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Newsletter Volume 50 No. 4 A Quarterly Publication of the Minnesota Science Teachers Association Inc.

Next Generation Science Standards

Twenty-six companies, including ExxonMobil, Intel Corp., and Time Warner Cable, have signed a pledge stating they will help advance STEM education and advocate for the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards. The pledge was unveiled May 16 at a two-day summit in Arlington, Va., where company representatives and STEM program leaders gathered to discuss the role of businesses in supporting education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Vice President Joe Biden stopped by to thank the summit participants for their work advancing STEM. “Many of you have been leaders in supporting STEM education for years, but the fact that you have come together ... is a game changer,” he said. Biden praised the 26 signatories for putting their “name on the line for commitment to STEM,” and urged them to continue pushing for policy changes. “There’s nothing as effective as a leading CEO in that state calling the governor ... [and saying,] ‘Hey, gov, Why is your state one of the 30 that doesn’t allow computer science to count toward graduation?”] The summit was hosted by Change the Equation, a Washington-based coalition of business leaders promoting STEM education. In signing the pledge, the companies agree that they “believe in the transformative power” of the common core and and Next Generation Science Standards. The document also says: “We will join other organizations in advocating for these standards and the resources and support schools, communities, and young people need to meet them.” The pledge is notable given the increasingly

Summer 2014

heated controversy surrounding the common-core standards, which cover math and English/language arts. In March, Indiana formally reversed its adoption of the standards—though the standards it adopted in place draw heavily on the common core. As my college Andrew Ujifusa reported, lawmakers in about 15 states have introduced legislation during their current sessions to repeal or replace the standards. Common-core opponents—and supporters—now sit on both sides of the aisle. The current number of adoption states is 45 plus the District of Columbia. The Next Generation Science Standards, which 11 states and the District of Columbia have adopted since they were finalized a year ago, have received less pushback so far—though Wyoming and South Carolina have both blocked adoption and some experts say there is more backlash to come.

Even so, the corporations’ willingness to sign the pledge is not entirely surprising. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have been vocal supporters of the common standards. State chambers of commerce have largely backed the standards as well. The pledge also states that the businesses agree to collaborate with each other “to bring strong STEM programs to all kids,” encourage “ongoing

data collection and research” on practices that improve STEM literacy, and will support the programs that Change the Equation has deemed effective. By Liana Hiltin, May 16 2014 Education Week’s Blog- Curriculum Matters.

To see a list of companies that signed the pledge go to companies_pledge_to_back_commo.html

President’s Address by Steve Walvig As my term as MnSTA’s President comes to a close it is a great time to reflect on my time with MnSTA and what makes the Minnesota Science Teachers Association such an amazing organization for us all. First and foremost I would like to thank the MnSTA board members who volunteer their time to make all that MnSTA does possible. From our region representatives who proudly offer professional development opportunities throughout the state, to our discipline representatives who bring their expertise and enthusiasm to all of the professional development opportunities MnSTA offers each year, especially our annual Minnesota Conference on Science Education (MnCOSE), these volunteer MnSTA board members serve as the backbone of the Minnesota Science Teachers Association and help stimulate, coordinate, and improve science teaching and learning for us all. I especially thank the MnSTA board members who volunteered additional time as chairs of MnSTA’s various board Presidents message....continued on page 11

Department of Conservation by Ed Hessler Untangling Darwin’s Tangled Bank Man, n. An animal so lost in rapturous contemplation of what he thinks he is as to overlook what he indubitably ought to be. His chief occupation is extermination of other animals and his own species, which, however, multiplies with such insistent rapidity as to infest the whole habitable earth and Canada.--Ambrose Bierce’s “The Devil’s Dictionary” A picture of a single Quino checkerspot butterfly grabbed my attention recently. I’m very fond of nature. It was in an article in The Guardian describing research that the Quino checkerspot, a butterfly species that by all accounts should have been extinct by now has been found to have adapted to warmer climate by shifting its range to a higher, cooler altitude as well as a new plant on which to lay its eggs. (< >) Yeah, I know, a climate denier or two will use this as evidence that critters will adapt to change. “See, I told ya, so.” And, anyway, humans have nothing to do with it, anyhow. Carry on. Business as usual. But we know better. The scientific evidence is otherwise. Both climate change and extinction are real. We are in the eye of a great regime change as we reassemble/dissemble the planet. This has been called the sixth extinction event. Humans wield great power over the planet and we will play an ever increasing role in “cultivating” wild species. ( < http://goo. gl/3ybD42 >)

For me, environmentalism is about life, respect

Department of Conservation...continuted on page 5

The MnSTA Newsletter is published four times each year by the Minnesota Science Teachers Association, Inc. Articles, opinions, book reviews and other information pertinent to Minnesota teachers are welcome. Please limit submission to 1 typed page, e-mail preferred (text file please). Deadlines for submission of articles are: Fall ............... August 1st Winter ............. November 1st Spring ........... February 1st Summer....................April 1st Send all correspondence regarding the newsletter to: Jerry Wenzel 22002 100th Ave Randall, MN 56475 e-mail: The MnSTA Newsletter is an exempt program service provided to the membership. A membership form is found on the back page. Materials found in the newsletter may be reprinted without charge. 2

MnSTA, Inc. is an IRS 501 (c) (3) Charitable Educational Corpora-tion, incorporated as a tax exempt, non-profit organization with the Minnesota Secretary of State. Donations and dues are tax deductible charitable contributions for itemized deductions on IRS form 1040 Schedule A. The newsletter is an exempt program service provided to the membership. A membership form is found on the last page.

