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Science Matters e-blast - December, 2014
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December, 2014
Science Matters Network in Michigan eBlast

In this E-Blast

  1. Leadership

  2. The Science Matters Network in Michigan

    1. Another FREE Gift for You in the NSTA Learning Center – Formative Assessment

    2. What is Science Matters?

  3. Next Generation Science Standards

    1. Key Message for the Science Education Community

    2. Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks

    3. Key Message on the Classroom Assessment Tasks

    4. Download the NGSS for FREE as a PDF

  4. Michigan Department of Education

    1. Michigan Student Test System Developed for Spring, 2015

    2. New Process for State Continuing Education Clock Hours

    3. Upcoming Deadlines and MDE Websites of Interest

  5. Information for Students (and Parents too!)

    1. Future Engineer’s 3D Printing in Space Challenges

    2. Teach Principle of STEM and ICT with Autonomous Robots

    3. Grant Opportunities Related to Student Citizen Science

    4. 2015 EngineerGirl Essay Contest

    5. DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition Expands to Include K-5

    6. Upcoming Deadlines

  6. Grants and Opportunities for K-12 Teachers

    1. Win a Shell Science Lab Makeover Valued at $20,000

    2. Free PD Opportunity for 5-8 Science Teachers This Summer in New Orleans

    3. Student Experiments on the International Space Station

    4. Lawrence Scadden Teacher of the Year Award in Science Education for Students with Disabilities

    5. Together Counts: Award for PreK Teachers

    6. The Follett Challenge

    7. Wildflower Grant Opportunity Deadline December 15

    8. Upcoming Deadlines

  7. Information for K-12 Teachers

    1. Monthly Updates of Climate Digest

    2. Outdoor Teaching Tips

    3. What Happens If You Wring Out A Wet Towel While Floating In Space?

    4. New STEM Data Resources Available from the National Science Board

    5. Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 and New Guide for Selecting the Best Books

    6. Incorporate the Arts Into Science

    7. NASA Wavelength

    8. Identify These Weather Phenomena

    9. Student Science Publication

    10. MSTA Conference February 26-28

    11. Upcoming Deadlines

  8. Ideas from the Twitterverse

  9. Information for High School Teachers

    1. Regional Teacher-Friendly Guides to Earth Science

    2. STEM Learning is SOARING

    3. 2015 Michigan Envirothon

    4. Free Physics Lessons and Materials from PhysicsQuest

    5. The Nature Conservancy Great Lakes Lecture Series Archive from the Cranbrook Institute of Science

    6. Upcoming Deadlines

  10. Information for Middle and High School Science Teachers

    1. Plan a Field Trip to Outer Space

    2. Michigan Science Olympiad

  11. Information for Elementary School Teachers

    1. The Water Cycle for Kids

  12. Science Humor Geeky One-Liners Nerds Will Love

  13. November Contest Winners

  14. December Contest – Win a $10 Starbucks Gift Card

Here are your science education resources and announcements for December, 2014 provided by the Michigan Science Matters Network. Please forward this eBlast on to other science educators in your school/district.  If you have questions or comments, please forward them to:

David Bydlowski

Michigan Coordinator—Science Matters Network


Sue Campbell

MSTA Representative

Please Note:  If you do not receive the full e-blast you can view it at:

or request a Word/pdf version by emailing:


1.  Leadership

“Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.”

Henry J. Kaiser

Thank you to Herm Boatin, Science Consultant, for contributing this leadership quote.


The Science Matters Network In Michigan


2a.  Another Free Gift for You in the NSTA Learning Center – Formative Assessment

I hope you will enjoy this free gift that you can access in the NSTA Learning Center.  The gift is a set of resources on the topic of “Formative Assessment.”  To access just visit:

Resources include:

  • Cookie Crumbles

  • Emmy’s Moon and Stars

  • Formative Assessment Probes: Uncovering Students’ Ideas in Science

  • Functions of Living Things

  • Methods and Strategies: Formative Assessment Probes

  • Mountaintop Fossil

  • Pennies

  • And many more………….

