November 2019 - Science Updates

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November 2019

Science Update

In this issue...

Updates & News

ICEC Water Game Jam Information


The Iowa Conservation Education Coalition (ICEC) received a STEM Innovation Grant from the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council to hold a water game jam! There is no cost to participate. This is the second Game Jam we're able to hold with these grant funds.

Registration is open NOW!

What's a Game Jam? A game jam is a great way to get students immersed in the engineering process and have fun doing it! A group develops some sort of game around a theme. It requires teamwork, creative thinking, research, and problem solving. Check out the website to learn more:

The theme for this game jam is aquatic ecosystems in Iowa. We have provided several online resources, listed on to learn more about Iowa’s aquatic ecosystems. You and your students have a host of options, so long as your game helps promote understanding of aquatic ecosystems in Iowa.

  • Open to students in grades 3-8 (two groups: grades 3-5 and grades 6-8)
  • Game can be analog (card games, board games, role playing games) or digital
  • Team made up of a maximum of 5 students
  • Games should help people better understand aquatic ecosystems in Iowa.
  • Register your classroom or after school program at
  • First 20 registrants can receive up to $50 reimbursement for game-making supplies (receipts for allowable expenses must be submitted by 12/15/19)
  • Submit your video (maximum 4 minutes) and game description for judging no later than midnight, February 7, 2020. Registered classrooms will receive a link via email to submit.
  • Winning teams notified by February 28, 2020.
  • 12 teams selected to showcase their games in March 2020 (location TBD).

Please contact Linette Bernard ( with questions. 


Sensory-friendly Hours at the Science Center of Iowa


The Science Center of Iowa is an exciting place, bustling with sights and sounds...but one Saturday each month, we're providing a quieter, less crowded visit for Sensory-friendly Hours!

Families with children on the autism spectrum or children with sensory processing disorders will enjoy exploring the Science Center of Iowa with the help of Sensory Guide signage, which indicates audio, visual and activity stimuli.

Admission is free, and no advance tickets are required.  Simply check in a the box office when you arrive.

Visit for additional information.

Professional Learning Opportunities

#IAScienceChat Welcomes Kerri Wingert on November 19


Ever wondered how to include student voice in an equitable classroom assessment plan?  Join guest Kerri Wingert from the University of Colorado Boulder this month as she discusses her research findings into the use of "talk moves" and student voice to assess student understanding in science classrooms.

Our hosts, Bev Berns and Tracy Jarrett, will facilitate a Twitter "discussion" while Kerri responds to YOUR questions!  Just search for #IAScienceChat and use it in your posts - it's that easy!

Join us for this engaging and fast-paced mode of professional learning.  Twitter chats take place on the 3rd Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm.


Iowa Science Coaching Network is Ready to Support You!


Join Amy Johannsen and Eric Hillman on November 12 as they host the first @scicoachnetwork (ISCN) webinar of the year (rescheduled). They will be discussing the difference between the  @OfficialNGSS science and engineering practices of Engaging in an Argument from Evidence and Constructing Explanations.

Learning with them is easy!  Just visit and register for upcoming webinar information. Join them live, or visit the ISCN website for a recorded version of the webinar.


MINK & CO Webinar Series is in Full Swing


This 5-state collaborative (Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas and Colorado) is designed to support science educators on a journey to implement 3-Dimensional standards in a supported and sustained learning network that draws upon multiple perspectives and experiences.

Join the learning as each state leads us in our discovery of the science standards and exciting ways to engage students in learning about the world around them.  Upcoming webinar dates are shown below, with each meeting beginning at 4:00pm and ending around 5:00pm.

  • November 7, 2019
  • November 21, 2019

Visit to register and receive the webinar link(s).


The Blank Park Zoo Invites Educators to Learn

Blank Park Zoo

The Blank Park Zoo would once again like to invite educators to professional development opportunities that will be held at Blank Park Zoo on the dates listed below. The workshops are good for one hour of license renewal credit.

Participants in our workshops engage in relevant inquiry investigations that are connected to the Iowa Core and Next Generation Science Standards, learn research-based instructional practices, and gain knowledge and ideas that will be useful in their classrooms. Lessons are flexible, allowing teachers to adjust for their students’ abilities; and relate to all age groups in several subject areas (science, literacy, mathematics, social studies, and the arts).

By attending one or more of these workshops, teachers will be eligible to schedule a free classroom animal program.

Class dates and topics:
November 22/23, 2019 – Patterns in Nature
January 24/25, 2020 – Climate Change
April 3/4, 2020 – Wonders of Water

For more information, contact:
Kathy McKee, K-12 Education Coordinator for Blank Park Zoo


Resources for Teaching & Leading

How Well Do You Know Iowa's Science Standards?


These online modules have been designed to help with the learning targets for years one and two of the Iowa Science Standards implementation. These modules can be used as stand-alone pieces for learning about the specific topic, or you can follow the suggested pathway to engage with all of the learning goals established for Iowa's implementation of our new science standards.

These online courses are available at no cost to Iowa district and AEA employees.

Visit, and click on the "Science" link under "Subjects" in the navigation menu.

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