The STATellite (January 2017)

Page 1

Kylie Murry, M.Ed.

2016 Photo 2016 STAT Award The Joy of Technology 20 CAST 22 31 Recap Winners


S TATe l l i te 2017 Winter Issue Volume 60 Issue 4

George Hademenos

PD Opportunity #2:

The Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Awards p.15

STAT Scholarship Recipients

CAST 2016 Reflections p.6

The Carolina Mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) is the most common mantis in the United States. This formidable predator occupies an important niche as it consumes vast amounts of smaller insects helping control populations. This photograph was taken at Cleburne State Park by Paschal High School biology teacher Andrew Brinker.

The Official Publication of the Science Teachers Association of Texas

SEPTEMBER 2017 The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

Upcoming Events 2017








PD Opportunity #2: The Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Awards................15 CAST 2016 Photo Recap...................20 The Joy of Technology......................22


CAST 2016 Reflections.......................6


President’s Column.............................3





WEDNESDAY, February 15

ISEA 2017 Conference

New Braunfels, TX

SATURDAY, February 18


Haslet, TX

SATURDAY, February 18

Science on the “Right Side” of Texas Mini CAST

Port Arthur, TX

FRIDAY, February 24

2016 STAT Award Winners................31

STAT Board of Directors Meeting

STAT Contacts...................................33

SATURDAY, February 25

Irving, TX

STAT Executive Committee Meeting

Irving, TX

THURSDAY, March 30

NSTA Annual Convention

Los Angeles, CA

TUESDAY, June 27

TABT - Belize Trip 2017


For more information and events visit us online at:


The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

President’s Column


appy New Year everyone,

I hope that you had a restful winter break spent with family and friends and are now off to a good start in the classroom with the spring semester. In this Column of STATellite, I have four items to bring to your attention including an item that requires membership vote. But first, let me begin by talking about CAST 2016. (1)

CAST 2016

Wasn’t CAST 2016 phenomenal? CAST 2016 was held in San Antonio November 10 – 12 and was by all measures a success! The final attendance at CAST was 5,562 science educators attending a total of 731 professional devel-

opment sessions. Of these sessions, CAST offered 576 workshops, 27 featured sessions, 91 exhibitor/product demos, and 37 short courses. A big shout out and huge thank you to those who volunteered to help at CAST. CAST is an enormous production that could not be successful and run smoothly without the help from our dedicated volunteers. If you did not get a chance to attend CAST 2016, then not to worry. CAST 2017 is just around the corner, scheduled for November 9 – 11, to be held in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center. (2) Proposed STAT Bylaws Change Requiring Membership Vote Over the last 10 years, the

George Hademenos STAT President

growing size and scope of the annual CAST conference has necessitated that some STAT budgetary and logistical decisions have to be made 3-5 years in advance. During officer election years when 3-5 positions are being elected simultaneously, this has reduced the ability of the board to function effectively. At this time, the Executive Committee would like to put to membership vote the proposed changes below to our bylaws. There are no changes suggested for 5.5A-D. Changes to 5.5E-G are noted in bold. 5.5H is new altogether.

Article 5: Executive Committee Currently

Proposed Changes

5.5 Term of Office: Each office shall be held for a one year term.

5.5 Term of Office: Each office will be on staggered 2 year teams, with the exclusion of the President, President-Elect, and Immediate Past-President. Together, these positions constitute a 3yr term.

A President: Shall be the chief executive officer of STAT and shall assume the office of Past-President after having served as President.

Stays the same


The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

President’s Column (continued)


Proposed Changes

B President-Elect: Shall work cooperatively with the President in administering the affairs of STAT and assume the office of President after fulfilling the term of President-Elect.

Stays the same

C Immediate Past-President: Shall advise the president and president-elect and assume office after having served as President.

Stays the same

D Vice-President: Shall assume the office of President-Elect in case of vacancy and may be re-elected to serve no more than two (2) consecutive terms in that office.

Stays the same

E Secretary: Shall be responsible for documentation of all regular and special meetings and may be re-elected to serve no more than two (2) consecutive terms in that office.

E Secretary: Shall be responsible for documentation of all regular and special meetings and shall serve a 2 year term in that office.

F Treasurer: Shall oversee all STAT financial activities and may be re-elected to no more than five (5) consecutive terms in that office.

F Treasurer: Shall oversee all STAT financial activities and shall serve a 3 year term in that office.

G Members At-Large: Shall represent the needs of the members and may be re-elected to serve no more than two (2) consecutive terms in that office

G Members At-Large: Shall represent the needs of the members and shall serve a 2 year term in that office H Executive committee reserves the right to stagger board elections to ensure no more than 5 positions are being elected in any one given year.

President’s Column (continued)

In the previous STATellite, I spoke to the importance of professional development (PD) within STAT and wanted to share with you

Have a great school year and I look forward to seeing you in Houston for CAST 2017!











