National Center for Science Education Weekly Update – 3/27/2015


The chorus of support for the teaching of evolution continues, with a statement from the American Federation of Teachers, adopted in 2014.

In its statement, the AFT observes that “biological evolution is a fundamental underpinning of modern biological thought and research and is not the subject of controversy among scientists … [but] the unfettered teaching of evolution in public schools has been under attack since the early part of the 20th century and before.” Now in the twenty-first century, “a strategy to teach creationism, intelligent design[,] or evolution denial into public science classrooms has emerged with the passage of laws intended to teach these theories as science under the guise of protecting academic freedom in the classroom”; Louisiana and Tennessee are cited as cases in point.

Invoking the expertise of the American Association of University Professors and NCSE, the statement concludes by affirming that “the American Federation of Teachers encourages and expects science teachers, in presenting evolution and other topics, to understand, respect[,] and communicate the consensus of the scientific community, in order to present the science curriculum effectively to their students” and that “the AFT will be on alert for, and opposed to, bills at the state or federal level that attempt to use the guise of academic freedom as a means of introducing creationism, intelligent design[,] or evolution denial into science classrooms.”

The AFT’s statement is now reproduced, by permission, on NCSE’s website, and will also be contained in the fourth edition of NCSE’s Voices for Evolution.

For AFT’s statement, visit:

And for Voices for Evolution, visit:


NCSE is pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of Darwin award for 2015: Neil Shubin, the Robert R. Bensley Distinguished Service Professor of the Department of Organismal Biology and Anatomy at the University of Chicago, codiscoverer of Tiktaalik roseae and author of Your Inner Fish (2008), and Ronald L. Numbers, the Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and author of The Creationists (1992, expanded edition 2006).

“It would be hard to think of anyone who has contributed as much as Ron Numbers has to the understanding of creationism as a historical and social phenomenon, through his own work and the work that it has inspired,” commented NCSE’s executive director Ann Reid, “while it is hard to know whether to praise Neil Shubin more for his outstanding research in vertebrate paleontology or for his equally outstanding efforts to explain the power—and wonder—of evolutionary biology in language that everyone can understand.”

NCSE is also pleased to announce the winners of the Friend of the Planet award for 2015: Naomi Oreskes, Professor of History of Science at Harvard University and coauthor of Merchants of Doubt (2010); Greg Craven, creator of “The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See” and its sequels and author of What’s the Worst That Could Happen? (2009); and the Alliance for Climate Education, a non-profit organization that has delivered informative and compelling presentations on climate change to almost two million high school students.

Ann Reid praised Oreskes’s work on the history of climate change denial as “ten years of unflinching, erudite, and accessible reporting on where science denial comes from and how it works” and Craven’s outreach efforts as “a touchstone for the climate education movement.” Through its series of in-school assemblies, the Alliance for Climate Education “has made truly impressive contributions to informing and inspiring youth, helping them to appreciate the essential science of climate change and what can be done to address it,” she added.

The Friend of Darwin and Friend of the Planet awards are presented annually to a select few whose efforts to support NCSE and advance its goal of defending the teaching of evolution and climate science have been truly outstanding. Previous recipients of the Friend of Darwin award include Sean Carroll, Marjorie Esman, Brandon Haught, David Hillis, Lawrence Lerner, Patricia Princehouse, and Howard Van Till, to name only a few. The first recipients of the Friend of the Planet Award, inaugurated in 2014, were Michael E. Mann and Richard Alley.

For information about the two awards, visit:

Glenn Branch

Deputy Director

National Center for Science Education, Inc.

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First Robotics Oklahoma Regional March 27th-28th


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Noble Foundation hosts 2015 Oklahoma Envirothon


ARDMORE, Okla. — Noble Academy, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation’s youth education and outreach program, will host the 2015 Oklahoma Envirothon state competition on Friday, April 24, at the Noble Foundation’s campus in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Envirothon is an environmental science- and team-based competition for high school students and is part of an established North American Envirothon program. “This competition is an exciting, fun way for students to learn about the environment and the issues facing current and future generations,” said Frank Hardin, Ph.D, Noble Academy education outreach manager. “The Oklahoma Envirothon will demonstrate the role we have in important environmental issues through in-class curriculum and hands-on field experiences.”

