Science Updates - October 4, 2019

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In this issue...

News and Updates

Rural Informal STEM Conference Report

Interested in learning a little more about the current state of Rural Informal STEM education across the country?  The Rural Informal STEM Conference, held in Washington DC in September 2018, has recently released its conference final report.

The report outlines the conference findings with regard to how rural communities are defined, how to provide STEM opportunities equitably across very diverse rural regions, and how to measure impacts of programming.

The report can be found at the MMSA website below.  There are also archived webinars and discussions available.


Call for Nominations for ICEC ExCom is Now Open!

ICEC logo

The Iowa Conservation Education Coalition (ICEC) is looking for individuals interested in joining the leadership of ICEC. ExCom is a volunteer board of directors working together with members and partners to provide opportunities for Iowa's conservation and environmental educators to learn, build relationships, and creatively collaborate.

Current ExCom elected and ex officio members include a classroom teacher, a science consultant, naturalists and non-formal educators, and agency representatives.

You can find more information about ICEC ExCom at our website:  

Nomination forms need to be submitted to by Monday, October 28 at 5:00 p.m.


REAP Conservation Education Program Grant Deadline


The Conservation Education Program (CEP) is a key provision of the Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Act of 1989. A five-member board implements the CEP and annually they allocate approximately $350,000 in grants for conservation education in Iowa.

Through REAP CEP, Iowa's future and current teachers have opportunities to learn about conservation education and receive classroom-ready resources.

The deadline for this fall's submission is November 1, 2019.  The website below includes informational documents and requirements of the grant.

Contact the REAP CEP Coordinator, Jerah Sheets at or 515-313-8909 for assistance.


Professional Learning Opportunities

Educator Input Requested!


Iowa's Science Performance Assessment Learning Community (SPA-LC) is an effort to support teachers in their collaborative learning, development, and use of performance assessments as part of a coherent assessment system for science. The work of this group will complement the work done in our state standards implementation PD module 3, with a focus on collaboratively developing an aligned assessment for public dissemination.

The goal of Iowa's SPA-LC will be to 1) work within a collaborative structure to support the designing of high-quality science performance assessments and 2) to share the assessments with other science teachers across the state, serving as examples of high quality, collaboratively designed science assessments.

The survey linked below will provide organizers with information necessary to continue planning for Iowa's SPA-LC and ensure that it meets the needs of all who are interested.

Detailed information about Iowa's SPA-LC professional learning workshops will be available later this fall.  Contact Eric Hall at with questions.


Environmental Issues Instruction PD Options

Water Connects Us All: Growing Networks for Clean and Safe Water in the Heartland

Two graduate credits for $275
Total cost of $275 for 2 graduate credits, food, lodging, and a plethora of teaching materials.  Learn how to teach environmental issues based on the theme, Water Connects Us All.  All grade levels (P-12) and content areas are encouraged to attend.

Eii utilizes: Iowa Core/NGSS, Project-based teaching and learning, STEM, K-12 Cross-cutting Concepts, Engineering Practices, Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning, Differentiated Instruction, The 5 E’s Learning Cycle

Two workshop choices:
Upper Iowa University Quad Cities Center
1401 Kimberly Rd, Bettendorf, IA 52722
November 15 – 17, 2019 and March 27-28, 2020

Upper Iowa University Fayette Campus
605 Washington St.
Fayette, Iowa 52142
February 28, 29, and March 1, 2020 and May 1 and 2, 2020

Email questions to Dr. Barbara Ehlers at

Register at


#IAScienceChat - Elementary Science focus in October!


Join us on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm for focused, online professional learning and networking. Twitter chats will last 30-45 minutes and allow Iowa science teachers to connect with colleagues both in-state and nationally as part of this fast-paced format.

This month's special guests will lead the discussion around how to best assess student thinking in the elementary science classroom.

To participate, log on to Twitter and search for #IAScienceChat. Our next chat will be on Tuesday, October 15 at 7:30pm.


IPTV Seeking Iowa Science Teachers to Participate in Iowa Phenomena Cohort

Iowa Public Television is seeking innovative Iowa science teachers to participate in a professional development cohort exploring Iowa Earth and environmental science phenomena. Selected participants will collaborate with teachers across the state to research strategies for using local phenomena to inspire student questions, work with conservation professionals to find and capture local phenomena, and create original resources for a new IPTV educational website. Teachers selected to participate will earn a $650 stipend for completing the project requirements. Relicensure and graduate credit is available. Visit our website HERE for additional information.

Contact Tiffany Morgan, or visit the website below for additional information.


Eric Hall
Science Consultant
Bureau of Leading, Teaching, Learning Services
Iowa Department of Education
Grimes State Office Building
400 E 14th St
Des Moines, IA 50319