MnSTA Newsletter

In Medias Res by Edward Hessler Round Five

World Report, April 13, 2014 --Climate change: can disaster be avoided? Yet another UN report on climate change warms of dire consequences if no action is taken. Aljezeera, April 13, 2014 --Global warming is man-made with 99.9% certainty, study says. Haaretz, April 13, 2014 --Step up action to curb global warming, or risks rise: U. N.—Chicago Tribune, April 13, 2014 --UN climate change panel warns emissions rising despite reduction efforts. CBC News, April 13, 2014 --Climate change: call for governmental action. The New Zealand Herald, April 1, 2014 The goal in AR 5 is a temperature increase of two degrees Celsius. It is a limit and a very important number. From there, the systems really unravel and quickly. This is an important number which Dr. Michael E. Mann, who directs the Pennsylvania State University Earth System Science Center, discusses here ( < >). This means emissions reductions must be substantial. This is the message from the science. And it is possible. Economist Paul Krugman, a winner of the Nobel prize for economics, closes a recent column about this report with “So is the climate threat solved? Well, it should be. The science is solid; the technology is there; the economics look far more favorable than anyone expected. All that stands in the way of saving the planet is a combination of ignorance, prejudice and vested interests. What could go wrong? Oh, wait.” ( < opinion/krugman-salvation-gets-cheap.html >) Remember, the self-interest of nation states! Here are two short summaries and the summary for policy makers of AR – 5 findings. ( < >), ( < http:// >), and ( < report/summary-for-policy-makers >)

As far as I’m concerned, the problem of global warming is kind of beyond the realm of science at this point. It is in the realm of how do we deal with this problem that we have created.—Maureen Raymo, Paleoclimatologist The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 by the United Nations. Since then it has produced five assessment reports the most recent of which, AR5, was released in parts by four working groups (WG I – WG IV) between September 2013 and November 2014. AR5 WG I notes that in the business-as-usual scenario there would lead to a warming of some nine degrees which would result (AR5 WG II) in food systems breakdown, conflict and reduction in the amount of livable land. AR5 WG III which deals with mitigation—human intervention to reduce the source or enhance the sink of greenhouse gases--was released in early April although drafts of the final version had been in wide circulation earlier. I wondered how the world’s press would treat this release in their headlines and sampled some media. --IPCC report: Climate needs swift shift to clean energy. USAToday, April 13, 2014 --Climate panel stunner: Avoiding climate catastrophe is super cheap—but only if we act now.—ClimateProgress, April 13, 2014 --Climate change has arrived. The Miami Hearld, April 14, 2014 --Climate change threatens human society: UN report. Japan Times, March 31, 2014 --World not prepared to face climate change: experts. The Hindu, March 31, 2014 --Climate change: call for governmental action. The New Zealand Herald, April 1, 2014 --UN panel say major steps required to combat climate change. Israel Herald, April 14, 2014 --IPCC report summary censored by governments around the world. The Sydney Morning Telegraph, Hessler is the Executive Secretary of MnSTA April 14, 2014 --To keep climate change costs ‘modest’, UN panel says world should act now. TwinCities.Com Pioneer Press, April 13, 2014 --Despite emissions growth, cost of fighting climate change still ‘modest’, UN Panel says. US News &

Summer 2014


Department of Education MnSTA Newsletter, Summer 2014 Ah Summer . . . relaxation, reflection, renewal One of the rewards of teaching is that there is a time of the year when we feel DONE! No more nights and weekends of correcting papers and making lesson plans, for several weeks. Other John Olson is the science specialist for the Department professions get to of Education. He will keep walk away at the end us updated on science education in the MnSTA newsletter. of the day and have

the evening off. But the work is always there the next work day. We have a sense of completeness every June, and perhaps some sadness at seeing our students that have become family leave. For most of us relaxation is essential. It is time to recharge the batteries from the draining that occurs from being responsible for the safety, care and learning of a large number of youth each day. There is a reconnection with our family who may not have had much of our attention. It is fun is sharing science and nature with a new audience, especially on a family trip. Inevitably there comes a time of reflection. What could I do differently to help my students learn deeper and more efficiently, and help me keep my sanity? For many teachers it is great to have time to read. Sitting on the deck, going to the cabin and traveling provide reflection, curiosity and inspiration Science education research has revealed many new ideas about learning and instruction. Many of these are gathered into reports by the National Research Council, including Taking Science to School and A Framework for K-12 Science Education. A practical guide with examples of classroom practices is Ready, Set, Science! All of these are available as books or free pdf downloads at A great source for books and journal articles

is the National Science Teachers Association online store. Most of their recent books are available as electronic downloads that could be read on a computer or tablet. The NSTA Learning Center has many online resources for teacher learning, including recorded webinars and interactive learning modules. Many of the resources are available without NSTA membership, but a membership is well worth the price for the additional resources it provides. Another avenue for reflection is the many award programs and grant opportunities that are available to science teachers. The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching and the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards certification require considerable reflection on your teaching. They are great structures for self-improvement. It is worthwhile to start the process during the summer and plan for the teaching activities to analyze in the fall. NSTA has several award programs and MnSTA has its own teaching award program. Many teachers take advantage of the many workshops and institutes offered during the summer to gain new teaching ideas, complete that master’s program, and get clock hours. This newsletter announces many opportunities, some in outdoor settings, several that are free and a few that provide a stipend. Some teachers take the initiative to seek out employment related to their teaching skills such as work in parks, camps, museums and industry. So the summer can be great for a change of pace and learning in a new environment. Have a great summer. National Board Field Testing

“Test drive” the revised National Board Certification components for free and with no risk. The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards is recruiting PreK – 12th grade teachers to volunteer for field tests as the application process is evaluated for reliability. The need is greatest in earth science, chemistry and physics. More information, including a link to the field test application, is available national-board-field-tests?utm_source=Field+test+message++Science+NBCTs&utm_campaign=field+tests&utm_ medium=email