The 2016-2017 nomination window will close on April 1, 2017, and the application window will close on May 1, 2017. Teachers may be nominated for the award or may apply themselves at

4) Professional Development Opportunities

three (PD) experiences that I engaged in this past summer through the pages of STATellite. I began the series in the September STATellite speaking to you about the School of Rock. In this issue, the PD experience I wrote about is The Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Awards with links to additional information and application materials.


The 2016-2017 nomination and application windows for grades 7-12 mathematics and science teachers for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) program are now open. The PAEMST awards are the nation’s highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science. Awardees serve as models for their colleagues, inspiration to their communities, and leaders in the improvement of mathematics and science education. AP Computer Science teachers may apply under the mathematics category.

For questions, contact Jo Ann Bilderback at tx_ or 512-463-9581.


3) Nominations and Applications for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST)

If you know great teachers, encourage them to join this prestigious network of professionals. In Texas, eligible teachers who submit a completed application by May 1, 2017 will receive 25 CPE hours.


Voting will commence on January 16, 2017 and end on January 30, 2017.


The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

CAST 2016 Reflections


y time at the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching was well spent. I learned new ways to teach vocabulary (which is hard for my students to grasp) along with interactive ways to teach the topics we teach in the 4th grade.

Overall, CAST was an amazing experience and I want to attend year after year. This year I was lucky enough to get a scholarship to attend and that was the biggest blessing that occurred. I would encourage anyone interested to see what CAST can offer to help you teach science in the classroom and check out the wonderful scholarship that you could potentially receive. CAST is by far my favorin front of the Alamo - San Antonio, TX ite conference fered great insight to see- available to me and I know ing animals that aren’t you would enjoy it too! in my backyard (I have sheep, goats, cows, etc.) I Janna Fuchs love seeing the exotic ani- Bowie Elementary mals close up and learning San Angelo, TX the facts that the zoo provides about them. monkeys. How could you not take pictures of monkeys that are the size of your hand and not show them to your students back home?! The zoo of-

First off, whoever planned for the conference on the river walk was really thinking. Not only did we learn new teaching ideas Janna Fuchs during the day, but we also got to experience some Texas history in the evening. It is so nice walking around downtown San Antonio and seeing the sights on the Riverwalk, but also see things like the Alamo basically in your hotel’s backyard. It’s such a neat Finally, I didn’t just enjoy CAST because of the aweplace. some workshops and the Secondly, I was able to at- zoo, but I also got to hang tend the San Antonio Zoo out with my 3rd grade which I’m a big fan of. The teacher who is now teachclosest zoo to me doesn’t ing 4th grade science. She have an elephant so that’s has been such a blessing a big bummer. The San to me and I’m thankful for Antonio zoo not only has the opportunity that CAST an elephant, but also tons gave me for catching up and tons of species of little with her.

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CAST 2016 Reflections (continued)


attended CAST 2016 in November at the San Antonio Riverwalk. It is always a fun time to collaborate with other teachers. CAST has so much to offer! The workshops offer many activities and topics that will enhance your TEKS. The booths display many new and exciting ideas for purchase and many free things are given away as well! No matter what topic you teach, CAST has something for you! I had the opportunity to attend many workshops that will enhance my teaching. One of the workshops that I attended was called Vampire Chronicles: Sink Your Teeth into Genetics and Blood Typing. This workshop challenges you to determine who will be safe and who will be dinner. You will use animal blood microscope slides and simulated animal blood typing techniques to determine

which boy is related to a particular couple. What a fun activity for students! This would be a great activity to do around Halloween. I also had the opportunity to attend a T-TESS workshop! I discovered many ideas and tools that will help make my class an open, collaborative classroom environment. I was introduced to many engaging activities that will help me grow as a teacher and improve my instruction. I was able to attend CAST because of a scholarship given by the Science Teachers Associa-

tion of Texas (STAT). I am so thankful for the scholarship that I received so that I could attend CAST this year. Without the scholarship, I would not have been able to attend CAST. Many thanks to STAT who made it possible for me to attend! If you have not attended a CAST Conference, make plans to attend soon! Where else can you go and share ideas and lesson plans with your peers and have fun while you are learning! You will gain so much valuable information and new ideas! I am looking forward to attending CAST 2017 next year! Jennifer Browning Hawkins Middle School Mineola, TX



The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

CAST 2016 Reflections (continued)


feel extremely blessed that I was able to attend CAST 2016 as a scholarship recipient. Without being selected I would have missed out on a lot of hands on learning, so I am truly grateful for this experience. Majority of the workshops that I attended were geared towards Elementary level teaching but some of the middle school ideas could easily be adapted to lower levels. One of the best things I took away with me for my teacher toolbox is the concept of interactive word walls. So many times vocabulary becomes dull and lackluster, hanging on the back of a classroom wall or chart. Through my time at CAST I learned how to put the oomph back into vocabulary. If students don’t actually use the


