Science Update - March 2020

Iowa Department of Education Banner

March 2020

Science Update

In this issue...

News & Updates

Future Ready Iowa Summer Youth Intern Program - accepting applications

Employers, non-profit groups, and educational institutions are encouraged to apply for the Future Ready Iowa Summer Youth Intern Program grant, a funding opportunity to place youth at risk of not graduating high school in internships primarily in high-demand career fields. The State of Iowa has appropriated $250,000 of funds to support the Summer Youth Intern program. The application period opens February 11 and closes March 11.

“Future Ready Iowa is life-changing and it will infuse Iowa’s workforce with thousands of skilled employees and is designed to help those looking for a way up,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Future Ready Iowa’s Summer Youth Intern Program provides opportunities for our students through engaging work-based learning during the summer months. I encourage students to apply because it’s never too early, or too late, to find something you're passionate about.”

Last year, over 110 youth were served by three programs. The programs are designed to last at least six weeks and include developing soft skills and working with or for local employers in high-demand occupations.

“Our goal is to help communities create programs with local employers that serve local students. The students learn about high-demand jobs in their hometown and the soft skills necessary to get and keep a job,” said Director Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “Future Ready Iowa supports the idea that communities can better identify and develop their own workforce needs with the right tools that help create a talent pipeline. The Summer Youth Intern Program does this by giving students hands-on experience with local employers."

Funds may be used for services and resources to support costs of program participants, including for example: internship wages, training resources, transportation of the participants, clothing, program staff time and indirect costs. Applications can be submitted for the “Future Ready Iowa Summer Youth Internship Program” through the “Grant Opportunities” link at

The Summer Youth Intern Program was created under the Future Ready Iowa Act as a way to develop Iowa’s skilled workforce. The initiative aims to ensure 70 percent of Iowans in the workforce ages 25-64 have education and training beyond high school by the year 2025.

For more information about Future Ready Iowa, visit


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 Iowa Academy of Science is seeking volunteer reviewers for the Iowa Science Foundation


The Iowa Science Foundation is a state-supported grant program administered by the Iowa Academy of Science. IAS accepts ISF grant proposals for qualified projects in three areas:

  • improving public understanding of science
  • improving science teaching
  • direct support for scientific research

Each year IAS members review submissions and determine funding for projects. Reviews are completed online using a double-blind process and a rubric.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in doing, please fill out the application form on the IAS website:

Scroll down the page, fill out the form, then submit it online.

For additional information, contact: Craig Johnson, Executive Director of the Iowa Academy of Science at (319) 273-2581


Iowa Conservation Education Coalition - Status of Conservation Education in Iowa

Over the course of eighteen months, the Iowa Conservation Education Coalition (ICEC) conducted a study on the status of conservation education in Iowa. This study included focus groups, an extensive survey, and in-depth interviews with formal (classroom) and non-formal (non-classroom) educators across Iowa.

The final report, completed in January 2020, summarizes the findings from that study and makes recommendations for the future of both ICEC and conservation education in Iowa as a whole.

One particularly important takeaway for the conservation education community is that ICEC is in a unique position to provide a common platform between and among non-formal partners working with formal education, especially in terms of facilitating collaboration on development, promotion, and support of broad-based, quality conservation education curricula and resources. With the array of resources and providers already in existence, ICEC’s most important role may be to communicate the value of conservation to formal education partners and connect them with existing quality resources and training.

You can download both the full report and an executive summary on our website: If you have thoughts, questions, or ideas regarding this project, please complete the form at:


Professional Learning Opportunities

Blank Park Zoo  - Biomimicry and Inspiration


Biomimicry is a growing field of scientific inquiry and technological application to the real world. It can inspire students’ interest in science, the natural world, and the built environment while teaching skills in observation, research, and critical thinking. Participants will engage in activities introducing biologically inspired technology, why it is important (and fascinating!), and provide them with opportunities to research their own solutions to human or environmental challenges. This workshop is aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards, particularly those regarding engineering solutions.

Additional information and registration forms may be found on the zoo website – under Education/Just for Teachers. They may be submitted electronically. Participants should contact Kathy McKee at 515-974-2557 or if they have any questions.

Educators may also be interested in the final workshop of this school year, Wonders of Water, which takes place on April 3 & 4, 2020.  Click on the link above for more information.

Stay tuned for additional summer 2020 and fall/winter 2020-21 workshop information in the coming months!


Iowa Ag Literacy - 'Outstanding in their Field' Podcast


There’s an outstanding new podcast now streaming. Have you listened to it?

Outstanding in their Field is a new podcast highlighting agriculture literacy efforts and innovation by interviewing agriculturalists and educators alike. Each episode features one interview with a farmer or agribusiness professional, and one interview with a teacher who uses agriculture in their classroom. In each episode, you will learn about a different commodity, how it is produced, and how that translates into agriculture literacy efforts in the classroom.

This podcast is a partnership between the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation and New York Agriculture in the Classroom. This gives a unique perspective on agriculture in the U.S., from corn and soybeans in Iowa to maple syrup and urban agriculture in New York. Subscribe to Outstanding in their Field wherever you listen to podcasts and be sure to follow the Facebook and Instagram accounts for more updates. For more information about the podcast, visit


UNI Dept of Earth and Environmental Sciences

UNI is offering the following course for teachers. Click on the link provided for additional information.

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


Advanced Placement® Teacher Training Institute at the University of Iowa

The Advanced Placement® Teacher Training Institute (APTTI) provides comprehensive preparation for developing and teaching an AP® course. APTTI takes place June 29 – July 2, 2020 at the University of Iowa’s Belin-Blank Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Registration is now open!Please click here to register

Each workshop includes: preparation of course syllabi and lesson plans; examples of classroom materials applicable to the particular AP® subject area; and preparation for the new College Board Audit, required for every AP® teacher. The AP® Teacher Training Institute is designed for teachers who want to learn to teach AP® courses in one of the content areas, current AP® teachers, and educators who wish to strengthen the core curriculum.

Courses offered in 2020 include: AP® Biology, AP® Calculus AB, AP® English Language & Composition, AP® English Literature & Composition, AP® U.S. History, and AP® U.S. Government. For more information, visit or email

Resources for Teaching & Learning

Calling All Instructional Coaches!


The Iowa Science Coaching Network is an hour-long webinar led by expert instructional coaches from Southeast Polk CSD. The webinar serves as a platform for coaches and other instructional leaders to learn about the science standards and best practices, share resources used to coach teachers and provide PD to teachers, and reflect on coaching strategies through coaching conversations and by posing questions to other coaches. All webinars are recorded and can be found with resources on the ISCN website.

The most recent webinar (Feb 25) featured learning about the science standards implementation innovation configuration map (IC Map). The IC Map provides teachers and coaches clear descriptors for high quality standards implementation in K-12 science classrooms. Check it out here:

Webinars begin at 9:00am on April 21, May 12.

Register for upcoming webinars at:


Exploring the History of Women in STEM with Primary Sources

The link below will take you to a collection of educational resources provided by the Library of Congress to support the use of primary sources by students.  This month, one of the suggested lessons uses primary sources focused on women in STEM careers.  Check it out!


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 February 2020 issue provides a discussion around Making Student Thinking Visible, Revealing Student Thinking in Science, and How to Help Reluctant Students Share Ideas.

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:


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:

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