If you have not joined the NSTA Learning Center yet, you can have an invitation to join sent directly to you, just send an email to:

and an invitation will be sent directly to you.


2b. What is Science Matters?

Science Matters is an initiative from the National Science Teachers Association that promotes quality science education, resources, and professional development opportunities. Each state has a Science Matters Coordinator whose primary role is to be the point of contact for distribution of science resources and opportunities to the state network.  Your state coordinator is David Bydlowski.  You can contact him at:


Next Generation Science Standards


3a. Key Message for the Science Education Community

There have been many questions about the creation of assessments aligned to the NGSS that reflect important concerns about the need to create valid and reliable assessments. Before turning too much attention to large-scale assessment, it is crucial that we give the necessary time and attention to the other components of strong NGSS implementation.

The focus for states right now is on building capacity of educators to understand the NGSS and how it transitions to classrooms.  At this time, many states are starting to do this by introducing the Framework:

and the standards to district leaders and teachers, beginning professional development trainings, and working to develop or locate aligned instructional materials. The transition these states, districts, and teachers are undertaking requires a lot of time and intense dedication from a variety of stakeholders, which is why it is important to first build capacity to implement the NGSS, and then build aligned assessments. Ultimately, large-scale NGSS assessments will not be meaningful unless NGSS implementation has been supported.  


3b. Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks

Achieve has released a new resource, the Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks. These sample tasks, written by secondary science and math teachers, provide examples of how content from both the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Mathematics can be assessed together in classrooms. Each task focuses on a specific context or storyline and includes multiple components that work together to partially or fully assess a bundle of chosen standards (i.e., group of related standards from the CCSS and the NGSS). The purpose of these sample tasks is to provide some examples of how to meaningfully integrate the NGSS and CCSS in authentic ways in the context of classroom assessment. To aid educators in their own task development, the front matter of the sample classroom assessment tasks provides information about the tasks’ development process so additional tasks can be created to assess a bundle of both math and science standards.

Educators are encouraged to modify these tasks for their needs and to let us know how they can be improved.  It important to note that these tasks are drafts and that they will be revised as we receive feedback from users. We anticipate releasing revised drafts of these tasks as well as the first round of sample classroom assessment tasks for elementary grades in the coming months.

The State Science Education Standards Comparison Tool is available on the NGSS website at:


3c. Key Message on the Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks

Many of the newly released Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks note that they can be used, at least partially, as formative assessments. Formative assessments may be seamlessly incorporated into instruction, but they cannot stand alone as instructional lessons or units.

Dylan Wiliam says this about formative assessment in his 2011 book Embedded Formative Assessment; "An assessment functions formatively to the extent that evidence about student achievement is elicited, interpreted, and used by teachers, learners, or their peers to make decisions about the next steps in instruction that are likely to be better, or better founded, than the decisions they would have made in absence of that evidence" (43). Even though the distinctions between instructional activities and classroom-based assessments (e.g., those that engage students in discussions or group activities) may be blurred (NRC, 2014), assessment tasks don't provide guidance on how to teach concepts or full explanations of instructional content that will be assessed by the tasks.

This is an important consideration when looking at the Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks highlighted above. While the tasks could be used as summative assessments (tasks that are used at the end of an instructional unit to measure student achievement and to evaluate the ultimate outcome of learning) and/or formative assessments, the Classroom Sample Assessment Tasks are not meant to be used as lessons, units, or instructional materials on their own.


3d. Download the NGSS for Free as a PDF

Since its release in 2013, our print edition of Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States

has been enthusiastically embraced by tens of thousands of educators and curriculum planners in school districts across the country. Teachers especially enjoy having an authoritative, standalone edition of the NGSS that they can highlight, bookmark, and personalize.