AST 2016 was downright incredible!! Having it in San Antonio, right next to the Riverwalk made it even better. I able to experience the vibrant life of San Antonio and the Riverwalk: I went for a riverboat ride, I was able to visit the Tower of the Americas, I watched the Veterans’ Day Parade, and I even got to go visit the Alamo. On top of all that, I was able to meet and collaborate

word wall then it is just a piece of art. By using easily changeable materials such as Velcro vocabulary becomes moveable and adaptable to the day’s lesson. Having students assist with the implementation or creation of the word wall also adds to its value. One other thing that stood out to me during the conference is the idea of wonder. As teachers we need to encourage our students to ask questions, while wondering why things are the way they are or how they got that way. Opening a topic with “I wonder” statements opens the floor for student thinking. This idea is something we can use in other subject areas, so it is not just limited to the world of science. CAST workshops show teachers with Science teachers from around the state of Texas. While at CAST, I was able to attend several sessions on Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning, one of them with Dr. Julie Jackson, as well as multiple sessions on vocabulary development, with my favorite being Vocabapalooza 2.0! I learned valuable information while attending these sessions, and, as a result, I now know of better ways to

how to implement science concepts in a cross-curricular manner. I attended CAST 2015 so I can honestly say this conference just continues to get better, while making me a more confident teacher. Ann Holder International Leadership of Texas-Keller Fort Worth, TX

integrate Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning into my science classes and new ways in which to foster vocabulary development. I am so thankful for the scholarship committee for making this experience possible for me. I look forward to attending CAST, again, next year in Houston. Paiqe Adelmann Jay R. Thompson Elementary McKinney, TX

Volume 60 Issue 4


CAST 2016 Reflections (continued)


am blessed to teach in a large district with eight other biology teachers. However, six out of those eight biology teachers are coaches. While they are some of the greatest teachers and coaches I know, I also understand that they are spread very thin in all the responsibilities they have. Therefore in my PLC, I write the lessons plans and come up with most of the new ideas. However, I was running out of ideas and I was beginning to feel stifled in my teaching routine. I was getting bored and my students were too. A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to attend CAST for the first time. It was an eye opening experience. As I reflected on my current dilemma of running out of ideas and feeling stifled, I knew that CAST was where I need to go. However, I did not


t is highly unusual for teachers anywhere to want to attend professional development. So why is it that in the state of Texas nearly 6,000 science teachers are congregating happily to attend workshops and seminars over a threeday stretch? Well, that is because CAST is unlike any

know if that would be financially possible. Thankfully, someone pointed me to the CAST scholarship and I never looked back. Through the scholarship, I was able to attend CAST. I got to spend three days geeky out over new science discoveries, learning how to make awesome manipulatives, and finding new ways to engage my students. I came back with free samples and even won some door prizes. Most importantly, I got to share ideas and network with other people who are passionate about science education. As soon as I got back, I shared my new idea with the PLC. They were willing and ready to run with these awesome ideas I received at CAST. My PLC has already used two of the strategies I learned

and with great success! We have plans to implement more in the works! I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to attend CAST this year. The ideas and lessons I learned will be used for years in my classroom. If you ever have the chance to attend, you must! Jennifer Farber Monterey High School Lubbock, TX

other teacher conference. a wonderland for teachers, particularly those who have I was fortunate enough to less than five years teachIn one attend CAST 2016 in San ing experience. Antonio, Texas as a schol- place and in one day teacharship recipient; however, ers can network with other it is not the first time I have teachers, earn 5 hours of attended. I applied for the PD, attend social events, scholarship because this and earn prizes they can was the only way for me to use in their classroom afford to attend. CAST is as soon as they return.



The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

CAST 2016 Reflections (continued)

I attended a workshop where an entire project based lesson was discussed on pinball machines, and I left with the lesson plans and resource list. The following workshop had me in the student chair answering questions and playing with electric circuits. I learned a better way to engage my students with an electricity lesson, and I won a snap circuit game board. I spent some time in the ex-


was very grateful to have won the STAT Scholarship to the CAST 2016 event. I was able to attend many different sessions during the three day convention. There were many things I took away to bring back to my third grade classroom in Slaton, Texas. I am also very anxious to share my take-aways with not only science teachers, but also other teachers in the building as well. The

hibit hall where I picked up a set of flashcards for my astronomy students, some excellent posters on nuclear fusion, and I purchased a virtual reality game that will support an entire unit of study in astronomy. CAST engages teachers in the workshops it offers the same way that teachers are looking to engage students. Every dollar spent to send a new teacher to sessions that I attended were full of ideas to get my students engaged in the lessons, interacting with each other, and working with technology. There was one session I attended which gave information that really stuck out to me. The word ‘because’ was a teacher’s favorite word because she was able to use it to prompt students to finish their thoughts without asking ‘why?’ This is important because when a student hears a teacher ask ‘why?’ after their answer they feel like they are wrong. This was a huge light bulb for me because when I ask my student ‘why?’ they always change their answer and I have to tell them, “I did not say you were wrong, I just

