Science Notes - February 2020

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February 2020

Science Update

In this issue...

News & Updates

DigiGirlz Day at the Science Center of Iowa


The Science Center of Iowa, in partnership with Microsoft, is hosting a DigiGirlz Day at SCI. The event is on February 19 to support young women (grades 8th through 12th) learning about the career opportunities in technology. It is a free event offering focused on exploration of the technology field and networking with those working in the field.

Find more information and a registration form HERE.


State Science & Technology Fair Judges Wanted

Please mark your calendar and save the date for the next State Science and Technology Fair of Iowa (SSTFI) on March 26-27, 2020 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames! The SSTFI Judging Committee would like to extend an invitation to join us as a judge for all or part of the fair. This is a great chance to see and mentor young researchers in the fields of science, technology and engineering.

To register as a judge please click the link below:

For more information about the SSTFI please go to:


#IAScienceChat Supports Work-based Learning in February


Join us on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30pm for focused, online professional learning and networking. Twitter chats will last 45-60 minutes and allow Iowa science teachers to connect with colleagues both in-state and nationally.

Feb 18 - Work-based learning

April 21 - Tips & Tricks for New Science Teachers

May 19 - Phenomenon-based teaching & learning

Just log into Twitter, search for #IAScienceChat, and join the conversation!


High School Students Invited to Attend the World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute

Registration is now open for the 2020 Iowa Youth Institute, hosted by the World Food Prize Foundation and Iowa State University. This year's event will be held on Monday, April 27th in Ames.

This event aims to inspire the next generation of global leaders to pursue meaningful careers in policy, science, education, and communications by connecting students with supportive mentors, industry experts, and leading researchers who are working to address critical issues in global food security.

To participate, students are challenged to research a topic affecting food security within a specific country and propose their own unique solution to improve the lives of families living within the country. Students will present their ideas to world-renowned experts and engage in field immersions on Iowa State’s campus, all designed to prepare them for hunger-fighting career paths beyond high school.

All students who submit their idea and participate in the day-long event will automatically receive a $500 scholarship to Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and are also eligible to apply for paid fellowships through the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The top Iowa participants will also be selected to join award-winning scientists, policy experts, and industry leaders from around the world at the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute in October.

*New for 2020: Iowa State University has generously committed to providing an additional $2,000 scholarship for all students selected to move on to the Global Youth Institute!

Students and their teachers can find helpful resources and register at The deadline to register is Monday, March 30th. All questions can be directed to Kelsey Tyrrell at


The #PAEMST 2019-2020 Cycle is Now Open


Do you know a K–6th grade STEM teacher who should be recognized for their impact in the classroom? Nominate them for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (#PAEMST) today! Don’t miss out on this wonderful opportunity to honor our nation’s greatest educators!

Professional Learning Opportunities

It's time to create high quality 3D science assessments with MINK & CO!


The focus of this year's online meetings will be "Eliciting Student Evidence to Improve Science Learning". Each session will be facilitated by science educators from one of the sponsoring states, and concentrate on one particular aspect of assessing in an NGSS-aligned classroom. To learn more and to access the resources from last school year, please go to the MINK Website, linked below.

Our next webinar will take place from 4-5pm on Thursday, February 13. We'll discuss how teachers have been successful when implementing these kinds of assessments and reflect on learning from prior sessions (viewing previous sessions is suggested prior to joining).

Register for webinars here:

Find archived webinars and additional information here:


Two Opportunities from the UNI Dept of Earth and Environmental Sciences

UNI is offering the following opportunities for teachers.  Click on the links provided for additional information.

1. Iowa's Geological Resources for Teachers subsidized by the Iowa Limestone producers Association.  2 UNI grad credits are available, if interested.

2. Iowa's Rivers and Her Valleys.  Teachers are paid for their participation and can earn 2 UNI grad credits for free.


Online Course from the Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation


The Biology of Soil

Online: March 2-May 3, 2020

This is a two-credit online course for teachers, extension personnel, and others who educate youth and adult audiences about soils, science, and agriculture. Through a solutions-oriented approach, course participants will be introduced to the issues of soil health, soil degradation, and soil biomes.

The course will look at how organisms in soils including plants, vertebrates, invertebrates, fungi, and bacteria interact, and how nutrients cycle and at what practices land owners can implement to promote soil biomes and improve soil health. Participants will understand the environmental implications of soil degradation, the economic implications, and the social implications with the goal of understanding how we can sustainably move forward.

At the end of the course, participants will receive 13 full lessons including quizzes, worksheets, and PowerPoint presentations, that they can use with their students.

Info & Registration:


Calling All Instructional Coaches!


The most recent installment of the ISCN webinar series is online! Learn about some high quality teaching resources for science classrooms, including the Question Formulation Technique, equitable talk strategies and tracking student understanding.

If you like what you see, register for future webinars at the URL above. Our next session will take place at 9:00am on February 25, and will include an overview of the Iowa Science Standards innovation configuration map - an amazing tool to help teachers and schools consider their level of science standards implementation. Join us!

Resources for Teaching & Leading

NASA Virtual Field Trips

The Iowa Space Grant Consortium wants to share a collection of virtual field trips that NASA has compiled.  These focus on taking students inside NASA's Commercial Crew Program and can be accessed here:


Stay Current on National Science Education Trends & Research

Next Gen Navigator is a monthly e-newsletter delivering information, insights, resources, and professional learning opportunities for science educators by science educators on the Next Generation Science Standards and three-dimensional instruction.

The January 2020 issue provides a discussion around Supporting Equity in the Classroom, Planning for Science Success for All Students, and Achieving Equity Through Assessments.

Visit to sign up and access archived past issues.


Quick Access to NGSS and the Iowa Science Standards

The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) has helped to develop a free app for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), in partnership with Mastery Connect.

You can download the Next Generation Science Standards app by searching "MasteryConnect" or "Next Generation Science Standards" in your app store or by visiting the iOS Store, Android Marketplace, or Windows Store.

The Next Generation Science Standards app gives you multiple ways to view the standards, including DCI and Topic arrangements, and also includes convenient search functionality.

Visit the NSTA website to learn more:

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