Today, you can download a PDF of the complete book – containing all the official standards, connections, and appendixes – as a complement to the print edition. Furthermore, as with thousands of other publications on, this one's on the house.

If you haven't taken a close look at Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States yet they hope you'll use this opportunity to visit their website and download it for free.


Michigan Department of Education


4a. Michigan Student Test System Developed for Spring, 2015

Michigan’s public schools can begin moving forward in their planning for the online statewide student assessment in the Spring of 2015. The Michigan Department of Education announced its updated assessment system, called the Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP).

“This is great news for our local school districts,” said State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. “They’ve been very anxious to hear what the new assessment will be, as we developed a new test to comply with legislatively-mandated changes.”

The new assessment was required by the state legislature for the Spring 2015 testing period. The legislature also required the Department of Education to re-bid its long-term assessment system that will begin in the Spring of 2016.

The new assessment meets all of the requirements put into law by the legislature; that it be: an online assessment, with a paper-and-pencil option; aligned to the state standards; expanding writing assessments to additional grades; providing an increased number of constructed response test questions so that pupils can demonstrate higher-order skills, such as problem solving and communicating reasoning; and pilot tested before statewide implementation.

M-STEP replaces the 44-year-old MEAP test, which was not online and measured the previous state standards. The Spring 2015 assessment will include Michigan-created content, as well as content developed by the multi-state Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. Educators from Michigan public schools helped develop and write test content that will appear on M-STEP.

“The changes in law diverted what the department and local school districts had been developing and preparing for over the past three years,” Flanagan said. “It put schools in some unwelcomed limbo while our experts scrambled to find testing content that met the legislative requirements.”

The assessment for Spring 2015 is a one-year stopgap until the long-term assessment is awarded through the re-bidding process.

M-STEP includes the following assessments:

   * A Spring summative assessment for grades 3-8

   * A Michigan Merit Exam (MME) for grade 11, which includes a college entrance exam; a work skills component; and a summative component aligned to Michigan content standards

This will be the first time all statewide assessments will be administered online. To help prepare, nearly 1,900 Michigan schools have performed pilot online testing over the past three and a half years. The state Legislature has invested more than $100 million over the past two years to help get local districts technology-ready for the new assessments. To date, over 80 percent of schools meet the minimum technology requirement for the new assessment.

There still will be a paper-and-pencil option for schools if they believe they are not ready with the minimal technology requirements. Districts had until November 21 to request a waiver to administer the paper/pencil test. Due to the cost concerns of preparing the separate online and paper/pencil formats, and wanting to be the best stewards of public funds, MDE will not entertain change requests beyond that November 21 deadline date.

The entire Michigan Merit Exam for the Spring of 2015 will take longer for local schools to administer due to requirements in state law.

The high school test requires additional time because the college entrance and work skills tests that Michigan currently is contracted to use, do not measure the state’s standards for English language arts and mathematics. The move to more rigorous standards requires additional types of test questions not present on those assessments. As a result, the state is required to provide additional testing to ensure state and federal laws that require measurement of the state’s standards are met.

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) has allowed a few states to get a federal flexibility waiver with a future plan to use only a college-entrance exam like ACT. However, USED cannot waive the Michigan law that requires the state assessments be aligned to the state standards.

The majority of schools that are testing online will have greater flexibility and can configure testing, as desired, within the eight-week window the department has provided them. This provides ample opportunity for schools to plan their testing times. There will be eight partial days of testing for the paper/pencil option of the high school test in the spring. This option, which should be used only by those continuing to prepare their buildings for online testing, must continue to be spread in this fashion to assure adequate testing security.

MDE will be working with the USED to update Michigan’s school accountability model used in its flexibility waiver to the federal No Child Left Behind Act. These updates would recognize the changes in statewide assessments and improvements in identifying student academic growth and learning.