MnSTA Newsletter

Awards Department of Conservation...continuted from page 2

for life, engagement with life with all its requirements. This means being active about maintaining food webs. Each extinction takes a profound toll on our ability to relate to nature.The overwhelming tendency is to reduce this to the simplest of debates, say, pollution v. economic security (GROWTH). Living on this planet in a way that is fair to all its inhabitants, “us and them”, if you will, is much more complex than this and is going to require many skills, interests and careers as threats escalate and multiply. Andrew Nikiforuk in “Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent: Revised and Updated” (Greystone Books, 2010), describes this as “humbling work.” Some of this work will be recorded in changes in policies at almost all levels of government, but Nikiforuk quotes Wendell Berry who wisely noted that many of these changes “will be too many to count, too many to report, too many to be publicly noticed or rewarded, too small to make anyone rich or famous.” Science and environmental educators have a curriculum obligation to introduce young learners to the biological and physical world--Who these organisms are. What they do. Needs. Relationships with other organisms, including us. Threats. Habitats. Niches. Communities. Ecosystems. But in educating about the natural world we run head-long into economics, politics, and ethics. This will include warnings and counter-arguments which will be difficult to judge since we are not technical experts and also there will be times when the experts can’t make a decision for lack of data. But schools are places where we can practice choice-making and problem solving as well as learn to explore ethical stances. So, three hurrahs for the Quino checkerspot. However, I’m reminded that it survives because there was suitable, undisturbed habitat nearby with islands and bridges between them. The survival of the Quino is close to a one-off. What is worrisome is the preservation of suitable habitat for all, unlikely it seems but for as many as possible.

Presidential Awards

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the highest distinction for teachers in these areas. It is awarded to two teachers from each state, generally one math and one science. The award includes a week of professional activities in Washington DC., a reception with the president in the White House and a cash award of $10,000. The award is given to secondary teachers in odd numbered years and to elementary teachers in even numbered years. Up to five Minnesota science finalists are selected by a local committee and forwarded to the national organization for selection of the awardees. The most recent awardee is Cathy Kindem. She was recognized as a Minnesota finalist at the conference last year and will receive her award at the White House in the next few months. Ms. Kindem is currently the innovation coordinator for the AppleValley-Rosemont-Eagen School District. At the time of her application she was the science specialist for Cedar Park Elementary School. She has been a leader in STEM integration in her school and now for the district. The Minnesota finalists for the 2013 award are: Peter Bohacek, Callie BushMiller, Claire Hypolite, Ann Markegard and Sandra Muellner. Please come forward. Their applications have been judged at the national level and they are awaiting an announcement from the White House who the Awardee will be. Peter Bohacek teaches physics at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights Callie BushMiller teaches physics at Fridley High School Claire Hypolite, teaches Chemistry at Edison High School in Minneapolis Ann Markegard, teaches Earth and Physical Science at Houston High School Sandra Muellner, teaches biology at the International Academy in St. Paul The application period for Elementary teachers is open until May 1st. We encourage nominations and applications. It is a great professional experience completing the application.

Summer 2014 5

Teacher Feature Our featured teacher for the summer issue is Richard Smith. He teaches 9th grade physical science at Glencoe-Silver Lake High School. He has been teaching there since 1997. Smith teaches as he lives: by the Golden Rule. He helps others to learn as he would want to be taught. This goes for all of the different learning styles that come through his classroom. He uses a variety of teaching methods in order to reach as many learning styles as possible. At times he used didactic lecture in the classroom. He has his lectures recorded and available as resources on his website. Lab experiences range from guided inquiry to cookbook chemistry labs. As the school year progresses he scaffolds and relates many different topics together. He continually tries to make connections to previous experiences, in and out of the classroom, helping his students to relate to the topics and increase their interest in the topic(s). He uses questioning and connections as the scaffold to support, connect and extend the students thinking and learning. Technology is a big part of his classes. He sees too many people forgetting that much of the technology that we use today was originally made to be used as a tool not a toy. In his classroom he uses a variety of technologies as tools. He uses Vernier sensors (as well as the data share that they have available), ExamView test generator (to create assessments and to do formative and summative assessments on the LAN), NXT clickers (from Turning Technologies) for short assessments/checks on worksheets and other formative assessments. Because of his use of the NXT clickers and Workspace (presentation software from eInstruction) he has become a Distinguished Educator for Turning Technologies. The Distinguished Educator gives him access to beta versions for their products with the expectation that he will be available to help other teachers learn about and implement the technologies. Other technologies that are used in his classroom include Discovery Education, Nettrekker, AtomicLearning and Prezi as well as many others. He invites his students to bring their electronic devices to help their learning, always with the reminder that it is a tool for learning and not a toy for entertainment. His favorite activity to teach is Sludge. He has taken the traditional IPS Sludge lab and modified it to his situation. As the students are learning about chemical and physical properties in the first half of the school year, he watches to see what each one is capable of. At the end of the chemistry portion of the school year he has students pick their own teams and he makes

