RI Science Teachers Association shares opportunities in science education for teachers and students.  

Science Update
June 17, 2017

Congratulations to our new executive officers and board members!  Thank you for your time and effort to provide opportunities for science educators to RI 

As of July 1st, our officers and directors will be:

President: Erin Escher

Treasurer: John Labriola

Secretary: Jay Fogleman

Past-president: Carolyn Higgins

Board of Directors: Stephen Lakeland, Elaine Magyar, Tiffany Risch, Helaine Hager, Rudolf Kraus, and Teresa Medeiros


If you are interested in any of the opportunities listed below, please contact the organization that is listed. Send any items that you consider relevant to other science educators to ristanewsletter@gmail.com

Professional Resources

NSTA Blog Entry:  Using the Crosscutting Concepts to Scaffold Student Thinking by Jeremy and Amy Peacock   Some educators argue that crosscutting concepts should develop in students' minds organically, and others see the value in making them explicit for students. Is one or the other better, and could graphic organizers be your answer?

From Achieve's NGSS Network Bulletin:

Video Workshop: Why Elementary Science?  The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, in partnership with the Association of Washington School Principals, created a video for elementary school leaders to support them in developing an understanding of why elementary science is important and how to support new science standards in their buildings. In the video, Amber McCulloch, K-12 Science Specialist at OSPI, and Scott Seaman, Director of Professional Learning at AWSP, make the case for elementary science, lead principals and their leadership teams through a series of learning tools, allow for completion of a self-assessment to determine where the school is regarding science instruction, and guide action planning. While the target audience for the video is elementary principals working with their leadership teams, the resources are useful for all levels of leadership.

Professional Learning Partnership with the Exploratorium The San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) partnered with the Exploratorium in San Francisco to provide engaging professional learning in science for about 50 of its teachers and principals. The workshop covered instructional shifts of the NGSS and teacher support strategies as they make the transition to three dimensional, phenomenon-based instruction, allowing the educators to take advantage of the expertise of those at the Exploratorium. This partnership is a great example the ways professional learning sessions can benefit from the involvement of third-party organizations like museums and science centers.

Video Series and Blog about K-2 Scientific Argumentation A Tchers' Voice blog post written by an elementary school teacher in partnership with three University of Washington researchers discusses engaging K-2 students with constructing arguments and modeling. It includes a video series that shares key principles and strategies for engaging K-2 students in several science and engineering practices.

Guidelines for the Evaluation of Instructional Materials in Science  BSCS released these Guidelines earlier this month. This document provides research-based recommendations for evaluation processes and evaluative criteria to consider, including when building tools and processes designed to evaluate science instructional materials. Its development was informed by early versions of EQuIP Rubric for Science and PEEC, and it informed the most recent version of PEEC (to be released soon). 

Georgia Science Teacher Association Phenomena Bank  Georgia's Framework-influenced, three-dimensional science standards encourage students to learn through making sense of phenomena and designing solutions to problems. GSTA, in response to a need expressed by science teachers for more phenomena ideas that connect to the standards, created a phenomena bank where educators can go to get ideas for instruction. Teachers can both add their own phenomena to the bank and search through posted phenomena by key words, grade level, science standards, or element. The site also provides resources about why phenomena are important and what to look for to facilitate the best student learning.

District Level Integrated Scope and Sequence Website . A school district in Vancouver, WA, Evergreen Public Schools, has created a website with resources to support an integrated scope and sequence for writing, reading, social studies, and science in elementary school. The dynamic site includes resources on the standards, a page for each grade level, and 36 units, themes, and sample tasks. The district plans to add more resources and make improvements along the way.

Will Elementary Science Remain the Forgotten Stepchild of School Reform? Change the Equation has written an analysis of 2015 NAEP data, showing the various ways science often takes a backseat to other subjects, including lack of instructional time for fourth graders and lack of professional learning about new science standards for elementary educators. The blog post includes graphics that highlight key statistics to illustrate the need for more resources in elementary science, and could be used in science advocacy work.