Teams will study resource materials to learn the fundamentals of natural resources management in five areas of study: aquatic ecology, forestry, soils and land use, wildlife, and this year’s special topic, urban forestry. By working alongside natural resource professionals and scientists, students will:

·         Learn about soil structure, interpret maps, and evaluate land forms and soil characteristics that affect agriculture and development issues.

·         Asses the quality of delicate aquatic ecosystems, identify aquatic organisms, manage watersheds and determine nonpoint source pollution.

·         Develop an understanding of the practices for maintaining healthy forest ecosystems and learn the basics of species identification, forest structure and dynamics, as well as management approaches.

·         Learn about animal populations, their dynamics and the importance of habitat conservation.

·         Explore the facets of the current environmental issues and illustrate the complexity of real-life environmental decisions.

Students will have the opportunity to travel within Oklahoma to address real-life environmental issues affecting the state. Noble Academy will sponsor the winners of the state competition to travel to and compete in the international competition in Springfield, Missouri.

A completed team packet must be submitted and postmarked no later than Friday, April 3, 2015. For more information and to register, please visit

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Help us expand Project WILD!


Attention K-12 Classroom and Nonformal Educators—

The Council for Environmental Education (CEE), the national office for Project WILD, invites K-12 educators (formal and nonformal) to help field test activities being considered for publication in future editions of Project WILD K-12 Curriculum & Activity Guide. If you would like to try out one or more activities with your students and then provide CEE with feedback, please follow the link below and complete the brief application survey. The survey takes about five minutes to complete.

To sign up, follow this link:

We need to receive completed surveys by Friday, April 3, 2015.

If you are selected, CEE will send you $40 for participating. Activities typically require two 45 minute class sessions or the equivalent instructional time, and may also involve investigating outdoor areas, such as a schoolyard or park. Although you are welcome and encouraged to field test more than one activity, and to conduct a single activity with more than one class, only one $40 stipend will be provided to each participating educator. Stipends will be paid within 30 days of receipt of the field test evaluation forms.

If you are selected to participate, you will receive notification by Friday, April 10, along with a link to one or more activities to test.

After you conduct the activities with students, all completed activity feedback surveys must be completed by Friday, June 5, 2015.

Stay tuned–in addition to this first phase of field testing, a second opportunity to participate will be in the fall of 2015 when CEE launches the second round of Project WILD field testing.


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OU Summer Academy

Chemistry Summer Academy

STEM to Store: The Chemistry of Medicine

Chemistry student with beaker

Available to:  Rising 11th-12th graders residing in Oklahoma

Dates:  May 31 – June 5, 2015

Location:  OU Norman Campus

Tuition:  There is no cost for accepted students

The OU Summer Academies provide students with hands-on experiences in Math, Science, Engineering and Technology while exposing them to life on a college campus. The Summer Academies are funded by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.  See the complete list of Regents Summer Academies at OU HERE

The STEM to Store Academy for is a hands-on lab experience to extract medical compounds from plants. Inside the new Stephenson Life Sciences Research Center on the OU campus, the students will work in research labs alongside scientists addressing real world problems. During their course of study students will operate state-of-the-art laboratory equipment while developing skills that prepare them for college.  In addition to field trips, students will produce a research poster for presentation to the student’s families, OU faculty, students and staff.

The Academy curriculum encompasses the study of Chemistry, Botany, Mathematics, Medicine, History, Sociology and Native American Studies. Participants will study the medically relevant ingredients of Echinacea herbal medicine. In addition to spending time in a research laboratory, students will live in university residence halls offering them a college life experience.

Thirty students will be selected for this academy.


Students will live in university residence halls and eat on campus giving students a real “feel” for college life.  Counselors will be housed on the same floor to provide maximum assistance and supervision.  Students will have class activities from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1:30 p.m.- 5 p.m. each day.  Educational and recreational activities will be scheduled each evening. Sessions on applying to college are planned – how to apply, where to find scholarships and what to expect.


All expenses, including housing, meals, supplies, and books will be provided to each academy student.  Travel expenses to and from the academy location and incidental personal expenditures are the responsibility of the academy student.


Interested students must submit a typed or printed application that includes all of the following:

  1. Complete student application form.
  2. Two (2) letters of recommendation.
  3. A 250-500 word student-written essay. Please see application packet for essay topic.