CAST is an investment that greatly benefits our students. I cannot wait for November to roll around again because I’m planning on presenting at CAST this time around. After all, that is what makes CAST successful, the exchange of new ideas among teachers. Maria Jimenez Nixon Smiley High School Nixon, TX

want you to explain.” Now I will be using the word ‘because?’ to prompt my students and to start discussions. I know this seems to be such a minute strategy I learned but I know it will change the way students answer questions and I am hoping that they will eventually start explaining their answers without me having to prompt them. I would recommend that you apply for the STAT scholarship to get the opportunity to attend CAST. You will take away so many ideas to better yourself as a teacher which will in the end help your students become successful. Kalan Lamberson Cathelene Thomas Elementary Slaton, TX

Volume 60 Issue 4


CAST 2016 Reflections (continued)

The world around us is bigger than we can imagine. There are unlimited possibilities to explore and discover a variety of philosophies related to science. Science is an exciting and magnificent subject to teach, because you can connect it to real world ideas that students see daily in the world around them. By connecting important scientific terms or concepts to a student’s life, you will create a higher chance that the student will remember it. I attended several classes at CAST that reinforced this concept. Teachers can


s fall comes around each year most people look forward to Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve, but for me CAST is what keeps me eagerly awaiting. Each time I have had the opportunity to attend CAST I have walked away with material and ideas that are so valuable I cannot wait to get back and try them. San Antonio was no exception. As an 8th grade science teacher I am constantly looking for ways to motivate my students and engage them in each new topic. I attended a wonderful session called

connect vocabulary terms to dance and add movements that will help them remember the definitions. An educator can pull out an example in a student’s life that will fit just about any scientific model. When teaching phases of matter, a teacher can bring in connections that a student will remember like ice cream, bubbles, etc. A teacher is linking real life to science in school when they let students play with these different items and name them with science terms. By creating this bridge between school and real life, the students will find science important and see

the reason for learning it.

STAAR games that gave me a fantastic new outlook on STAAR review. This teacher engages and excites her students for STAAR review by creating a themed classroom for different science topics each week. Her themes included Jurassic Park with giant dinosaur eggs, Harry Potter with house competitions, and Star Wars with galaxies far, far away. Not only did I love the idea enough to share it, but our entire department will be participating in something very similar this year. The final push is always the hard-

est for middle schoolers because they begin to run

Students today need a reason to learn. When it is made exciting or brought to life in front of their eyes, then they will get excited about science and the world around them. They will become more inquisitive and seek out answers for themselves. Isn’t that what we all want to see our students to do? “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.” - Benjamin Franklin

Samanthia Woods Joe K. Bryant Elementary Tom Bean, TX



The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

CAST 2016 Reflections (continued)

out of steam by the end of the year, but with this new technique I really believe I can help my students get the most out of their education. In another presentation they discussed convection currents. Convection currents can be one of the hardest concepts to explain in 8th grade science and existing experiments to show convection currents can sometimes be unsuccessful. I not only got to witness a great experiment to show convection currents, but I was able to participate as a student myself. The session gave me something fantastic to


f I have seen further, it is by Standing on the Shoulders of Giants� said Isaac Newton in 1676. Fast forward to a few hundred years in the future, we are here at the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST) 2016. This expression could not have been more applicable for the vision of CAST. I came to San Antonio hoping to acquire resources, materials, ideas- anything for my new prep, Forensic �

take home to my students and a great understanding of what the students see and feel as they complete the experiment. I also attended a great session on proportional relationships. In 8th grade they often struggle with a good portion of the math that they learned in 6th and 7th grade. Using the technique these teachers employed I believe we can help even our strugglers become masters of math. One of the most important things I learned at CAST this year is that it is possible to make even your most academically chalScience. CAST did that for me and more!!!

lenged students feel empowered. There is always a new way to look at a problem or approach instruction. By continuing to add to my bag of tricks each year I learn more and more ways to help my students not only feel successful, but also empowered. The empowerment of students is the most important thing we as teachers can do. The students of today are the teachers of tomorrow. Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity! Catherine Watkins Warren Middle School Canton, TX

The one thing that stood out about my experience at CAST 2016, besides the variety of workshops, is the willingness of other teachers to share what they were doing in their classes. In particular, I must say thank you to Nicole Fortune from Killeen ISD and Mrs. Patricia Bertino. These two women helped me to find new approaches to teaching Forensics. I am now able to use my previous ideas in

Volume 60 Issue 4


CAST 2016 Reflections (continued)

conjunction with what I gained. Talk about giants! Having an avenue like CAST, where teachers can brainstorm and get ideas from one another is amazing! I arrived feeling like I was stuck on the same boring road and I left San An-

tonio confident that there were many new roads to explore. We all know teaching can be a thankless profession, so I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the STAT committee for awarding me with this

scholarship. Thank you for a successful CAST and I hope to be a participant in the future. Coryse Davidson Crosby High School Crosby, TX

CAST 2016 Scholarship Recipients

Back Row -- Paige Adelman, Jennifer Browning, Coryse Davidson, Jennifer Farber, Janna Fuchs, Scholarship Committee Chair - Linda Schaake Front Row -- Anne Holder, Maria Jimenez, Kalan Lamberson, Catherine Watkins



