Science Update: January 2016

Card, Celebration, Season, Design, Festive, Greeting

Assessment Updates

ODE released revised testing specification documents for the science assessments.  This update removes all references from PBA and EOY  in regards to the test design.

5th Grade Test Specifications-Updated 12/30/15
8th Grade Test Specifications-Updated 12/30/15
Physical Science Test Specifications-Updated 12/30/15
Biology Test Specifications-Updated 12/30/15

Free Online Course from Stanford University

“Reading to Learn in Science”, will be offered from January through April by Professor Jonathan Osborne.

For details on the course and examples of strategies

According to a 2009 policy information report published by the Educational Testing Service, eighth grade students who said they engaged with their science textbooks almost every day, either in class or for homework, scored significantly higher on National Assessment of Educational Progress tests than peers who said they read textbooks never or hardly ever.

Yet for many students, textbooks on chemistry, biology and physics are not easy reads. The hefty volumes tend to be loaded with dense paragraphs, unfamiliar jargon and puzzling charts.  As Jonathan Osborne, Kamalachari Professor of Science Education at Stanford, notes, “Even children who learn to read quickly – devouring books or blogs, novels or news stories – often seem to struggle with scientific prose.”

Fortunately, Osborne says, there are some effective strategies that K-12 science teachers can use in their classrooms to help students get the most out of the difficult texts. The veteran science educator soon will be sharing some of those proven teaching methods, and the research behind them, in a free open online course, or MOOC, called Reading to Learn in Science.

Enroll in the course

SECO Conference

Planning on attending SECO this year? The deadline for hotel reservations at Columbus Hilton at Easton is this Friday January 8, 2016. Registration is still open for this years conference held on January 25-26, 2016. We have many great speakers lined up! We hope you can join us.

Monday, January 2510:45am – 11:35am  Celebrating Student Success in the Science Classroom: 3 Inquiry-Based Programs from The Ohio Academy of Science
Join students as they inspire science teachers. Students will present their work, followed by a discussion of: 1) the simplicity of embedding Invention Convention, State Science Day and Believe in Ohio into the classroom; and 2) the importance of these programs to students’ academic and professional success.

Monday, January 2510:45am – 11:35am The Good News and the Bad News- Nearpod and Microplastics
Nearpod, an interactive presentation and assessment tool that produces high levels of classroom engagement, will be used to explore the topic of microplastics. Teachers will be given access to a free and customizable Nearpod presentation featuring an introductory lesson on microplastics.

Tuesday, January 269:00am – 9:50am Turning on the LIGHT in your Elementary Classroom

In this session, participants will be introduced to the LIGHT Project, a collaboration among the Darke County ESC, the Matt Light Foundationand the Miami Valley Leave No Child Inside initiative. Discover how elementary teachers can integrate this fun, hand-on integrated program into their classrooms and communities.

Tuesday, January 26
9:00am – 9:50am  Conceptual Chemistry: Repurposed Materials for Low-cost Science Experiments
Recent literature reports of novel experiments using ordinary materials were adapted for use in the Improving Teacher Quality Program: Conceptual Chemistry for Teachers of Grades 4-12. Creative use of bubble-wrap, plastic pipets, cell-phones and other store-bought materials are presented in a series of low-cost experiments.

Tuesday, January 2611:00am – 11:50am Teachers with Torches
Learn about making glass beads from borax powder and fiber optic cable from glass rods, conducting heat-treatments on common items, and safely using propane torches with students. These activities relate to redox reactions, reflection of light, and composition of materials.

Click to check out our program in it’s entirety.



Wednesday, May 11, 2016, from 7:30 am – 3:45 pm, at Tangeman University Center, on the campus of the University of Cincinnati

Who Should Attend?

  • K-12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Teachers and Administrators from public and private schools.
  • Leaders in higher education, business and industry that support STEM education and STEM-related career opportunities.

Conference Features:

  • Registration Opens on January 25th; register by using one of two Options:

Option 1: Pay the $40 conference fee which includes a parking pass, breakfast, lunch, up to 6 contact hours, and conference giveaway.

Option 2: Pay the $30 conference fee which includes (no parking pass) breakfast, lunch, up to 6 contact hours, and conference giveaway.

  • Showcase of Regional Resources (Scheduled during lunchtime.)
  • Interactive Workshop Sessions (You participate and walk away with resources.)
  • Poster Sessions (Held during concurrent session times.)
  • Networking Sessions (Held during concurrent session times and organized by subject/graded level.)
  • Contact Hours (Up to 6.)
  • Parking Pass – (With Option 1 registration fees.)
  • Continental Breakfast and Lunch
  • Raffle(s) of educational Items                         

Important Conference Dates:

  • January 11th, 2016 Request for Proposals officially OPENS
  • January 25th, 2016Registration opens.
  • February 9th, 2016 Request for Proposals CLOSES
  • March 10th, 2016 – Presenters are notified.

Questions?  Contact: Debbie Liberi , District Coordinator The Cincinnati Engineering Enhanced Math and Science Program (CEEMS) University of Cincinnati College of Engineering and Applied Science (513) 556-6419

Engineering as a Context to Engage Students in Math and Science

June 13-July 29, 2016 & June 12-July 28, 2017

Who: Exceptional 7-12th grade math and science teachers (6th grade qualifies if part of a middle school)

What: Two year commitment to seven weeks per year of summer graduate courses and professional development each summer, plus job-embedded professional development and coaching during the school year

Why: Work collaboratively to create and implement challenged-based learning, engineering design units based on academic standards that you will be teaching in your classes during the school year

Where: UC Main Campus in summer only


  • Engaging, academically aligned units for your classroom
  • $6,977/year scholarship towards summer courses (Cost to teacher: approximately $257/year if resident of Ohio)
  • $6,000/year stipend (tied to completion of deliverables)
  • Use of laptop that will become yours upon program completion
  • Opportunities to present professional development to other teachers
  • Funds provided for unit implementation supplies
  • 20 credits of graduate level courses that can be applied towards a Master’s in Curriculum & Instruction with Engineering Education specialization

The Catch:  Spaces are limited and the program is selective.  Your principal, assistant principal, department chair, or other building leader must commit to attend a three day workshop from June 22-24, 2016.

Contact: Julie Steimle (; deadline is January 15, 2016

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