Download the Application to ALL of the OU Regents Summer Academies: SummerAcademyApplication2015

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Registration Open for the 2015 OSU-National Lab Day Event

Oklahoma State University’s sixth annual National Lab Day is set for Tuesday, May 12, 2015, on the Stillwater campus. High school teachers are invited to bring students to OSU to visit science, engineering and mathematics research labs at the university. Hands-on activities will assist students in learning about current research at OSU while exploring career paths in STEM fields.

This year we can host up to 22 teachers who in turn can bring seven students currently in their sophomore or junior year in high school. With limited space available, early registration is encouraged.

Register here for the 2015 OSU-NLD event

For more information, please contact Dr. Julie Angle at (405) 744-8147 or



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Birding Workshop March 12


The Oklahoma Conservation Commission, Dewey County Conservation District and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation invite all K-12 educators to spend the day with us learning about birds. This 6-hour workshop will introduce you to methods for identifying birds and attracting birds to your schoolyard or outdoor classroom. You will also learn ways to incorporate bird watching into your daily curriculum. Information on citizen science programs involving birds will also be shared. Come prepared to observe a variety of birds in a classroom setting as well as outdoors.

Materials: Participants will receive Flying Wild – an Educator’s Guide to Celebrating Birds, BirdSleuth

Program Materials, Bird ID field guides, posters and other educational materials.

Date: Thursday, March 12, 2015

Location: Dewey County Conservation District, Taloga, OK

Time: 9:00 am to 3:30 pm

(Teachers receive 6 hours of professional development credit)

Cost: $20 (Lunch and materials included)


Enrollment is limited to 20 participants. Registrations will be accepted on a first come, first-served basis.  Registration form Here: Birding_Workshop_12Mar2015

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Your Students Should Apply To A Regents Academy


See the full list of of 26 Summer Academies HERE

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TiffanyGram – 3.15.2015



Greetings Science Educators!

I hope the week finds you well and that you were able to withstand the weekend weather. Below you will find a few updates, professional development opportunities and resources. The first update I’d like to share is that the Oklahoma Science Framework Project is off to a great start. There are nineteen Oklahoma science educators who are working diligently to develop resources for Oklahoma science teachers that will assist them in transitioning to the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science. We hope to be able to share some examples of the resources in April. Keep in mind the project is modeled off of the Minnesota STEM Frameworks.

Due to inclement weather, we had to cancel the Science Standards Regional Workshop in Tahlequah, but we are in the process of rescheduling that workshop and will send out details soon.

Assessment Update:

Parent, Student, and Teacher Guides

Parent, Student, and Teacher Guides are available for download. See link for access 

Science Assessment Coordinator Contact Information:

In the previous Science Listserv Message I believe I may have given out the wrong contact information for the new Science Assessment Coordinator, Tony Cortez.

His contact information is:

  • Phone: Call the main assessment line at (405) 521-3341 and ask to speak to Tony.

Resources Shared on #OKSci Facebook:

Check out the responses by other science educators to the questions below by joining the OKSci Facebook page

  • Take a glimpse at the new blog post on Megan Veldhuizen shares a science activity she conducts with her transitional first grade class that can help other Oklahoma science teachers better understand how to read the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science.

Educator Opportunities:

Oklahoma Education and Industry Partnership Program:

The Oklahoma Education and Industry Partnership Program for 5th- through 12th-grade STEM teachers in Oklahoma will be July 28-30 at Rose State College in Midwest City. The event will focus on aerospace and defense, agriculture and bioscience and energy and will include site visits for each industry, along with breakout sessions and discussion groups. Attendees will also have the opportunity to talk to senior members of education and industry about how to gain the most from this partnership with industry.

Registration is free and includes hotel and all meals, along with a $100 stipend gift card and a $125 gift certificate from Pitsco Scientific Equipment Co. Attendees will also have the opportunity to apply for a $1,000 grant for shopping in the Pitsco catalog. Grant applications will be accepted at registration desk on Tuesday, July 28.  Bring yours ready to go. Additional guidance will be provided. Winning applications will be determined by Thursday, July 30.

Registration is limited to 100 teachers determined by date and time of registration. A standby list of 30 teachers will also be established. Registration will be open March 1-June 30 on the Rose State College website at .

For more information about the program, contact Ben Robinson, chairman, Other planning members include Gaile Loving, Mustang School District, Jana Rowland, Western Technology Center (retired), Rachel Langley, Jenks High School, Kelly Wardlaw, Stillwater Middle School,Teresa Potter, Fisher Elementary School, and many others.