a special recipe for each team according to the individual and team abilities. Another favorite activity is the Science and Society Project. This is an activity that he and a co-worker have the students do as an inter-disciplinary project. At the end of the school year he and Tom Schoper, 9th grade Civics teacher, have their students do a presentation. This presentation is on a discovery, a person or an invention. Tying the science and civics standards/benchmarks together they are able to have their students do more than the traditional “Who, What, When, Where” type of report/presentation. They have the students look at the importance, the influence, the affect and effect of the science on society and society on the science of their topic. They have had incredible presentations covering topics from disposable diapers to birth control to Star Trek to combines and John Deere. Smith chose teaching because, “I like to help others learn and to grow. I like to help others see things in a different light, to find their way to understanding a topic. I like to show others how to find the path and to enjoy the journey of learning with others.” He believes learning is a life long process. He states, “ Part of teaching is showing that we are all learning all of the time, this is part of the reason I continue to take classes and tell my students about the classes and the learning that we do in them.” He belives learning is done at different rates using as many senses as possible. He tries to have items available for the auditory learner, the visual learner, the tactile learner and all other combinations and styles that he can. He believes learning is experiential. He states, “the more senses a person can use the more neurological pathways that can be made and hopefully held onto and build off of.” Principal Paul Sparby says about Smith, “Mr. Smith works extremely hard to incorporate technology into his science classroom. He tries to meet his students needs by incorporating technology and connecting with them at their level of learning.  When it comes to science education, he is pushing the envelope and isn’t content with the status quo.  He is constantly researching new technology and how he can implement it into his classroom.  He is also pushing his colleagues to look at what is out there and available for our students.  He is definitely on the “cutting edge” of where education and technology come together!”


MnSTA Newsletter

Opportunities-Department of Education Minnesota’s Green Ribbon Schools Award Winners 2014

Congratulations to the Minnesota awardees of the US Department of Education Green Ribbon Schools Award:  Waconia Public Schools (District Award)  Chisago Lakes Middle School  Five Hawks Elementary School of Prior Lake This schools completed applications that demonstrated their accomplishments in three areas:  Reducing environmental impact  Improving health and wellness  Providing effective environmental education Awardees receive a plaque and a flag for the school, local recognition, and an invitation to the national ceremony in Washington, DC. The awards are announced annually on Earth Day and the national award ceremony occurs in the summer. Application and Minnesota Information National Program information.

Science MCA Immediate Score Reporting

New this year to the 2014 MCA Science assessments is the availability of immediate score reporting through AIR’s Online Reporting System (ORS). By logging into ORS, teachers can see preliminary individual student scale scores and strand level scale scores for the assessment their students just finished. In order to fully utilize this functionality at a teacher level, some work must be done by your District Assessment Coordinator (DAC) to assign students to each teacher in class rosters. This science study in the spring is an extra step that is not necessary for students to take the assessments and so needs to be done specifically for the purpose of taking advantage of immediate score reporting. Districts and schools can use this preliminary data for instructional and planning purposes, but it does not provide final accountability and should not be shared with the general public or media. Contact your DAC for more information about this data and to see if there are local policies for using this system and data. For questions contact or dawn.cameron@state.

Safe Drinking Water Act 40th Anniversary

 2014 marked the 40th anniversary of the passage of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), which established a set of national standards and regulations for all public water

suppliers. The Minnesota Department of Health, which administers the Act in Minnesota on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, looked back on this historic legislation. Al Quie and Walter Mondale were in Congress at the time, and both share their thoughts and reflect on the significance of the Safe Drinking Water Act in this video. Betty McCollum, a current member of Congress, talks about the ongoing impact of the SDWA along with Steve Schneider of St. Paul Regional Water Services and the commissioners of the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, who stress the importance of interagency cooperation in protecting water sources and keeping it safe to drink for people in Minnesota and beyond. ZSvSc&

FREE GIS Mapping Workshops for K-12 Teachers - Summer 2014

Learn how your students can use map-based data to investigate questions in social studies, science and other content areas. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) has worked with ESRI to develop a statewide license for K-12 education in Minnesota allowing teachers, administrators and clubs to utilize professional mapping software FREE for instructional purposes (ArcGIS Desktop and ArcGIS Online). To help develop skills for teachers to utilize in their classrooms, the Department of Education is partnering with GIS professionals around the State to host 37 free GIS workshops (using ArcGIS Online. The workshops will be offered at various locations and dates in June and July, 2014. Attending a workshop will provide a teacher with the basics of geographic spatial thinking, what is GIS and how ArcGIS Online can be used by teachers and students to quickly and easily develop map products. The workshop will include hands-on exercises and a round robin discussion. CEUs will be available. php/993498/lang-en

Minnesota Zoo Teacher Programs The Minnesota Zoo is offering a series of

workshops focusing on conservation issues facing Minnesota wildlife. Come learn more about these animals in our own back yards– observe them at the zoo, learn about their habitats, exploring their roles in the

Summer 2014

Opportunities-Department of Education ecosystem, and discuss some of the challenges that they face here and beyond. Gather ideas and activities for teaching about these animals and broader conservation issues in your classroom. Workshops are open to all educators. June 23-25 - Insect Workshops, Aug 12 – 14 ZooMS Summer Institute.

Hormel Gifted and Talented Education Symposium, June 9-12, Austin

 The sixth annual Hormel Foundation Gifted and Talented Education Symposium provides an opportunity for educators, counselors, administrators and parents to gain greater understanding of the unique needs of gifted and high potential learners. A generous grant from the Hormel Foundation and collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Education and Austin Public Schools makes possible this intensive educational experience. All are welcome to register and attend the symposium. Invited speakers include many of the field’s finest regionally, nationally and internationally known presenters, focusing on foundational knowledge, creativity, curriculum strategies, and social/emotional needs.