In these discussions with USED, it will be the Michigan Department of Education’s intent to use the test data from this transitional year for a trial run of a revised accountability system. It is the intent of the Department that the results of the trial run of accountability would be shared with schools and districts for local decision making, but that no consequences would be applied.

The Department encourages local districts to use the data to inform classroom instruction; student and school improvement planning; and local programming decisions.

Schools will be provided student-level growth data for use in teacher and administrator evaluations. Because these educator evaluations are still determined by local school districts, how local districts choose to use the data in the evaluations is up to each district.

For more information on M-STEP, log on to:


4b. New Process for State Continuing Education Clock Hours

Message from State Superintendent Mike Flanagan:

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) is pleased to announce that the seat time requirement to demonstrate attendance at State Continuing Education Clock Hour (SCECH) sessions will be streamlined. Beginning immediately, instead of documenting attendance through “sign in/out” or “stamp in/out,” the requirement only will require a one-time identification method. That method can be determined by the individual SCECH provider, and might include options such as: picking up a name badge; turning in the SCECH identification form before leaving; or participation in an activity during a professional learning opportunity.

While we recognize that high-quality professional learning does not necessarily result simply from recognized attendance at professional development opportunities, this decision reflects MDE’s trust in educators as professionals. We also trust that SCECH providers will facilitate high-quality professional learning opportunities resulting in engaged learners.

The MDE encourages all SCECH program providers and districts offering District Provided Professional Development to incorporate Michigan’s Professional Learning Policy and Standards when creating and choosing professional learning opportunities. The policy was adopted by the State Board of Education in January

2012, and advocates for educators to engage in professional learning opportunities that:

  • are on-going and relevant to their professional practice;

  • allow the practices of professional discourse, analysis, application, and reflection; and

  • enhance job effectiveness and student growth.

Michigan’s Professional Learning Policy and Standards for Professional Learning can be accessed here:,4615,7-140-6530_30334-342124--,00.html

The Professional Learning Supporting Guidance document can be accessed here:

If you have questions regarding the SCECH requirement, please contact Sarah-Kate LaVan at or 517-335-0974. If you have questions about Michigan’s Professional Learning Policy, please contact Stephen Best at or 517-241-4553


4c. Upcoming Deadlines and MDE Websites of Interest

MDE Websites of Interest

Academic Standards:,4615,7-140-28753_64839_65510---,00.html



Interim Assessments:,4615,7-140-22709_63192---,00.html

Michigan Merit Examination:,4615,7-140-22709_35150---,00.html

Michigan School Scorecards:,4615,7-140-22709_25058---,00.html

April 27 – May 11, 2015: Grade 4 Science MEAP

April 27 – May 11, 2015: Grade 7 Science MEAP

May 4 – June 1, 2015:  Grade 11 (Including Science) Michigan Merit Exam

For more information, Please visit:


Information for Students (and Parents too!)


5a.  Future Engineers 3D Printing in Space Challenges

NASA and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) have partnered to launch the Future Engineers 3D printing in space education challenge for K-12: “Design a Space Tool”.

They are challenging the students of today to become the future creators and innovators of tomorrow by inspiring their creativity and imagination with the ultimate space challenge — designing their very own space tool to be printed on the first-ever 3D printer aboard the International Space Station.

Blast off with them and get involved today!

Entries close: December 15, 2014


5b.  Teach Principles of STEM and ICT with Autonomous Robots

Robofest is a festival of competitions and events with autonomous robots that encourages students to have fun while learning principles of physical science, computer science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as well as Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Students design, construct and program the robots. Any robotics kits are allowed in the construction of robots. Since 2000, more than 14,000 students have competed in Robofest, including teams from 13 US States, England, Canada, China, France, India, Brazil, South Korea, Mexico, Singapore and South Africa. Teams compete in the junior (grades 4–8), senior (grades 9–12) and college divisions. Student teams, composed of up to five members each, can participate in a variety of events. Check out the online calendar for the entire listing of events. The competition is sponsored by Lawrence Technological University.

