outstanding year of supporting Georgia's science teachers. Selection for the board recognizes each educator's professional excellence and dedication to improving science education in our state. The association welcomes both its new and returning board members, who each bring a wealth of experience to the organization. Their expertise will help guide GSTA as we work to improve opportunities for both science teachers and students over the next year. Your 2014-2015 GSTA board members are listed below. Each name is linked to the member's profile page, and members taking on new positions are in bold type. Please feel free to contact your level or district representative, or any of your general officers, if there is any way we can be of service.
 
 Northview High 9th-Graders Win 2nd Place in NSTA's ExploraVision Competition

As you will see in the NSTA/GSTA news section, Georgia science students accomplished some great things this spring with the support and guidance of their dedicated science teachers. One highlight of these achievements comes from Sara Lepkofker, a biology teacher at Northview High School, and her team of three student innovators. Yashi Sanghvi, Amy Hu, and Amanda Zhang (pictured at left) joined nearly 5,000 other teams from across the United States and Canada to develop an innovative technology that could help build a better future. The Northview team developed the Kidney Microfilter Regulation Device (K.R.M.D.), an artificial silicone kidney that will be surgically implanted into a patient’s body. This innovative device earned the girls a national second place award for grades 7-9 in the NSTA/Toshiba ExploraVision competition.  You can learn more the Northview project at the K.R.M.D. project website, and you can learn more about the competition at the ExploraVision website. Mrs. Lepkofker and her students deserve congratulations, but they also have some valuable lessons to share about the value of competitive projects in the science classroom.

As Mrs. Lepkofker noted, these three students were not the only ones to benefit from and learn through this competition: "I have been doing ExploraVision as a part of my honors biology curriculum for three years. The reason is that it fits perfectly with our STEM county initiatives--to promote the development of student knowledge and abilities to apply STEM principles and problem solving in academic and real world settings. In addition, it offers the students a chance to  enter a national competition as a ninth grader where the outcome could look great to colleges in the future. In three years, my students have had 1 national 2nd place winner, 2 regional winners (1 was the 2nd place national winner) and 6 honorable mentions. All of these accomplishments look great on their resume!  It is also really nice to see these young incredibly bright students rewarded for their efforts! I am so proud to teach at Northview High School."
 
Mrs. Lepkofker's students also explained how the project supported their learning in science. Amanda Zhang: "I have enjoyed participating in Exploravision because it has allowed me to study and learn about so many different subjects that I probably would have never researched if I wasn't in the competition. It has been an incredible journey and I'm so glad I participated it!"
 
Amy Hu: "My mom is a dialysis nurse and she tells stories about her patients all the time. Having kidney failure or ENRD is really hard for the patient and it is a long and tedious process to try and live with it. I thought about how I could change their lives so that they didn't have to spend so much time and money on hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis or wait for a kidney transplant that is really hard to come by. I feel the experience was valuable to me in that I learned a lot about how kidneys work and had to come up with a way that technology can simulate each of those functions. I used a lot of critical thinking skills in the process and learned how to work well in a team."
 
Yashi Sanghvi: "In class, we were given four project choices, one of which was ExploraVision. I saw it, and I immediately thought, “WOW!” Before this, I had never seen a project that did not place limits on our creativity. But this project was a whole new level. It allowed us to create a futuristic, realistic product that could possibly make an impact in the world. This product, in the grand scheme of things, could help other people and virtually eliminate the high rates of kidney diseases worldwide. This project not only helps those patients, but it also helped me personally. I was able to truly understand the definitions of hard work and team work. Hard work – When each person, no matter whether it is 2 or 4 in the night, stays up to make sure that the project is perfect. Team work – The beauty of all the members of a group working both individually and cooperatively to ultimately form one uniform and singular concept. Most importantly of all, this project allowed me to let my inner science shine!"
Discovery Education Hosts STEM Leadership Forum

- Nick Zomer, Secretary

Recently, science educators and leaders from across Georgia met in Savannah to discuss STEM issues and resources. The Discovery Leadership Summit, sponsored by the Georgia Department of Education and Discovery Education, brought approximately 50 teachers and leaders together to get on the same page regarding terminology, resources and expectations.

Dr. Gilda Lyon, STEM Coordinator for the Georgia DOE provided a wealth of valuable information regarding the current state of STEM schools throughout the state. Out of the 2,289 schools statewide, 343 are in various stages of certification in becoming a STEM school. This means that approximately 21% of Georgia’s students are exposed to STEM education in some shape or form. 24 schools, with the vast majority of those in the metro-Atlanta area, are currently certified as STEM schools. The other schools are in the process of becoming certified and are at various points in the journey.