Additive Manufacturing, June 9-12, Eden Prairie

Hennepin Technical College invites you to this FREE workshop to learn about additive manufacturing basic principles, 3D printing and scanning, reverse engineering and related processes. Participants will explore and interact with affordable applications, 3D scanning tools as well as build a desktop FDM printer to bring back to their home schools. Contact Ernie Parker,

Geology and Water Resources of Southwestern Minnesota, June 17-19, Marshall The 16th annual Minnesota Minerals Education Workshop is a three day workshop for K-12 Earth science educators and pre-service teachers. It offers short courses and field trips taught by scientists, professors and teachers focusing on the geology, mineral resources and environmental issues of southwestern Minnesota. Participants will receive a variety of resource materials including rock and mineral samples, lesson plan ideas, posters, maps, videos, and other useful information. Registration cost is $40 which includes meals, instruction, and field trip costs. Information and registration are at http://www.d.umn. edu/prc/MMEW/index.html

TIMES Project, June 17-26, Southwestern Minnesota

Many of you have heard about or participated in the TIMES Project (Teaching Inquirybased Minnesota Earth Science). The project has involved over 240 teachers in 16 separate summer programs in field-based regional geology. This year is TIMES XIV.4 - the fourth year of a continuation grant - and I have three openings for new participants. The commitment involves attending the Mineral’s Workshop in Marshall, June 17-19 (see above), and three days in vans exploring SW Minnesota with an emphasis on environmental issues, June 24-26. Stipend, credits, lodging and food provided by the grant. You must be a Minnesota earth science teacher and be teaching MS or HS earth science next year to qualify. Contact Lee Schmitt,

Project Wet Workshop, June 18, Miltona

Join us as we discover the wonderful world of water and ways to educate youth and their communities about this natural resource. Spend the day learning valuable information and hands-on applications that can be used in a variety of settings! Learn about your watersheds and share the knowledge. Smokey Timbers Campground 9am – 4 pm. $55 fee includes Project Wet curriculum guide, hand lenses, journals and lunch. Contact Marlene Schoeneck, for information and registration.

Environmental Education Conference – Rooted in Diversity, June 20-22, Sandstone

The 2014 Minnesota Association for Environmental Education Conference is a great place to connect with environmental educators across the state, learn about helpful resources for your classroom, and share your own perspectives on environmental education. Please join us at the Audubon Center of the North Woods. Information is posted at Some highlights  Keynote by Dr. Karen Oberhauser from the Univ. of Minn. Monarch Lab  Full-day workshop from the Monarch Lab on Citizen Science  Half-day workshop on incorporating Ojibwe culture in education  Diversity panel on Hmong Environmental Experiences


MnSTA Newsletter

Opportunities-Department of Education Native Skywatchers Workshops

June 23–24 Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College June 26-27 St. Cloud State University. The Native Skywatchers Middle School Teacher Workshop is designed for all educators & persons interested in increasing their knowledge of Ojibwe and D(L)akota Star Knowledge. Included in the workshop are multiple hands-on activities so participants will be able to experience the culture and the science in the most authentic and meaningful way possible. Information and Registration at skywatchers.html Also Native Skywatchers has an exhibit of artwork at the Duluth Art Institute May 1 – August 31. Information at

Rivers Institutes

Join us this summer, as Hamline University’s Center for Global Environmental Education (CGEE) presents its acclaimed Rivers Institute, a FREE, three day field-based professional development opportunity that inspires, educates, and prepares 3rd- 8th grade teachers to engage students in STEM disciplines through hands-on, inquiry-based investigations at local watersheds. Two institutes will be held this summer—one on the St. Croix River and one on the Mississippi River. St. Croix River Institute June 23-25, 2014 (Mon.Wed.) Mississippi River Institute July 28-30, 2014 (Mon.-Wed.) The primary audience for the institutes is elementary and middle school classroom teachers, as well as science specialists and teams of teachers. However, all educators are welcome to apply. For more information and to apply online, please visit the River Institute website http://www.hamline. edu/cgee/riversinstitute/

Dragonfly Teacher Workshops

Educators learn how to use dragonflies to teach the practices of science, connect to crosscutting concepts, and dive deeply into disciplinary core ideas of the Next Generation Science Standards (and Minnesota’s Science Standards). Dragonflies are the charismatic face to this experience but the heart is strengthening educator skill in teaching the processes of science. This workshop includes a bit of background knowledge, a lot of hands-on exploration, and a beautifully illustrated full-color Dragonfly Cur-

Summer 2014

riculum Guide with 17 classroom activities to bring home. June 23 – Minnesota Zoo, July 25 - Whitewater State Park, Aug 8 – Maplewood Nature Center. Information at

Ecology and Earth System Dynamics for Educators, July 21-15, East Bethel

This course focuses on a variety of specific ecological and environmental science content, concepts, laboratory and field skills that educators are required to address when teaching Life Science and Earth Science curricula in Minnesota public schools. It is designed primarily for middle and high school level pre- and in-service science teachers, and other educators who teach the public about ecology and environmental issues. The location is the University of Minnesota Cedar Creek Exosystem Reserve about 35 miles north of the Twin Cities. Housing is available. http://

Force and Motion: Deeper and Cheaper, July 23, Minneapolis

This FREE workshop for teachers of 5th and 6th grades, provides a learning progression guide to teaching force and motion using the cheap and the familiar—with flair and aligned with the NGSS. Learn to “teach the laws for less” and leave with effective and captivating activities, interactive demos, labs, and assessment activities that develop deeper understanding, while having FUN. This workshop is presented by the Flying Bernouli Brothers 9am-1pm at the University of Minnesota Tate Laboratory of Physics. Contact Bill Reitz, to register (limited to 30 participants).

Am. Assoc. of Physics Teachers Conference, July 26-30, Minneapolis

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) will hold their annual summer meeting on the campus of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. The conference includes workshops, talk and poster sessions on physics and physics teaching, plenary sessions by noted physicists and physics educators, and commercial exhibitors. Although the main deadline for submitting presentations has passed, the post-deadline sessions for talks and posters are open until May 16. More details can be found at Alternatively, you may also contact Leon Hsu ( with questions.

