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

September, 2017

Oregon Science Project

Sign up to be on one of over 30 small online teams representing over 200 of Oregon’s K-12 teachers from ALL over Oregon who also want to connect online and collaboratively learn about NGSS! Each team will have a trained Oregon Science Project Learning Facilitator to guide them in real time through curated online NGSS PD Modules. Together with up to 10 other motivated educators you will explore the roles of phenomena, student talk, and formative assessment for equity in the NGSS.

Complete 20 hours of interactive, real-time/synchronous NGSS professional development with your team from the comfort of your own computer, and earn 2 graduate credits or 40 PDU’s. (credits cost a total of $120 while PDU’s are free).

Sign up by September 30th to be placed on a team that will be meeting from early October 2017 through April 2018

2017 OSTA Fall Conference on Science Education

OSTA has organized an extravaganza of events to celebrate, network, learn, and co-create. OSTA's 56th Annual Fall conference is THE place for all things science education.

Thursday, October 12
Kicking off our annual conference is our celebration of excellence in science teaching, as we honor our colleagues at OMSI.

Join us at Cafe Theory from 4:30-6:30pm for food, drink and esprit de corps. Explore the museum after the celebration. Register here

Friday, October 13
Learn by digging deeper during our pre-conference workshops. We have workshops at all levels: elementary, middle school and high school. For a complete list with details and to register, click here.

Network with your colleagues, pick up your conference materials, and enjoy some food and drink at Early Registration/Happy Hour at PCC from 5-7pm.                                                                         Sponsored by: 

Saturday, October 14

• Concurrent Sessions

Co-create with your colleagues across the state as they share their classroom strategies with you on the topics of:

  • exploring phenomena,
  • attending to equity, and
  • connecting STEAM disciplines

Our concurrent session offerings are where conversations start on how you can bring these ideas back with you into your classroom.  Check out all of the great sessions that will be presented.

• General Session

Welcome Address & Introductions by Dr. Susan Holveck, 2017 OSTA Conference Chair, and TOSA for Secondary Schools, Beaverton School District

Keynote Address
by Ken Wesson, a researcher on the neuroscience of learning, will address "STEAM Learning: Designing and Engineering for Learner Engagement."

• Exhibitors Displays: Be sure to visit our exhibitors in the College Center area and pick up some bling.  See what they have to support you in your teaching.

• Bookstore: OSTA is working with NSTAPress to bring you a selection of books from award winning science educators and writers to peruse and purchase.

More information and details can be found on our Conference page.

To Register, click here. Advanced registration ends September 30th.

OMSI Teacher Open House

OMSI's next Teacher Open House is scheduled for Thursday, September 21, 2017. 5:00-7:30pm. Registration is free.

Treat yourself to an evening of student-free learning at OMSI. Experience our featured exhibit, Pompeii, meet OMSI educators, and get inspired with ways to enrich your classroom curriculum. OMSI program representatives will assist with planning your activities for the year. 

This professional evening is for in-service, pre-service and homeschool teachers only. Guests and family members will not be admitted to this event. Pre-registration is required. Valid school-issued ID (or business card or pay stub), or confirmation of intent to homeschool will be required at the door.

Teaching and Learning Articles

: Toad-ally Cool
A summer science camp for girls teaches about herpetology while encouraging interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The activities described in this article are certainly appropriate for mixed gender classrooms, as we have found in our prior instructional experiences that both boys and girls enjoy fieldwork and classwork with living organisms. We also recommend considering the cultural differences among students—being outdoors and handling animals can elicit different responses based on students’ backgrounds. From Science & Children, Summer 2017

Middle School: Moving Students Toward a More Accurate View of the Solar System
Many times, students are given models of the solar system that show planets in a straight line that extends from the Sun. Although they often represent the planets in glorious color, these models do not have the explanatory or predictive power called for in the NGSS. Such models can make sense of real astronomical phenomena, and may lead to misconceptions. This article describes how the authors used a variety of modeling and data collection activities coupled with technology to investigate observable astronomical phenomena.
From Science Scope, March 2017
This article was co-written by OSTA Past-President & 2017 Conference Chair Susan Holveck, and OSTA member & Middle School workshop presenter Berkeley Gadbaw

High School: Is it Engineering or Not?
With the widespread adoption of the NGSS, science teachers now aspire to integrate engineering into science instruction, as the standards suggest, yet many don't know how. The first steps are to define engineering and identify tasks that incorporate engineering, which can be difficult and confusing. This article presents a simple explanation of engineering and offers a framework to help teachers determine whether a task is based on engineering. We also offer examples of how to integrate engineering in Earth science, chemistry, biology, and physics.
From The Science Teacher, Summer 2017

College: Can a Diversified Instructional Approach Featuring Active Learning Improve Biology Students' Attitudes Toward General Education?
In an effort to make our classes more engaging, we recently reorganized sections of our nonmajors biology course, using current issues in biology and society as a premise to promote coherence among course content and emphasize the relevance of biological concepts to everyday life. A key aspect of the reorganization included the development and implementation of collaborative active-learning exercises designed to promote student engagement and foster the use of critical thinking skills —specified goals of our university's general education program. As the reorganization focused largely on fulfilling explicit objectives of the general education program, the purpose of this study was to determine if the new structure would promote student understanding and appreciation of the goals of the general education program within the context of a nonmajors biology course. Results show a positive impact on students' perceived understanding of the goals of the general education program, but  little impact on student views of the significance of the program to a university education.
From The Journal of College Science Teaching, July 2017

Quick Links Feature: Awards

There is still time to nominate colleagues to honor their dedication to science education.
Look around you; look at the colleagues in your school, district, and region. Which ones are the hardest working, the most passionate, and the most skilled at exciting students about science and the process of scientific discovery? Which ones contribute most to the profession of science teaching? These are the individuals you should be nominating. The process is simple but can be enormously meaningful.

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.

Quick Links


 OSTA Awards

 OSTA Elections
 OSTA Events

 NGSS Online

 Opportunities &

 Framework for K-12
 Science Education

Click of Gratitude
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