The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

PD Opportunity #2: The Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Awards By George Hademenos


n the President’s Column of the September issue of the STATellite, I expressed an interest in informing STAT membership of three professional development opportunities that I participated in this past year to be described in articles published in subsequent issues of STATellite throughout the year. The purpose of this series of articles is to provide STAT membership with a first-hand account of options that they might want to submit an application toward expanding their curricular knowledge and enriching their instructional activities. The second professional development opportunity described in this article is The Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Awards. Although this is an award competition, the program is looking for teachers of all disciplines who are creative, resourceful and make a positive impact in the classroom and the community. Although twenty teachers are chosen from the pool of applicants to receive prizes, the top 10 award winners receive the grand prize: a five-day “In-

novation Immersion Experience” at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. Although I knew nothing about the The Henry Ford and the “Innovation Immersion Experience” walking in, I was totally transformed and amazed as an educator walking away. So, what exactly was so transforming about this experience? Below is a brief summary of the five days that I spent at The Henry Ford.

talents demonstrated at MakerFaire but as the saying goes: “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Figures 1 - 3 are representative photos of three sites experienced at MakerFaire Detroit. Figure 1:

Sunday, July 31 Following a day of travel in which nine teachers from across the country flew into Detroit, Michigan and made it to the suburb of Dearborn, the first official scheduled activity began today with a visit to MakerFaire Detroit (http:// www.makerfairedetroit. com/) which was held on site at The Henry Ford. For those who are unaware of the event, MakerFaire is equivalent to a Science Expo for scientists, both professional and amateur, whose talents and products truly embody examples of STEM, limited only by the scientist’s creativity. Words cannot adequately explain examples of these

Figure 2:


The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

PD Opportunity #2: The Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Awards (continued) Figure 3:

line followed by the final assembled product in Figure 5. Figure 4:

Monday, August 1 The agenda today began with a team-based activity known as Henry’s Assembly Line. Henry Ford is famous for his invention of the first mass-produced car, the Model T. Being the innovator that he was, Mr. Ford knew that in order to keep up with the public demand of the automobile, he needed to devise a process by which the Model T could be mass produced in an efficient and effective manner. This quest for manufacturing efficiency led to the assembly line. In this activity, the teachers were assigned at different stations with a single responsibility leading to the construction of a miniature wooden Model T. Figure 4 is a photo of our assembly

Figure 5:

many acquaintances and friends but none closer than Thomas Edison. The impact that Edison had on Henry Ford’s life is evident throughout the museum grounds, including his signature on the museum cornerstone on September 27, 1928 shown in Figure 6. Another striking exhibit was the exploded Model T in Figure 7. However, of all of the exhibits contained within the walls of the museum that gave me pause to truly reflect on how far we have come as a nation, it was this bus in Figure 8, known as the Rosa Parks bus. Figure 6:

This was followed by a tour of The Henry Ford Museum. The Henry Ford Museum, in short, is a miniature version of the Smithsonian Institute, housing an evolving view of technology exhibits as they pertain to housing, transportation, and entertainment. Henry Ford had

Figure 7:

Volume 60 Issue 4


PD Opportunity #2: The Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Awards (continued) Figure 8:

depicted in Figures 12 and 13.

Figure 10:

Figure 11:

Next on the agenda was a visit to the Archives Library, which is not your typical library. Henry Ford was a collector, and every item, trinket, collectible and document he amassed over his lifetime was stored within the many moving filing cabinets, as shown in Figure 9. One item that was brought out for display and caught my interest was the array of weekly time cards for Thomas Edison (Figure 10). Closer inspection of the two cards on the far right reveal a work week of 112 hours. Figure 9:

Tuesday, August 2 Today began with a visit to Firestone Farm. As you might have deduced, this is the actual house and farm that Henry Ford’s good friend Harvey Firestone of the rubber tire empire was born and raised. The Firestone Farm (shown in Figure 11), with the exception of upgrades and modifications, stands today just as it looked in 1882. It is a fully functional farm with employees working the farm in the same dress and using the same farming tools and methods as was done in the late 1880’s, as

Figure 12:

Figure 13:

Following our tour of Firestone Farm, each teacher had a chance to take a spin in an actual Model T around the museum grounds (Figure 14). We were not worried about getting a speeding ticket – the maximum



The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

PD Opportunity #2: The Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Awards (continued)

speed of a Model T is approximately 40 miles per hour.

Figure 16:

Figure 14:

Following lunch, the teachers had a chance to tour Greenfield Village – a “town” reconstructed to reflect life at the turn of the 19th century. There were many sites to see, shops to visit, and wares to try, but one stop on the tour of the Village of particular interest was the Wright Cycle Co. (Figure 15) where brothers Wilbur and Orville devised, tested, and constructed the prototype for manned flight (Figure 16). Figure 15:

In the afternoon, the teachers attended a workshop where they learned about a new Innovation 101 Curriculum and Methodology which can be accessed through the following website:

Figure 17: i n n ovat i o n / i n n ovation-101/curricula This curriculum focuses on the narrative and interviews of well-known innovators to instill critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity into classroom instructions and activities. Wednesday, August 3 With the running theme of Henry Ford and the Model T, the morning’s activity was constructing a Model T in teams. However, this time, the Model T was the actual vehicle.