Deadline: Registration begins in December.  Please visit:


5c.  Grant Opportunity Related to Student Citizen Science

Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists (YLACES) announces that it is now ready to receive proposals for implementation grants. This is the initial grant solicitation of the organization.

Grants are to support the efforts of those working with youth to do environmental citizen science or student research projects. Grants of up to $1,000 may be requested; application procedures are available on the YLACES website at:

Proposals should be submitted by email to, and the deadline for this round is by January 15, 2015. YLACES has budgeted to provide a total of at least $10,000 for this round of funding.

Learn more about YLACES at or contact us at  The deadline to apply is January 15, 2015.


5d.  2015 EngineerGirl Essay Contest

The NAE has launched its 2015 EngineerGirl Essay Contest:

This year’s contest is focused on engineering in sports and they are asking students in grades 3-12 to describe one technology used in a sport that they enjoy and explain how different types of engineers contributed to its design and manufacture. The contest is open from now until March 1, 2015 at 6:00 pm EST. Prizes of $500, $250, and $100 will be awarded to the best essays in each of the three submission categories.


5e.  DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition Expands to Include K-5

The DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition has announced a new division and expanded grade levels—the new Elementary Division is open to students in grades K–5, the Junior Division is now open to students in grades 6–8, and the Senior Division is now open to students in grades 9–12—from across the United States, Canada, and U.S. Territories. The challenges ask students to research, observe, analyze, interpret, and communicate creatively. Teachers and students work together to write a science story about what they discovered. Submissions are accepted until March 1, 2015. More than $150,000 in prizes for students, teachers and schools is available. Learn more about the elementary challenge:

and about the Junior and Senior Division challenges:


5f. Upcoming Deadlines

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) offers a variety of fun and friendly competitions to engage your students in the pleasures of science beyond the curriculum. Please visit:

December 12, 2014:  Deadline for students to enter the Team America Rocketry Challenge.  Please visit:

December15, 2014:  Deadline for K-12 Students to enter the Future Engineers 3D Printing in Space Challenge.  Please visit:

December 31, 2014:  Deadline for High School Seniors to enter HQ’s Ordinary Object Redesign Student Contest.  Please visit:

January 15, 2015:  Deadline to apply for the Youth Learning as Citizen Environmental Scientists.  Please visit:

January 30, 2015:  Deadline for students to enter the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision STEM Competition.  Please visit:

January 31, 2015:  Deadline to register for the Youth Rover Challenge.  Please visit:

March 1, 2015:  Deadline for girls to enter the 2015 EngineerGirl Essay Contest.  Please visit:

March 1, 2015:  Deadline for Elementary – High Students to enter the DuPont Challenge Science Essay Competition.  Please visit:



Grants and Opportunities For K-12 Teachers


6a. Win a Shell Science Lab Makeover Valued at $20,000

Are you a science teacher succeeding in providing exemplary lab instruction with minimal equipment and resources? The Shell Science Lab Challenge offers you a chance to compete to win a school science lab makeover, valued at $20,000, by sharing your creative approach. Middle and high school science teachers (grades 6-12) in the United States and Canada who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources and teach underserved populations are encouraged to apply! The deadline for submissions is December 19, 2014.

All winners will receive Ward’s Science lab equipment, Shell cash grants, NSTA memberships, and support to attend NSTA Conferences on Science Education. The grand prize winner and four national finalists will be honored at a special banquet and ceremony NSTA's National Conference on Science Education in Chicago March 12 to 15, 2015.  For more information about the Challenge, download an application at:

or email

To view the archived webinar go to:


6b. Free PD Opportunity for 5 – 8 Science Teachers This Summer in New Orleans

The National WWII Museum is excited to announce a week-long professional development opportunity to take place in the summer of 2015 for middle school (5-8th grade) science teachers. Twenty eight teachers from across the country will come to New Orleans to experience hands-on how necessity, knowledge, perseverance and skill lead to inventions, innovation, and careers in STEM—just like in World War II.