WaterWorks!: A Drinking Water Institute for Educators, St. Paul, Aug 4-6 Enrich your water curriculum, investigate drinking water quality and chemistry, tour the St. Paul water

Opportunities-Department of Education plant, and experience water-related resources for the classroom. This three-day, hands-on workshop allows grade 4-10 teachers of science to gather information, ideas and resources from expert presenters about how safe, reliable drinking water is delivered to your community while learning about drinking water issues facing Minnesota and the nation. Meals and resource binder provided. Choose between two graduate credits or stipend. For applications and information http:// waterworks/

Summer Institute for Climate Change and Energy Education, Aug 4 – 6, Sandstone

Integrate STEM content into any subject-area and deepen your ability to teach about energy and climate change with curriculum and experiences from this professional development event. The cost includes two nights lodging, meals, with curriculum and materials galore. Come for the free giveaways, CEUs and optional grad credit, and stay for the inspiring keynotes, guest scientists and campfire conversations with some of the Midwest’s best educators. Audubon Center of the North Woods, Cost: $125 Learn more & register online

Computer Science Conference, August 5, Eagan

Computer Science Teachers Association of Minnesota would like to invite all teachers interested in starting a technology program, enhancing their existing technology program in programming, app development, or classes in the IT industry to attend the day long informational workshop. The FREE event is Tuesday August 5, 9 – 3:30, at Thomson Reuters. Information & registration https://gopherstate-csta.

Steve Spangler Hands-On Science Boot Camp, Aug. 14, Fargo

Steve Spangler is well known for his clever science demos on the Ellen DeGeneres Show. He shares his passion for learning in the classroom, on the stage and through the airwaves. The daylong “boot  camp” is for pre-K and elementary teachers who need creative science integration strategies, who are tired of trying  to  “squeeze”  science  into  their  already  packed  teaching schedule, and who want to make science even more fun and meaningful  for  their  students.  Participants  take  home  a  “survival  kit”  filled  with  gizmos,  gadgets and learning tools along with an activity.

Student Awards, Competitions and Programs Aviation Career Camp, June 22-28 or July 2016, Twin Cities

High school students, explore your future through the Minnesota Aviation Career Aviation Camp. You will:  Visit a variety of aviation facilities  Talk to engineers, pilots, mechanics and air traffic controllers  Fly a plant, helicopter and glider  Learn the basics of flight, aviation systems and much more

Youth Science Day at the Science Museum, July 17, St. Paul

 At Youth Science Day we celebrate our community’s youth and their passion for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). This is an event made by and for young people! Hosted by young people from the Kitty Andersen Youth Science Center, this event showcases the Science Museum of Minnesota as a place for youth to join their peers in discovering and exploring an interest in STEAM and their future in a STEAM field! This is an all ages event. Individuals, families, and community groups are all invited to participate in Youth Science Day. There will be opportunities for organizations and older young people ages 13-18, to showcase their contributions to science, technology, engineering, arts and math. Join us as we come together as a community to empower youth to change our world through STEAM! youthscienceday

Environmental Studies Program, July 27Aug. 2, Luther College

Luther College is offering a Pre-College Course in Environmental Studies this summer for innovative High School students. Students will explore the unique environment of the Driftless region of Northeastern Iowa as they learn leadership skills, participate in hands-on data collection, and learn outdoor skills such as canoeing, rock climbing and caving.


High Tech Kids has scholarships available for next year’s “World Class” FIRST LEGO League season for rookie teams. FIRST LEGO League is for students age 9 to 14. Teams will be studying how we learn and will be presenting how students want and need to learn, as well as building and programming a LEGO Mindstorm robot to complete their chosen

10 MnSTA Newsletter

Opportunities- Dept. of Eduction missions. Preference is given to teams in rural or urban areas, all girls teams, or teams with students of color and/or poverty. Scholarship covers the cost of a new robot ($449) or FIRST Registration ($225). Applications are available on their website: www.

FIRST Tech Challenge

High Tech Kids has scholarships available for the 2014-2015 FIRST Tech Challenge, for students in 7th through 12th grade. Students build a robot for the challenge that will be released on September 7th. Students learn how to program a LEGO Mindstorm robot in Robot C or Labview. Preference is given to teams in rural or urban areas, all girls teams, or teams with students of color and/or poverty. Scholarship covers the cost of two items (FIRST Registration, LEGO Mindstorm NXT or Tetrix Building Kit) valued between $415 and $665. Applications are available on their website:

MDE Contacts:

John Olson, Science Content Specialist, john.c.olson@ Dawn Cameron, Science Assessment Specialist, dawn. Jim Wood, Science Assessment Specialist, Doug Paulson, STEM Integration Specialist,

Presidens message......continued from page 2

committees. Their leadership has been indispensable to the continued growth and success of MnSTA. MnSTA board members also provide direction and support for MnSTA’s Executive Board and other board positions, which facilitate most of MnSTA’s administrative, financial, and organizational work each year. Of course the board members who fill these roles are indispensable to the smooth functioning of MnSTA and all that we do from the administrative work done by our Executive Secretary, Ed Hessler, our Webmaster, Eric Koser, our Newslette Editor, Jerry Wenzel, our Database Manager, Mark Lex, and our Parliamentarian, Fred Reim, to managing our finances done by our Treasurer, Joe Reymann, to planning our annual conference by our Conference Coordinator, Jean Tushie, to keeping us all apprised of the larger forces affecting us all by our State Science Specialist, John Olson and our NST District Director, Mary Colson. And of course I am proud to use this farewell address as an introduction to MnSTA next President, Lee Schmitt. Lee will be starting as MnSTA President in July and is an amazing educator and leader in STEM education who will bring years of experience and a love for STEM education to MnSTA. Lee works as a program director for the Hamline University School of Education’s Center for Global Environmental Education and is well known for his nationally recognized teacher professional development programs at Hamline University including Hamline’s Water Works! Institutes, Teaching Inquiry-based Minnesota Earth Science (TIMES) Project, helping teachers expePresidentsmessage.............. continued on page 13