The teachers constructed an authentic Model T with the help of two experts. Teams of teachers were asked to step to the automobile frame and perform a task. After that task was completed, another team of teachers were asked to perform an additional task (as shown in Figures 17 and 18) until the construction of the Model T was completed (Figure 19).

Figure 18:

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PD Opportunity #2: The Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Awards (continued) Figure 19:

After lunch, the teachers boarded a bus for the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. A concerted effort was made to incorporate environmentally friendly features within the buildings such as the living (green) roof, shown in Figure 20. The advantages of a green roof include lower inside temperature, absorption of rainwater, and improvement of air quality in the building. Following the tour of the factory facility, the teachers had an opportunity to visit an actual assembly line of custom-built Ford F150 vehicles. Figure 20:

Thursday, August 4

Figure 22:

The week of The Henry Ford Innovation Immersion Experience was brought to an end with an award ceremony. Each teacher was given the chance to reflect on the past week and how it will transform their classroom instruction in the coming years. It was an amazing way to wrap up an inspiring educational opportunity with eight other outstanding teacher colleagues from across the nation, as shown in Figure 21. As a token of their appreciation, The Henry Ford presented a unique glassblown structure, created on site in Greenwood Village (Figure 22). Figure 21:

Recognition as The Henry Ford Teacher Innovator Award Winner was truly a highlight of my educational career and provided me with a wealth of instructional ideas, strategies and activities for me to implement into my classroom. I would strongly recommend that you consider applying for this award. Information about the Award and the application process can be found at: teacher-innovator-awards/ The deadline for nominations is February 28, 2017. For those who are unsure about applying for this opportunity, please remember the following: If you don’t apply, the answer will definitely be No. Good luck!



The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

Photo Recap

Volume 60 Issue 4


To see more CAST 2016 photos visit



The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

The Joy of Technology By Kylie Murry, M.Ed.


ike integrating Julia Child’s “Joy of Cooking” book into everyday kitchen forays, integrating technology into everyday classroom activities can seem daunting. Special skills and training, as well as a host of unheard of tools seems required and therefore renders the issue easily dismissed as beyond one’s capabilities. However, in cooking, it is not necessary to start with Julia Child and French cuisine. Betty Crocker is an easy and friendly way to ease into the kitchen, with results that are still delicious. In the same way, technology integration can be done at many levels, with many different amounts of technology. There’s no need to start at “master of technology” level when being able to download a few apps on your iPhone can be as effective. I get it, I’ve been teaching for 15 years and those of us that arrived before this “era of technology” remember a time when you could teach without it. We have notebooks full of lessons and worksheets that we have used year after year. They work great, the students get the in-

formation, we don’t have the time to change it, and frankly why should we? In teaching, technology seems too difficult to manage when the “fast food” of pre-made worksheets is so easily implemented. However, depending primarily on worksheets actually sucks more of your time and energy than a few easy technology methods.

In addition to all the reasons we should do it for our students, there are some selfish reasons why we should do it for ourselves. Technology has the power to transform your teaching life. Who likes grading papers for hours? Who wants to spend hours of their life making copies? Who wants the feeling of failure when test scores come back and half the students still don’t get it? Who likes to hear complaining about every assignment? Technology can cut your time grading

down from hours to minutes. Technology can allow you to go paperless. It can give you instant feedback about the specific piece of information that the students aren’t getting so you can immediately intervene. Technology can engage and reinforce correct information in a way that your scores will be better than you have ever seen. It can infuse your classroom with fun and laughter even though, yes, they are learning! Yes, you say, that’s all fine and good but I don’t know how to use technology, we don’t have the right technology, or our district technology department doesn’t ________ (fill in the blank). I’ve heard all the excuses. In fact, I’ve made all the excuses. Let me give you some “Betty Crocker” tips for new cooks in the technology kitchen. You will love the results and be hungry for more. Let’s break it down based on what you’re comfortable with or what technology is available to you: Appetizers: If you have one device, a smart phone, iPad, or iPod. That’s right, you just need

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one. There is an app called zipgrade that is $6.99 for a one year subscription. This app changed my life. It cut my grading time for tests, absences, and retakes to minutes. After buying the app and going online to their website to create an account, the Why zipgrade is better than paper scantrons: 1. It costs the school $7 for the app, versus $500 per department for scantrons 2. Results are saved to the cloud; you can never lose them. 3. You can get immediate item analysis on each question and statistics allowing you to spot “bad” questions or misunderstood concepts, mistakes in your answer key, and give students immediate feedback on their results. 4. When students need to re-take a test or were absent, you have the answer key available without hunting for it, simply scan and grading is done. 5. If you are tech savvy there is an option of uploading your scores directly into an online gradebook.