OEIP is a partnership among educators, counselors, administrators, parents, students, industry leaders, government policy makers and members of the economic development community. It focuses on providing relevance and rigor to STEM education, training and workforce development; introducing rewarding STEM careers; closing the knowledge and skills gap; motivating students to develop and maintain career pathways; and providing professional development for Oklahoma educators.

Advance Placement Summer Institutes: Registration Open

See link for details: 

Fueling Futures

The OERB is now offering Oklahoma high schools a new after school program aimed at providing students with a series of activities to enhance their learning about Oklahoma’s oil and natural gas industry. Fueling Futures is intended to educate students on petroleum-related subjects, including earth science, engineering, environmental science, economics, current events and others subjects to be determined. Fueling Futures will also provide the students with information on energy-related careers paths and higher education opportunities.

During the 2015-2016 school year, Fueling Futures will be piloted in three Oklahoma Schools. Each lead educator will receive a $3,000 stipend, along with $5,000 to be used for the program materials. Applications are due April 20, 2015 and the award notification will be announced on or before May 8, 2015. See attached Fueling Futures Application.

NSTA Free Articles:

  • Science and Children – Elementary Journal
    • Looking Through the Energy Lens: A Strategy Helps Students Develop a Fuller View of Energy’s Role in a Variety of Phenomena (Link)
  • Science Scope – Middle School Journal
    • Reading and Writing Alignment Across Content Areas (Link)
  • The Science Teacher – High School Journal
    • Sinking In: Developing a Model for Understanding Density (Link)

Stay Connected:

Social Media:

Twitter: @tiffanyneill

Facebook: #OKSci

Hashtags: #oksde #OKSci #OKSTEM

Sign Up for a Twitter account:

Accessing Archived Science Messages:

You can access Archived Science Messages I’ve sent out since March via the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association (OSTA) website. Scroll down to see previous posts.

Science Listserv:

Please encourage others to register for the science listserv and pass along the following registration link:

Register for Science Listserv

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

- Tiffany

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The 2015 Transformative Learning Conference

UCO Transformative Learning Conference March 26 27 2015 Downtown Oklahoma City

The 2015 Transformative Learning Conference

Registration Now Open!

2015 Registration Site

(Registration Rates & Info)

Downtown, Oklahoma City, OK, USA
March 26-27, 2015

Hosted by the University of Central Oklahoma

Keynote & Pre-Conference Workshop by
Harvard’s Eric Mazur, Inaugural Minerva Award Recipient


 About the Conference:

The ​2015 ​Transformative ​Learning ​Conference ​challenges ​participants ​to ​demonstrate ​evidence-based ​classroom ​practices. ​Transformative ​learning, ​integrative ​learning, ​interdisciplinary ​learning, ​and ​holistic ​learning ​are ​prominent ​approaches ​in ​current ​college ​teaching ​and ​learning ​practice. ​Since ​2009, ​The ​University ​of ​Central ​Oklahoma ​formalized ​a ​campus-wide ​transformative ​learning ​initiative ​in ​both ​curricular ​and ​co-curricular ​learning ​and ​has hosted conferences for several years. Past ​Transformative ​Learning ​Conferences ​have ​featured ​keynoters ​Vincent ​Tinto, ​Melissa ​Peet, ​and ​Dan ​Glisczinski!


Workshop & Keynote Presenter:

Dr. Eric Mazur

Dr. Eric Mazur, author of Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual, will present the keynote session on Friday morning, March 27, and will conduct a 3-hour pre-conference workshop on Thursday afternoon, March 26. Read Preconference Workshop Description  Read Keynote Description

Dr. Mazur is famous for his work in actively engaging students in their learning as a means of reaching key conceptual understandings. He is a pioneer in “flipping” classrooms and is renowned as an educator of college faculty. Peer instruction and other strategies employed by Dr. Mazur are effective in prompting Transformative Learning, and we’re delighted he’ll be sharing ideas and strategies at the conference.

Recognition for his contributions to college instructional practice came with the recent announcement of Dr. Mazur as the inaugural recipient of the Minerva Award, the “Nobel for university teaching and learning.”

For more information about Dr. Mazur and his teaching, visit Harvard Magazine’s Article on Dr. Mazur’s Transformative Teaching Practices.

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