This seminary is supported by a grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation. Teachers will receive free room and board in New Orleans, a travel stipend, and all seminar materials free of charge.

We are looking for great young teachers nationwide, and the application period begins January 5th 2015. Please visit

or more information and to signup for email updates.  The deadline to apply is March 6, 2015.


6c. Student Experiments on the International Space Station

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education invite schools, school districts, and community colleges to explore participation in Student Spaceflight Experiments

Program (SSEP) Mission 8 to the International Space Station. This STEM education opportunity immerses grade 5-14 students across a community in an authentic, high visibility research experience, where student teams design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station (ISS). The program nurtures ownership in learning, critical thinking, problem solving, navigation of an interdisciplinary landscape, teamwork, and communication skills – all reflective of the Next Generation Science Standards, and reflective of the skills needed by professional scientists and engineers.

Each community participating in SSEP is provided a real research asset – a flight certified, straightforward to use microgravity research mini-laboratory, and launch services to transport the mini-laboratory to ISS. It is a limited

research asset given that the mini-laboratory can only contain a single student team designed microgravity experiment. An astronaut aboard ISS will conduct the experiment, and after a 6 to 12-week stay in orbit, the experiment will be returned safely to Earth for harvesting and analysis by the community’s student flight team.

Mirroring how professional researchers formally compete to obtain limited research assets, the participating community carries out a “call for proposals”. More specifically, the community conducts a local Flight

Experiment Design Competition. First, a core group of the community's STEM educators engage typically 200 students in a microgravity curriculum provided by the Center. The students are then separated into teams of typically 3-5 students per team, with each team vying for the community’s single flight experiment slot by designing, then formally proposing, a microgravity experiment in a science discipline of their choice. Their experiment design is constrained by the operation of the mini-laboratory, and flight operations to and from Low Earth Orbit. The competition is conducted through formal submission of real (but grade level appropriate) research proposals by the student teams – as is standard practice for professional researchers. A minimum of 40 flight experiment proposals are typically secured across a single community.

A formal 2-step proposal review process, mirroring professional review, will determine the community’s flight experiment. Content resources for teachers and students support foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experimental design. Additional programming leverages the experiment design competition to engage the community, embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education. This includes a local art and design competition for a Mission Patch to accompany the flight experiment to Space Station. SSEP therefore provides for a community-wide STEAM experience.

TIME CRITICAL: all interested communities are asked to inquire by December 15, 2014; schools and districts need to assess interest with their staff and, if appropriate, move forward with an Implementation Plan. Communities must be aboard by February 16, 2015, for a 9-week experiment design phase February 23 to April 24, 2015, and flight experiment selection by May 28, 2015. Flight of the selected experiment to ISS is expected in Fall 2015.

Contact: Dr. Jeff Goldstein, SSEP Program Director; 301-395-0770;


6d. Lawrence Scadden Teacher of the Year Award in Science Education for Students with Disabilities

This award recognizes excellence in science teaching for students with disabilities. The award is open to all current K–12 teachers (general education, special education, or science teachers, public or private) who have taught at least five years. Nominees must have made an outstanding contribution to science students with disabilities. The winner of the Scadden award is expected to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education to accept the award. A check for $1,000 is provided to offset travel expenses to the NSTA conference. Applications are due on January 20 of each calendar year for the previous year's award. Please visit:


6e. Together Counts: Award for PreK Teachers

The contest provides teachers an opportunity to win cash to be used to improve the school's preK wellness program and a selection of books appropriate to the preK curriculum. Entrants must develop an action plan identifying a need, write a goal statement, do background research, develop an action plan, explain how the plan will be implemented and how its success will be measured, and describe how he or she would use the prize to create long-term improvements for balancing nutrition and physical activity within their school community.

