Oregon Science Teachers Association

The Oregon Science Teacher (TOST)

This newsletter is sent out to members monthly. It contains the most recent information and resources to implement the 2014 Oregon Science Standards (NGSS).

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he Oregon Science Teacher

May, 2017

Submission Deadline for the Fall Conference Extended to June 30th

Thank you to those of you who have submitted proposals for our 2017 Fall Conference on Science Education. 

To those of you who wanted to, but just didn't find the time to get it in by the April 30th deadline, we encourage you to please submit your great ideas to share with your colleagues by June 30th.

For more details and to submit your session proposal, go to our Conference Page. Check back often as we will update it as the new information workshops, tours, and guests are confirmed.

Why Do We Need to Teach Science in Elementary School?

The 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. An yet, 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:

  • development of a knowledgeable citizenry,
  • meaningful learning of language and mathematics,
  • wonderment about how the natural world works,
  • preparation for STEM-related careers.
This STEM Teaching Tool Practice Brief provides an explanation for why it matters, things to consider, attending to equity and recommended actions you can take.

STEM Teaching Tools are short briefs designed to bring together ideas and resources to address common challenges as educators adopt the new vision for education in the NCR Framework and resulting Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Unlocking Learning: Science as a Lever for English Learner Equity

This information was found on the website for the 
Education Trust.  While this organization advocates for educational justice and the high academic achievement of all California students, the research and findings could be applicable for Oregon's students as well.

Based on in-depth site visits and featuring real world examples of high-performing schools, high-quality professional development, and innovative classroom practices, Unlocking Learning: Science as a Lever for English Learner Equity, lays out a blueprint for increasing access and achievement in science for California’s 1.37 million English learners. Key takeaways of the report include:

  • Research shows that weaving together science and language development can increase students’ academic performance in reading, writing, and science simultaneously.
  • Some promising practices are resulting in achievement levels that are double and even triple the state average for English learners who met or exceeded proficiency.
  • LCFF and the implementation of the CA Next Generation Science Standards provide districts an opportunity to overhaul their approach to science education and language development.
The report concludes with district-level and state-level recommendations, along with a series of questions for community stakeholders to ask in their advocacy for closing English learner achievement gaps in science.

Teaching and Learning Articles

: Clean it Up!
Young students need opportunities to develop their conceptual understanding of properties of matter. By providing students with inquiry activities, we lay the groundwork necessary for students to grasp the challenging concepts associated with learning about the periodic table in middle school.  In this 5E activity, fifth-grade students assume the roles of environmental engineers to clean up contaminated soil.
From Science & Children, April, 2017

Middle School
: Beat the Heat!
Heat energy experiments are fun for students, relatively easy to conduct, use minimal equipment, and can effectively integrate mathematics. Heat transfer can be documentd through temperature changes that track energy flow. This article describes inquiry investigations that verify—or contradict— claims that rocks can successfully chill a beverage without diluting it.
From Science Scope, April 2017

High School
: No Puedo
"I don't get it." The authors describe how they assist their Spanlish-speaking students in the science classroom.  The activities described in the article are based on a context-embedded classroom, in which students view and learn science through conceptual understanding, and not by their expertise in content vocabulary.
From The Science Teacher, April 2017

Research to Practice, Practice to Research:
Skynet Junior Scholars
Skynet Junior Scholars (SJS) is an online astronomy program that allows youth to conduct inquiry-based investigations. This article describes the SJS professional development model (SJS PD) that helps nonschool educators to work i the formal school environment. The model uses a modified Technological Pedagogical Content (TPACK) framework to characterize the professional development training. Included are adaptations and lessons learned, as well as three case studies that illustrate how the SJS PD prepared nonschool educators to develop pathways to bridge in-school and out-of-school STEM learning.
From Connected Science Learning, Issue #2

Summer Professional Learning Opportunities

What's your professional learning plan? OSTA in partnership with PSU and the Portland Metro STEM Partnership, has a variety of options available for you to improve your knowledge, skills and effectiveness.

NGSS for Elementary Teachers
PSU Summer 2017
Portland Area Courses:
 Change Over Time, Energy & Matter
Newport Course: Systems & Interactions

Course Fee: $281* for 4 PSU Graduate Credits
Full tuition support available. See d
etails at goo.gl/HsLAEj 

Reserve your spot with a quick registration here goo.gl/fPTtB8  

NGSS for Middle School Teachers
August 7-11 from 8am-3pm daily
Portland Area Location TBA

32 Professional Development Units
 will be provided by OSTA for completing this set of workshops.
Fees: $400 for OSTA Members, $425 for Non-Members
Details and Register here

NGSS for High School Teachers
Dates and details below
Course Fees: $500
Optional 3 PSU Graduate Credits: $180

Physics for the Next Generation
Session 1: July 31-August 4
Session 2: August 7-11
Biology for the Next Generation
July 31-August 3
Chemistry for the Next Generation
August 14-18

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