Three Dimensional Bookmarks STEM Teaching Tools created bookmarks that conveniently list all Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts from the Framework for K-12 Science Education. This can be useful for teachers who are just getting to know the three dimensions and what they mean as a quick reference.

Professional Opportunities

NGSS Science Leader Training with NGSX 

The NGSS Science Leader Pathway will provide professional development, support, and a learning community focused on 3-Dimensional teaching and learning and the implementation of NGSS in K-12 classrooms. The goal of the NGSS Science Leader Pathway is to build capacity among a cadre of science education leaders across Rhode Island to support other teachers in understanding the shifts in NGSS by facilitating Rhode Island study groups using the Next Generation Science Exemplar System for professional learning (NGSX). 

Audience: Science teachers and leaders, science coordinators, and higher education faculty.

Dates: Summer Institute: August 16-18 and 22-24 8:30-4 Plus 4 school year follow up dates TBD

Location:  TIMES2 STEM Academy, 50 Filmore St.  Providence, RI

See the flyer for more information or contact Erin Conley, econley@times2.org  401-602-4918

Register at https://times2institute.typeform.com/to/yj7UyO

NSTA Teacher Awards

The NSTA nominations and application portal is currently open. Nominate a science educator today!

Nominees will receive an e-mail notification that they have been nominated, and will have a link provided in the e-mail encouraging them to begin their application. They do not receive notice as to who nominated them.

The link is: www.nsta.org/awards . Please contact Amanda Upton, Senior Manager, Nominations and Teacher Awards Programs NSTA, 703.312.9217 with any questions

Project Learning Tree

Project Learning Tree is an award-winning environmental education program designed for teachers and other educators, youth leaders, parents, and community leaders working with youth from preschool through grade 12 in both formal and informal settings. Last year's workshops were a huge success!

Click the links below to learn about RIEEA's summer trainings and to register:

Early Childhood Teacher Training

Tuesday, August 15, 9am-12:30pm.

For educators who work with children ages 3-5. Approved by the Center for Early Learning Professionals.

K-8 Teacher Training

Wednesday, August 16, 9am-3:30pm

Appropriate for teachers, informal educators, youth leaders, parents, and community leaders.

Student Opportunities

Taterthon 2017!

What is Taterthon? Taterthon is a project imagined by a group of high school students at Scituate High School that seeks to engage more children and their families in growing food as a way to (1) reduce the use of transportation fuels involved in shipping food, (2) reduce carbon dioxide emissions, (3) build more resilient communities by increasing local food production. We invite teachers and parents to sign up on behalf of RI children in grades K-5. Participants receive a notebook, instructions, and a potato to begin the growing season. Notebooks should be submitted to SHS NEED Club by September 30 to be considered for prizes. For more information, to see our NEW video, and to sign up, visit: www.taterthon.org .

(While supplies last! We will cap registration when we reach 1000 kits, so register now!)

Classroom Resources

NSTA Freebies 

Click the link above to find an array of free resources for you and your classroom. Clicking on the title takes you to the resource described.


April 13, 2017 (Issue 20)

March 2, 2017 (Issue 19)

January 14, 2017 (Issue 18)

November 5, 2016 (Issue 17)

September 12, 2016 (Issue 16)

July 15, 2016 (Issue 15)

June 28, 2016 (Issue 14)

April 27, 2016 (Issue 13)

March 29, 2016 (Issue 12)

March 7, 2016 (Issue 11)

February 18, 2016 (Issue 10)

February 1, 2016 (Issue 9)

January 11, 2016 (Issue 8)

December 15th Newsletter (Issue 7)

December 1st Newsletter (Issue 6)

November 15th Newsletter (Issue 5)

November 2nd Newsletter (Issue 4)

October 15th Newsletter (Issue 3)

October 1st Newsletter (Issue 2)

September 15th Newsletter (Issue 1)

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