Those employed at an early childhood education center or elementary school with a preK program or Head Start program in the United States are eligible to enter. The Grand Prize–winning preschool will be awarded $20,000, and 10 runners-up will each receive $2,500. In addition, each winning school will receive a prize pack of books worth $1,000. Please visit:

The deadline is February 27, 2015.


6f. The Follett Challenge

The contest rewards innovation in education in schools/districts in the United States and Canada (except Quebec). Don't miss the opportunity to be one of the winners of $200,000 in Follett products and services for your K–12 public or private school. The goal is to reward top-notch educators who are designing innovative teaching and learning programs that focus on student outcomes to help students master the multidimensional abilities required of them in the 21st century.

Show Follett the innovative ways you are preparing students for the skills they will need. Your video and written entry will be judged by a panel of education thought leaders and voted on by the world. The grand-prize winner will be selected from among the four semifinalists and will receive a total of $60,000 in Follett products and services. For more information, Please visit:

The deadline to apply is January 9, 2015.


6g. Wildflower Grant Opportunity Due December 15

The Wildflower Association of Michigan:

awards grants annually to fund projects that involve creating an outdoor classroom, enhancing an existing site, or developing other educationally directed projects that support the WAM Mission. It is their desire to educate Michigan's citizens in the areas of recognition, preservation and proper procedures for the restoration of the native landscape and to pass on an appreciation and respect for our native flora.

Prior to completing your application form, please review the criteria for this year's grant program as well as the summary of the follow-up procedures and Final Project Report required of all recipients of WAM grants. Please review this information carefully as it may prove valuable when designing your project and submitting your application. In particular, please note the deadlines and signatures required for each application. Improperly submitted applications will not be considered for funding.

Since it is WAM's desire to be of service to as much of the public as possible, all grant recipients will receive packets of information to assist them in fulfillment of their projects. Included for your use will be a list of sources for educational materials, a list of Michigan native species nurseries and seed suppliers, additional grant dollar sources, and other selected reading materials.

Each applicant may request up to $1000 in support. These funds can be used to purchase plants and seeds as well as mulch, labels or signs. The application deadline is December 15, 2014. All applicants will be notified if they are or are not recipients of an award no later than January 31, 2015. Award recipients will receive their funds at the Awards Luncheon on Sunday during the Michigan Wildflower Conference at the Kellogg Center on the Michigan State University campus, which is always held the first full weekend of March. If you have any further questions pertaining to the grant application process please contact Maryann Whitman, Grants Coordinator, at the address below. Electronic submission through e-mail is encouraged. Please do not fax your application. Good luck and thank you for your interest in the WAM Educational Grant Program.

Grant Contact

WAM Grants Coordinator
c/o Maryann Whitman
2271 Rochester Rd
Oakland MI 48363


6h. Upcoming Deadlines

Would you like a complete list of grants that has been provided by the National Science Teachers Association?  NSTA has put these grant and their deadlines in an easy to follow calendar.  It includes: deadline date, description, category, and grade level.  To view this list, Please visit:

Free grant finding resources for educators and educational institutions, just visit:

December 15, 2015:  Deadline to apply for the Wildflower Association of Michigan’s Educational Grant Program.  Please visit:

December 15, 2014: Deadline to apply for the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 8 to the International Space Station.  Please contact:

Dr. Jeff Goldstein, SSEP Program Director; 301-395-0770;

December 17, 2014:  Deadline for teachers in grades 6-9 to register for the eCYBERMISSION Competition.  Please visit:

December 19, 2014:  Deadline for MS and HS Teachers to enter the Shell Science Lab Makeover.  Please visit:

December 21, 2014:  Deadline for 5-12 Teachers to apply for the MCWT Robofest grants.  Please visit:

January 5, 2015:  Deadline to apply for a Teacher Scholarship to raft the Grand Canyon with NCSE.  Please visit:

January 9, 2015:  Deadline to enter the Follett Challenge.  Please visit:

