Oregon Science Teachers Association

The Oregon Science Teacher (TOST)

This newsletter is sent out to members monthly. It contains the most recent information and resources to implement the 2014 Oregon Science Standards (NGSS).

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he Oregon Science Teacher

October, 2017

Meet the 2017 Awardees for Outstanding Science Teaching

The awardees for OSTA's 2017 Outstanding Science Teaching, and Oregon's 2017 state finalists for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching have been selected.

Awards will be presented at the Awards Event held at Theory, the Cafe at OMSI on Thursday, October 12 from 4:30-6:30pm.  Join us for food, drink and camaraderie, as we honor our colleagues and celebrate science education. Enjoy touring the museum after the event.

$25 for adults, $12 for children 12 and under.  Register here.

Meet our Awardees Here. 

Friday Workshops and Tours

There is still time to register for one of our outstanding Friday workshops. These workshops are deep dives into the subject matter.  Attendees will experience the subject as a student, with opportunities to discuss with your colleagues implications and strategies for implementing them into your classroom. PDUs will be provided.

After the workshops, Join us at the Early Registration & Happy Hour Social event from 5-7pm. Pick up your conference registration materials, then enjoy food and drink sponsored by STEMscopes.


Middle School
High School
Tours to showcase STEM in action:

"Unpacking" Three-Dimensional Standards

Given ongoing discussions about the need to "unpack" the NGSS, and questions about how to do it, NSTA shares some ideas about what the term means and, specifically, what it means for schools and districts implementing the NGSS.

This NSTA Blog Post provides answers to the following questions:

  1. What is meant by the term unpacking?
  2. Why do I need to unpack the standards?
  3. Instead of unpacking why don't I just teach students to do what the performance expectation says?
  4. If I know students will be doing a specific practice, why is it important to look at the elements of the practice in the matrix?
  5. Is it best to use only the single practice that is listed in the performance expectation?
  6. What if I think another crosscutting concept is a better fit for my lesson?
  7. I didn't see ____ in the standard. I don't think you can teach ___ without an understanding of that concept. How do we account for this?
  8. How will I have enough time to teach all of this?
  9. OK, I'm ready to start unpacking. What resources should I look at?
  10. I'm the only ____ teacher in my building. How can I collaborate with colleagues to unpack the standards?
  11. Is there a place for performance expectations in the Unit Storyline? We've started unit development by bundling PEs, unpacking DCIs, SEPs, and CCCs, identifying an anchor phenomenon, and developing a storyline with lesson level phenomena.
Find the answers to these questions here.

Teaching and Learning Articles

Elementary: There's A Zoo in Our Room!
In this article, the authors describe our "There's a zoo in our room" unit. This unit sequences critical concepts needed to build understanding of core life science ideas as well as science and engineering practices. Students sort and classify animals based on physical characteristics, they speak and write about animals, draw animals, read grade appropriate text, and use media to obtain the information needed to create a physical replica of a zoo.
From Science & Children, September, 2017

Middle School: Empowering Sixth-Grade Students Through a Climate Change Lesson
Climate change is a pertinent and important topic in the science classroom and student understanding of the drivers and impacts of climate change should be developed. It is also crucially important that students understand that they can help mitigate climate change, helping them avoid an entirely gloom-and-doom perspective. It is recommended that this lesson be used as an introduction to climate change as part of a storyline focusing on the anchoring question, "Can a single human impact the planet's climate?"
From Science Scope, September 2017

High School: Is the Climate Changing Where We Live?
Casual conversations about climate change tend to focus on daily high temperatures, when, in fact, researchers have found that average low temperatures are increasing at a faster rate, narrowing the range of temperatures over time. One way to tackle such climate misconceptions is to have students work with data to show how the climate is changing in their local community. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has weather stations nationwide that collect data on air temperature and precipitation that are freely available online. This article describes a lesson in which students use this data to observe and analyze climate trends and investigate how local climate trends may (or may not) differ from those in other parts of the country and the world.
From The Science Teacher, Month Year

College: Improving Undergraduate Climate Change Literacy Through Writing: A Pilot Study
A climate-literate population, capable of making informed decisions related to climate change, is of critical importance as society faces ever-increasing global temperatures and changes in the climate system. This project evaluates the effectiveness of a novel instructional approach that incorporates climate change science into a first-year undergraduate level writing course. Science content included in the course focuses on climate and global environmental change and how it relates to society, policy, and economics. The multidisciplinary nature of the course material allows the climate change science content to be addressed from different viewpoints and student perspectives. Student surveys and self-reflections indicate that fundamental climate change science concepts and content can be taught in the context of a nonscience course focused on writing. Self-reflections reveal that 50% of students reported new or continuing interest in science and climate science, 35% did not explicitly mention their attitude toward science, 10% remained uninterested, and 5% lost interest as a result of participating in the pilot course. To produce climate literate citizens, new methods such as the pilot course described in this study, can be used to incorporate the science of climate change into nonscience instructional settings.
From The Journal of College Science Teaching, September 2017

Quick Links Feature: NGSS Online

The website, www.nextgenscience.org, was recently updated based on multiple rounds of feedback from teachers, administrators, district and state leaders, and other NGSS advocates. Some webpages have been redesigned to provide clearer navigation for site users to search the standards and locate available resources.

Read more about the specific changes here.

What's up with those links down below? They are ways that OSTA provides our members with information and resources available for professional development, to honor our colleagues who have inspired us, and to implement the 2014 Oregon Science Standards (NGSS).

Quick Links


 OSTA Awards

 OSTA Elections
 OSTA Events

 NGSS Online

 Opportunities &

 Framework for K-12
 Science Education

Click of Gratitude
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