Summer 2014 11


Dragonfly Educator Workshops: Giving Roots to your STEM Minnesota Zoo Monday June 23rd, 8:30 am -12:30 pm Cost $50 Whitewater State Park Thursday July 24th 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm Cost $55 Maplewood Nature Center Friday August 8th, 8:30 am – 12:30 pm Cost $77

Registration info at or email ami@ Get a bit of dragonfly background knowledge, a lot of hands-on outside exploration, the beautifully illustrated full-color paperback or electronic Dragonfly Curriculum Guide with 17 classroom activities, and 4 CEUs.   The Dragonfly Workshop Includes:

· Outdoor hands-on field time capturing and examining as many dragonflies as we can catch · Dragonfly life history 101 · Techniques for dragon and damselfly ID · Practice using dragonfly classroom activities · A full-color paperback or electronic version of the Dragonfly Curriculum Guide, including 17 activities · Four CEUs · Connections to all of the NGSS Scientific Practices: asking questions, using models, investigating, computational thinking, constructing explanations, argumentation, and communication

Quotes from previous participants: “I think this is the BEST training, related to science, I have ever received.” “Fun. Organized. Professional. Great take aways. Good Knowledge of the Science! Thank you!!” “Really well prepared workshop and you get a lot for you money. Tons of free resources materials and activities. We were always moving and learning something new, never bored!”

12 MnSTA


Opportunities The Molecularium® Project and NanoSpace® Ready to Use Tools for the New School Year Despite what many believe, the summer break is not all play for educators. We understand that you begin planning for fall now. As you develop your curriculum for the upcoming year, we encourage you to explore Rensselaer’s Molecularium® Project ( and its interactive website, NanoSpace® (http://nanospace. The project was created by worldrenowned scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) Nanotechnology Center. Teachers across the country have already incorporated the media of Rensselaer’s Molecularium Project and NanoSpace into their classrooms and have received an enthusiastic response from students. Why? NanoSpace helps to not only engage and excite students, but improves their ability to comprehend complex subject matter. “I found NanoSpace - Molecules to the MAX! to be both educational and entertaining. It introduced my students to the world of atoms and molecules through kid friendly characters; Oxy, Hydra, and Mel, the molecularium computer,” stated Laurie Brennan, a science teacher from the Lester School in Downers Grove, Illinois. NanoSpace features more than 25 games and activities in an amusement park setting. NanoSpace entices visitors with colorful animations and eye-catching designs, while challenging visitors to try and beat the clock in “Periodic Memory Game” and click-and-drag atoms to construct molecules in “Build’em.” The games and activities address topics including, Molecule Building, States of Matter, Electron Scales, Size Scales, Materials and DNA. NanoSpace brings back characters who were introduced in RPI’s giant-screen animated adventure Molecules to the MAX!, including Oxy, an inquisitive oxygen atom and the intrepid captain of the Molecularium ship; and Hydra, an enthusiastic hydrogen atom who is curious about everything. A DVD of Molecules to the MAX! will be available soon! The Educators ( educators. html#educators-resources) section on the Molecularium Project website provides free, downloadable in-depth guides for teachers to implement in their classrooms. Fun, interactive and educational lesson plans, activities utilizing common, every day materials and fun facts, make it easy and turn-key for teachers to plan for class segments on atoms and molecules. The guides even include worksheets and are easy to print from downloadable PDFs for specific grade levels.

Summer 2014

STEM Opportunity for School Districts Student Spaceflight Experiments Program -Mission 7 to the International Space Station. (The above subject line/title can hotlink to this URL: The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education, and NanoRacks announce Mission 7 to the International Space Station. This STEM education opportunity immerses grade 5-14 students across a community in an authentic, high visibility research experience, where student teams design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station. The program nurtures ownership in learning, critical thinking, problem solving, navigation of an interdisciplinary landscape, and communication skills. TIME CRITICAL: all interested communities are asked to inquire by May 30, 2014; schools and districts need to assess interest with their staff and, if appropriate, move forward with an Implementation Plan. Communities must be aboard by September 3, 2014, for a 9-week experiment design phase September 8 to November 7, 2014, and flight experiment selection by December 17, 2014. Flight of the selected experiment to ISS is expected in Spring 2015. Contact: Dr. Jeff Goldstein, SSEP Program Director; 301-395-0770; Presidens message......continued from page 11

rience the “science” in earth science and bringing this experience to their teaching, Minnesota Science Teachers Education Project (MnSTEP), and Hamline’s Chem4All and Physics4All professional development workshops. I am confident Lee will be an amazing MnSTA President serving us all proudly and well. I thank Lee for taking on this important role for our organization and thank you all for your continued dedication to science education and for being members of the Minnesota Science Teachers Association. I hope to see you at next year’s Minnesota Conference On Science Education on February 20-21, 2015.

MnSTA Board Directory

MnSTA Phone# (651)-523-2945

Below, you will find information about your MnSTA Board Members. The listing includes the board memberâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s school (or organization), mailing address, work phone, FAX number, and e-mail address. The board wishes to make itself as accessible as possible for our members. Please feel free to contact your discipline representative, regional representative, or executive board members if you have ideas, concerns, or wish to help with the mission or operation of MnSTA. We are always looking for members who wish to serve MnSTA as Board Members, Non-Board Service Chairs or Members, and as Committee Chairs or Members.