first step is to enter your classes. If you are slightly technology savvy you can export a .csv file from an online gradebook and upload them directly to zipgrade. If this is beyond your expertise, just enter them by hand. Trust me, a little prep work is worth hours of your time later on. Next, download the free answer sheets. I laminated a set of mine and have the students use dry erase markers so I don’t waste paper. The students can use any test that you have already created. Go to the app and easily create a quiz with the same name, enter the answer key by pressing the buttons (or scan a key). It works just like the old green scantrons we are so fond of, at least during the test taking stage. The magic comes when the students hand in their papers. The app acts like a scanner using the camera on your phone (or ipod, or ipad). Line up the scanner on the four corners of the page and you receive a satisfying buzz when the paper is scanned. The student’s name and grade automatically pops up, with a picture of their scantron with the correct answers circled in green and the incorrect circled in red. The

app stores the results in the cloud and you can access them through your phone or the website. You can show students the actual picture of their scantron if they have questions. You can print a copy of their answers or a strip report with the questions they missed when you go over the test. Plickers cards only require one device. Plickers is a free app and website, with free printable “Plickers” cards. The cards are basically giant QR codes. There are small letters printed on each side of the square, which students hold up based on their chosen answer. To get started you must go to the app and enter your students names into classes. This does not take more than a few minutes. You can create questions on the app, either with an actual question or simply the answer choices (you can have the questions as hard copies, or verbally give the question). Students hold the cards oriented based on their chosen answers, and you can scan the entire classroom from the front of the room with your device. The student’s name will pop up in red or green



The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

The Joy of Technology (continued)

based on their answer. Most teachers don’t believe me that you can scan the entire room from one point, but I meant what I said- you can scan the enWhy should you use plickers instead of just a paper copy start/exit ticket? 1. No time required passing out and picking up papers 2. No time required grading, just scan and record. 3. Immediate feedback about which students understand the concept. 4. Integrating technology

tire room from one point. Plickers are a great option for starters or exit tickets. They are not a good option for entire quizzes or tests. Here’s a tip, each card is numbered and assigned to a student, to cut down on time passing out and picking up cards I have my students glue their plicker card on the inside cover of their science journal. This makes it easy to access quickly and less likely to be lost. Pot luck: If your students have their own devices.

We all have trouble with students trying to use their phones during class. This has become as large a problem as passing notes used to be (remember those days)? Here’s a great way to integrate technology, let them use their phones! Most teachers are familiar with, but if you haven’t experienced this free website I highly recommend it. It is possible to create your own “kahoot” or search the free public kahoots. A kahoot is a series of questions that are shown one at time, with a set time limit (you can adjust this). Students choose an answer on their device, and when the time is up the answer is shown. Students are ranked after each question based on if they answered correctly, and how quickly they answered. It quickly becomes a competition between the students and they love it. It is also possible to play a group kahoot and put them in groups. This works well for collaborative learning and also if you have a limited number of devices. Kahoots are one of the best tools for reviewing material. I have experimented with classes

and given the same test to a class that did a conventional worksheet review versus a class that did a kahoot review. The class average was more than 10 points higher with the kahoot group. There is also something called a “blind kahoot” which is a method for introducing new material with scaffolded questions. This is a more fun and less intimidating method than pre-testing, but works in the same way. is another free website that reviews material in a game format, but only requires your computer. Apps to use with student devices and your computer (also works if you have classroom sets of technology) -Quizlet -Studystack -Goformative -Seesaw

Quizlet has become my go-to resource. You can create your own quizlet (or use free public quizlets) by making a set of online flashcards. There is a feature that students can

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The Joy of Technology (continued)

click to have the term and definition read out loud. There are different options students can use to study the flashcards that involve traditional flashcards or games. Quizlet “live” is my favorite option. When you click on the “live” option from your screen it generates a code (similar to a kahoot) that students enter at to enter the game. Quizlet randomly groups students into groups of 3 or 4. When the game is started, the people in a group will have the same definition on their Why I love Quizlet: 1. Sets are saved online, they can be shared through link by email, posted on websites, sent through (No more piles of paper notecards falling out of student’s binders!) 2. Quizlet live is an option for classroom review that students love and is highly effective. It also implements the research based technique of “classroom talk” 3. Students actually study the quizlet flashcards and improve their test scores. 4. Integrates technology.

screens, but only one person in the group will have the right answer. This requires them to discuss the answers with each other before making a choice. The points accumulated by each team is displayed on your computer, which can be displayed through a projector. This creates a competition between the groups to be the first to answer 12 correctly. Each time a team answers one wrong they go back to the beginning. This keeps the teams motivated, because the ranking can change at any time. Study stack and quia. com are other websites similar to quizlet with different options for study-

ing vocabulary through online interactive games. Study stack is free. Quia has a subscription fee but has the option of a free one month trial. You can also search and access any quia game made by other teachers for free. GoFormative is a free website that allows you to create a formative assessment that students take online. You can view student responses in real time from your computer. There is the option of creating an assessment with a join link, or you can create classes and assign assessments. Unlike kahoot, this is student paced, they can move ahead to the next question when they are