Dr. Lyon was quick to point out that in Georgia, only schools and districts can be certified as STEM Certified. There is currently no STEM certification for individual educators. Also, simply because of the presence of a laboratory setting or the occasional hands-on experiment. Rather, STEM is a change in mindset. Students need to understand how science related outside of the walls of a classroom. STEM pushes teachers to prepare students for career AND college instead of the traditional college to career. Problem solving tasks that push students to not only answer questions but to look at situations and create unique approaches through trial and error. For example, participants were given a collection of seemingly random objects such as rubber bands, tongue depressors and plastic cutlery. With these items the groups had to first design and then build a prosthetic device that could only be operated with two fingers to lift a collection of items from the table. Not only did the participants have to complete the task but they also had to be able to explain the process that they used so that it could be replicated. Within the context of curricular standards, the conference attendees learned how this activity was an example of what STEM looks like when put into action.

Discovery Education offers several resources to Georgia educators to help begin or enhance STEM education. Courtesy of GPB, all Georgia educators have free access to http://discoveryeducation.com. Not only does this website provide video lessons and nonfiction articles, but countless resources regarding STEM. There are also free trials of e-books and other resources to explore.

Be sure to check out http://stemgeorgia.org to learn more information about STEM school certification, the Georgia STEM Forum coming in October, and various other workshops and summer camps for students and teachers!


General
Highlights
Vote for Science Education
 
Remember to vote for candidates who will support science education in Tuesday's (5/20) primary election. Visit our elections page if you still need to gather information on statewide candidates.
EcoTech Grant Applications Open Through May 31st

The Captain Planet Foundation is still accepting applications for its $2,500 EcoTech grants, which call for great ideas on teaching "environmental education at the intersection of innovation and technology."
Materials Science Kits & Lessons for Teachers

The American Ceramic Society (ACerS) offers resources for teaching a broad range of materials science and engineering concepts to 7-12th grade students.  There are currently 13 fun and interactive comprehensive lessons available for FREE online, presented as either teacher demonstrations or student labs for teaching STEM fundamentals using ceramics, metals, polymers and composites.  Each lesson includes teacher instructions, separate student instructions, background information, PowerPoint slides, student handouts, discussion questions and real-world applications.
Elementary
Highlights
Attend a Garden Academy Workshop in Athens
 
Jackson ECO Farm in Athens is offering two Garden Academy Workshops focused on school gardens. Participants in the two-day workshops will construct a raised bed and experience a standards-based school garden curriculum.
New Formative Assessment Resources for Elementary Science
 
NSTA recently released two new elementary formative assessment books from authot Paige Keeley.  Uncovering Student Ideas in Primary Science provides 25 classroom- ready formative assessment probes for grades K-2. What Are They Thinking? is a compendium of 30 “Formative Assessment Probes” columns from NSTA’s elementary journal Science and Children.
Middle/High School Highlights
GIFT Program Still Accepting Applications
 
The Georgia Intern Fellowships for Teachers program is still accepting applications for the summer. The paid internships place middle and high school teachers in STEM industry workplaces and university laboratories for 4-7 weeks.
Free Workshop at KSU on Transitioning to Inquiry- Based Labs

Kennesaw State University's ATOMS Center is sponsoring a 2-day (June 9th-10th, 9 AM-3 PM) workshop focused on revising "cookbook" labs into inquiry-based, student-centered activities. Registration is FREE and open to all middle school and high school life science/chemistry/physical science teachers! Space is limited to 20 participants. Please register under upcoming events on the GSTA website. The session is not limited to GSTA members, so please forward to any interested colleagues. Email Dr. Charlease Kelly-Jackson or Jennifer Barnes for details!
BSCS Middle School Curriculum Field Test Opportunity

To help middle-school teachers more effectively teach about the immune system and its relationship to food allergy, BSCS and Dawson Media Group have developed and are researching an online curriculum supplement titled Allergies and Scientific Inquiry (ASI). Funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, ASI is an innovative online, multimedia resource focused on food allergies and employing science practices associated with inquiry-based teaching. Visit the BSCS website to learn how you can get involved.
Harvard Medical School: Personal Genetics in the HS Classroom - Ethical, Legal, & Social Issues

This three-day training for teachers will be an introduction to personal genetics and its impact on society. A wave of personal genetic information is coming – how can we prepare students to make informed choices for themselves and for society as a whole?
To register, click here. For more information, click here.
Preservice
Highlights
Content & Pedagogical Resources from Discovery Education

If you are looking for a broad range of free classroom resources that will foster deeper student engagement, consider Discovery Education. The Discovery Education website provides lesson plans by subject and grade band, interactive games, puzzles, videos, and more. For those interested in networking through social media, virtual conferences, or even in-person events, the Discovery Educator Network (DEN) is perfect for you.
NASA Pre-Service Teacher Institute
 
The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center/Oakwood University Preservice Teacher Institute is a one-week residential institute for college students preparing to teach elementary or middle school. The program is designed to increase students' skills in teaching mathematics and science while incorporating technology in the curriculum. This is achieved through the development of a problem- based learning space exploration theme. Submit an application by May 30.

 
 

eObservations Co-editors: Amy Peacock and Jeremy Peacock
Copyright © 2014 Georgia Science Teachers Association. All rights reserved.
Contact email: gstanews@gmail.com

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