Executive Board: Exec. Secretary

Ed Hessler

Hamline University, 1536 Hewitt Ave. MS-A1760,

W: 651-523-2945

F: 651-523-3041



Steve Walvig

The Bakken

3537 Zenith Ave. S


President Elect

Lee Schmitt

F: 612-927-7265

St. Paul, MN 55104 Minneapolis, MN 55416

Hamline University

1536 Hewitt Ave. MS-A1760,

St. Paul, MN 55104

651-523-2562 Treasurer

Joe Reymann



DOE Science Specialist

John Olson

Dept.of Education 651-582-8673

Discipline Directors: Biology

Nancy Orr-Johnson

Humboldt Secondary 30 E. Baker St.

St. Paul, MN 55107

W:763-242-4649 Chemistry

Carolyn Fruin

Eastview High School


Earth Science

Kate Rosok


Minneapolis Public Schools

Elementary/Greater MN Nicole Christofferson-Weston Menahga Public Schools

216 Aspen Ave;

Menahga, MN 56464

218-564-4141X477 Elementary/Metro

Polly Saatzer Garlough Environmental Magnet 1740 Charlton St. W:651-552-0094

Higher Ed

Michele Koomen

W507-933-6057 F507-933-6020

Informal Ed

Larry Thomas

West St. Paul, MN 55118

Gustavus Adolphus College 800 West College Ave. SMM

St. Peter, MN 56082

120 W. Kellogg Blvd

St. Paul, MN 55102

W: 651-221-4507



Jerry Wenzel




Paul Lulai

St. Anthony Village High School 3303 33rd Ave

St. Anthony, MN 55418

W:612-964-5374 Private Schools

Carolyn Ocampo



Eric Koser 507-387-3461 x 322

Mankato West H.S. F: 507-345-1502

1351 S. Riverfront Dr. e:

Mankato, MN 56001 W:

Region Representatives: Region 1&2: North

Laurie Arnason

South Point Elementary 1900 13th St. SE

East Grand Forks, MN 56721

W:218-773-1149 Region 1&2: North

Michael Urban

Bemidji State University

1500 Birchmont Dr.

Bemidji, MN 56601

218-775-3782 Region 3: Northeast

Elizabeth Kersting-Peterson Piedomont Elementary 2827 Chambersburg Ave.

W:218-336-8950 X 2759


Duluth, MN 55811


MnSTA Newsletter

Region 4: Westcentral Vacant Region 5: Northcentral Marie Zettel

Aitkin High School

306 2nd St. SW

W 218-927-2115 X 3313

Region 6: Southcentral Philip Sinner Renville County West

301 NE 3rd St. PO Box 338

W320-329-8368 F320-329-8191

Region 7: Eastcentral

Kari Dombrovski

Talahi Community School 1321 University Dr. SE



Region 8: Southcentral Philip Sinner

Aitkin, MN 56431 Renville, MN 56284 St. Cloud, MN 56304

Renville County West

301 NE 3rd St. PO Box 338

Renville, MN 56284

W320-329-8368 F320-329-8191

Region 9: South

Dana Smith W:507-232-3461X4114

Nicolette Public School 1 Pine St. e:

Nicollet, MN 56047

Region 10: Southeast

Sharie Furst

Kasson-Mantorville Elemementary 604 16th St. NE

Kasson, MN 55944


Region 11: Metro

Betsey Stretch


Minneapolis Public Schools

1250 Broadway

Minneapolis, MN 55411

Ancillary Positions: Database

Mark Lex 55416

Benilde-St. Margaretâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 2501 Hwy 100 S W: 952-927-4176 F: 952-920-8889

Historian/Parlimentarian Fred Riehm

Retired â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;91

NSTA Dist. IX Director

Horizon MS

Mary Colson

St. Louis Park, MN e: 3601 12th Ave. So.

Moorhead, MN 56560

W: 218-284-7300 Conference Coordinator Jean Tushie

Eden Prairie High School

F 952-975-8020

W 952-975-4347

17185 Valley View Rd Eden Prairie, N 55346


Events Calendar If you have events you want placed on the calendar, send them to the editor - see page 2 for deadlines, address, etc.

Conferences / Workshops MnCOSE Minnesota Conference on Science Education Feb. 20-21, 2015 Verizon Center in Mankato

Summer 2014

Minnesota Science Teachers Association, Inc. Hamline University MS MS-A1760 1536 Hewitt Ave. St. Paul, MN 55104

Non-Porfit Org U.S. Postage PAID

Twin Cities, MN Permit No. 4197

MnSTA Regions

MnSTA Membership Application Form

Join the Minnesota Science Teachers Association (MnSTA), the professional organization whose primary goal is the advancement of science education. Mail this form along with your check to: MnSTA, Hamline University MS - A1760, 1536 Hewitt Ave., St. Paul, MN 55104


First name


Last name



Name Address



Zip Code



Phone number (include area code)

Phone number (include area code)

Preferred email address

Fax number (include area code)

Second email address

School district # (enter "P" if private)

q New Member

q Renewing Member

Rates (Check one): q Basic Membership ...................... $25 q First Year Teacher ...................... $15 q Retired Teacher .......................... $15 q Pre-service Student .................... $10 q Life Membership: to age 35 ..... $400 age 36-50 ... $300 over 50 ........ $200

Zip Code

Indicate the grade level you work with: level: q Elementary (K-6) q College/University q Middle/Jr. High School (6-9) q Informal Ed q High School (9-12) Choose up to three discipline mailing lists: q Elementary q Earth Science q Life Science q Physical Science

q Biology q Chemistry q Physics q Environmental Science

MSTA Summer 2014 Newsletter  

The quarterly publication of the Minnesota Science Teachers Association.

MSTA Summer 2014 Newsletter  

The quarterly publication of the Minnesota Science Teachers Association.