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ready. This website allows questions other than multiple choice, including free response and drawing. is similar to GoFormative, but is good for quick starters, exit tickets or discussion boards. You can create a single question, give students a log in code, and they can view their classmate’s responses as they enter them. Seesaw is an app where students can take pictures, videos, draw, write a note, or include a link and upload to a class feed. This can be used as technology integration to replace class posters, group papers, etc. Instead of drawing what they see under a microscope for a lab they can snap a picture using their phone. Students can upload comments or presentations and their classmates can comment and rate them. This involves higher level thinking of evaluating, but in a fun, private, school-controlled format that students are familiar with through their social media. This app removes concerns about privacy issues because the teacher controls access. Main course: Classroom

sets of devices. is a free curriculum website that is basically an online textbook resource but the subject material is chunked by concept and easily searchable. (El Paso ISD has replaced their textbooks with ebooks through CK12). Unit links can be assigned through google classroom or by creating classes on the website. Similar to textbooks, students have a reading passage and review questions, but the technology aspect allows them to watch short video tutorials and click on links for help with unfamiliar terms or further information. CK12 also has the option, on many units, of prac-

tice questions that cycle through questions based on previous answers. If a student misses a question, a question over the same concept is asked until the student is able to answer correctly. If the student continues to answer incorrectly, links to resources are provided. Students can be given a goal of a certain number correct as their assignment. Google classroom is one of the up and coming resources that many school districts are moving to. It has revolutionized my classroom. I can post assignments with links to online forms, online tests, videos, and CK12 lessons and order the assignments



The Official Publication of The Science Teachers Association of Texas

The Joy of Technology (continued)

based on what I want the students to do first. Students log in and go straight to google classroom for the assignment. This has essentially allowed me to go paperless. (Although I will note that many special ed students still prefer hard copies of assignments and tests). Google forms allow me to transform worksheets into online forms that students can fill in and submit online. I can create answer keys in the settings so that they automatically receive their score and can review their incorrect answers. I can change the settings to automatically shuffle questions if needed, to encourage individual work. The results are automatically uploaded to a spreadsheet, which I can upload directly to my online grade book. This not only makes my life easier as far as grading, but I can review the itemized responses to immediately see misunderstandings and difficulties. The immediate feedback to students greatly improves their learning. This resource has also been a great way for absent students to keep up with missed assignments. When many of my high school students are out for sports and other

extra curricular activities, having them be able to access their assignments and view video tutorials online has shortened the gap of make up work considerably. Side dishes: In the Lab A wonderful, free resource is phet.colorado. edu. This website is maintained by the University of Colorado in Boulder and contains many online lab simulations for physics, chemistry, and biology. There are teacher created (and rated) resources that can be used with the lab simulations. I often use them to introduce a unit or lab because students can manipulate variables and visually see results without having to worry about lab procedures, materials, and equipment at the same time. Abstract concepts become remarkably easy to understand through these simulations. This is an easy way to include both laboratory investigations and technology integration at the same time in your lessons. It is important to note that some of the phet simulations run on Java, and others run on HTML5. Java is not compatible if you are using

chromebooks, but will work on desktops if the software is downloaded. HTML5 can be used with any type of device or computer. Dessert: Technology integration with projects Ditch the old styles of projects with posters, or even power point and try a few new websites and apps such as,, doceri app, wevideo, and seesaw. is a free website that allows students to create and share online posters/fliers. Buncee. com is an online flowchart where students can show connections with words and pictures. Doceri is an app where students can create picture slides and record their voice as the slides progress. Wevideo is a free video app that can be used to create regular or stopmotion videos. Seesaw, as mentioned previously, is a platform where students can post and share their work to a private classroom page. Garnish: Communication Finally, communication between parents and students can be vastly improved with some

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easily implemented technology. Many schools provide school-wide websites and expect teachers to update them. If your school does not provide a website, is a fun, free, easy way to create a classroom flier. This could be set up in multiple ways, to showcase what is going on in the classroom, give updates on assignments, include links to copies of assignments, etc. It can be used in place of google classroom as a one-stop place to post links to documents, websites, video tutorials, etc. My all time favorite way to communicate however is This website is fast becoming a go-to for many educators. You can send reminders about upcoming homework assignment, quizzes, and tests along with links and attachments for study help. I often attach links to quizlets or my website. This has exponentially increased my rate of success in students studying before exams and turning in assignments on time. Parents can also sign up and receive these reminders. The option for members to respond with questions can be adjusted at your dis-

cretion, but this is a quick way to respond to misunderstandings and clarify instructions. The website also has the option of producing a report of all your communications, which can be used as documentation of parent-teacher communication. Technology can make our job so much easier and more enjoyable. There are so many teaching resources available it’s overwhelming, but hopefully by giving you some of my favorite “recipes” for classroom integration you can add to your repertoire of teaching strategies and tools. We don’t have to start off creating “seven-course” complex technological masterpieces, simple technology “seasoning” on the “meat” of our lessons is a great place to start.

My Favorite, Simple Tech integrations: Formative/Summative: Zipgrade, quizlet, goformative, kahoot,, studystack, plickers, quia, menti, google forms In the Lab: Phet online lab simulations (phet.colorado. edu) Presentations:, buncee. com, doceri app, wevideo, and seesaw Communication:,

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