February First Tuesday Science Update

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Tuesday, February 2, 2021

K-12 Science





Equity and Diversity in Science and Engineering Education Webinar Series 2020-2021

Framework for K-12 Science Education

This four part webinar series will highlight equity issues that relate to students’ educational experiences and learning outcomes in science. Using the National Research Council’s (NRC) publication, A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas, we will explore concepts identified in the chapter on Equity and Diversity in Science and Engineering Education. Over the course of the series, we address equity in terms of translating standards into curricular and instructional materials and assessment.

In preparation, download the Framework to preview Chapter Eleven: Equity and Diversity in Science and Engineering Education at https://www.nap.edu/catalog/13165/a-framework-for-k-12-science-education-practices-crosscutting-concepts.


Target Audience: Individuals seeking to gain an awareness of diverse and equitable practices within K-12 science education.


Webinar Dates and Registration (*Note: All Webinars are scheduled from 3:30-4:30pm EST):

  • Overview: Addressing Equity in Science Learning (Wednesday, November 18, 2020)

  • Addressing Diversity in the Science Classroom (Wednesday, January 27, 2021)

  • Equity, Science, and Exceptional Children (Wednesday, March 10, 2021) - Registration Link

  • Valuing Multiple Modes of Expression (Wednesday, April 21, 2021) - Registration Link

Link to recorded webinars, handouts, and presentation slides 2020-2021 Equity and Diversity in Science and Engineering Education Webinar Series

Using Graphic Organizers in the Formative Assessment Process


In October 2020, we surveyed teachers to find out more about how they are using formative assessment to support student science learning.  We had 261 responses from across the state.  Some of the questions we asked included:

  • What strategies were used?
  • Why were they chosen?
  • How were they implemented?
  • What was the impact on diverse learners?
  • How did teachers determine effectiveness?

Educators identified graphic organizers as a widely-used formative assessment strategy.  During remote instruction, many teachers used a variety of digital tools including Canvas, Zoom, Jamboard, Google Docs, and Google Slides to deliver this strategy.


Graphic organizers are visual guides that allow students to organize information and demonstrate learning of the vocabulary and key concepts.  Most respondents believed this strategy can be used throughout the formative assessment process.  Graphic organizers can be used to elicit students’ prior knowledge before instruction.  They can be used by students to actively process information throughout instruction.  They can be used by students after instruction to evaluate depth of learning, and to identify areas where remediation may be necessary.


Students can also use the graphic organizer to summarize key concepts based on their own learning.  This strategy reinforces vocabulary and allows for students to organize their own information to suit their own learning needs.  Graphic organizers can provide students with special learning needs multiple examples to master learning objectives.  Some of these examples are representing the content visually, using various editable documents, and making changes with instant feedback.  Finally, students that use graphic organizers improve their understanding of content and achieve higher test scores. 


For more information about graphic organizers refer to the two links below.


Graphic Organizers for Formative Assessment: 3 Graphic Organizers Every Teacher Needs

Graphic Organizers in Google Classroom (Video)


Nano Innovation Challenge: Using Tiny Science to Solve Wicked Problems

Middle and High School Teachers- Sign up your students for this new competition.



Learn about nanoscale science and apply that knowledge to help address one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, then create a 3-minute video featuring your ideas.


Submissions Due: April 1, 2021


Teachers must register your school by February 15, 2021. After registering your class you will receive additional information. Registration is limited to 25 North Carolina Schools.


PRIZES: Teams will win prizes that include Amazon gift cards: 1st place $100; 2nd place $50; 3rd place $25. The 1st place winners also will have an hour of scanning electron microscope time to conduct a class investigation. Teachers of winning state-level teams will receive a $50 gift card.




Who Can Participate? Middle and High School student teams of up to 5 students


Grab your lab coat and goggles and help scientists address the UN Sustainable Development Goals using nanotechnology. Your idea might be the next great solution to providing people across the globe with clean water, better medicines, or making solar energy more economical.


The Task: Create a 3-minute multimedia presentation in the format of a video to pitch your idea for using nanotechnology to address one of the Sustainable Development Goals. Presentations will be judged on these criteria: 1) Application of scientific content, 2) Creativity/Innovation, and 3) Presentation quality.


Judging: There are 2 levels of judging: 1) Each school will judge the projects and select 1 winning team to go forth to the state level. 2) At the state level competition, scientists and science educators from the Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network will judge the Nano Innovation presentations and will select the winning teams. Note: The state competition is limited to the first 25 schools to register.


Sponsored by The Research Triangle Nanotechnology Network, the Eastman Company, the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation, and the College of Education at NCSU.


See the attached flyer for more information

North Carolina Environmental Education Certification Program

NC Environmental Education Certification


Our Certification Program encourages professional development in environmental education and acknowledges educators committed to environmental stewardship.


Learn how to become certified


NCSLA Spring 2021 Webinar Series


In the fall NCSLA held a Webinar Series covering issues of effective pedagogies for virtual teaching and meaningful ways to provide equity and social justice in the classroom.  This spring we are offering four webinars addressing key issues that have risen due to teaching in a COVID-19 environment and challenges that remote, face to face, and hybrid environments bring.  Join us as we collaborate and explore self-care strategies, district support, advocacy for science literacy, and informal initiatives. 


5:30PM – 7:00PM  EST via Zoom


February 15 – Self-care for Educators during COVID

March 16 – District Leadership and Plans during COVID

April 21 – Educators Challenge:  Sound Science vs. Pseudoscience

May 20 – Informal Science Education Initiatives


Participants will receive CEU’s for 6 contact hours which can be added to the 2020 Fall Webinar Series for up to 12 contact hours.


FREE to NCSLA Members but you must register to attend. 

$40 for Nonmembers:  includes all four webinars plus one-year complimentary membership in NCSLA.


Register at ncsla.net.  Zoom links will follow.

NC DPI Science Consultants

Dr. Debra Hall

K-5 Science



Gavin Fradel 

6-8 Science



Benita Tipton 

9-12 Science



Alexis Wood

9-12 Science


Additional Contacts:

Beverly Vance

Section Chief, K-12 Mathematics/Science



Howard Ginsburg

K-12 STEM Consultant



Marilyn Johns

Administration Specialist