January 20, 2015:  Deadline for Teachers of Students with Disabilities to apply for the Lawrence Scadden Teacher of the Year Award.  Please visit:

January 30, 2015:  Deadline to apply for the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Program.  Please visit:

February 27, 2015:  Deadline for PreK Teachers and Schools to Apply for the Together Counts Grant.  Please visit:

March 1, 2015:  Deadline to apply for the $1000 Scholarships for Amazon Rainforest PD Workshop.  Please visit:

March 6, 2015:  Deadline for MS Science Teachers to apply for the Real World Science PD Workshop.  Please visit:

May 1, 2015:  Deadline for secondary teachers to apply for the 2015 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.  Please visit:


Information for K-12 Science Teachers


7a. Monthly Updates of Climate Digest

Each month, the EarthNow team, will provide information regarding the previous month’s climate.  Please visit:


7b. Outdoor Teaching Tips

Whether you’re a seasoned outdoor educator or new to taking groups outside, here are some general tips and techniques that can make leading a group in the great outdoors a positive, successful, and rewarding experience for everyone:

  • Plan ahead

  • Set Clear Expectations

  • Be a scientist

  • Stealth mode

  • Send them off, but bring them back in

  • Have what you need and know what you don’t

  • Bring along technology

  • Know it’s good not to know all the answers

For more information on this topic, Please visit:


7c. What Happens If You Wring Out A Wet Towel While Floating In Space?

“What happens if you wring out a wet towel while floating in space? The water shouldn't fall toward the floor because while orbiting the Earth, free falling objects will appear to float. But will the water fly out from the towel, or what? The answer may surprise you. To find out and to further exhibit how strange being in orbit can be, Expedition 35 Commander Chris Hadfield did just this experiment in the microgravity of the Earth orbiting International Space Station.”  Please visit:


7d. New STEM Data Resources Available From the National Science Board

Explore facts on STEM education and careers with interactive charts and maps, the latest Federal data and analysis from the National Science Board on topics ranging from student proficiency and college degrees in STEM fields to school financing and careers in science and high-tech occupations. Learn more at:


7e. Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 and New Guide for Selecting the Best Books

Since 1973, NSTA and the Children's Book Council have collaborated to select an annual list of Outstanding Science Trade Books (OSTB) for Students K–12.

Heartwarming and engaging stories that explore a host of topics from Batman Science to Dung Beetles are on this year's OSTB list for K—12 students. Explore the 2015 list:

where you will find not only traditional science content, but also books that allow children to explore engineering and design. Two of the books—Neighborhood Sharks and Star Stuff—also made the New York Times' special "Book Review" section on children's titles.

You can find this list, and lists from years past, at NSTA Recommends:

where you can generate an Excel file of your favorites. To help you select and use these outstanding teaching tools, NSTA also has developed a Guide to Science Trade Books:

available free of charge.


7f.  Incorporate the Arts into Science

The ArtsEdge Science Resources from The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., give students the opportunity to explore how art influences the scientific world (and the science behind the art). Students learn about the lives of butterflies through dance, use mobiles to create the solar system, explore a virtual ocean with their senses, discover the colorful world pulsing inside their own cells—and more. The collection of STEM + Art resources strengthens students’ study of science while incorporating the arts in dozens of lessons, articles, audio and video.  Please visit:


7g.  NASA Wavelength

NASA Wavelength is your pathway into a digital collection of Earth and space science resources for educators of all levels – from elementary to college, to out-of-school programs. These resources, developed through funding of the NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD), have undergone a peer-review process through which educators and scientists ensure the content is accurate and useful in an educational setting. Use NASA Wavelength to quickly and easily locate resources, connect them to other websites using atom feeds, and even share the resources you discover with others through social media and email.  Please visit:


7h.  Identify These Weather Phenomena

Do you know a tornado when you see it? Can you identify the different types of clouds? Put your weather knowledge to the test with this photo-based quiz.”  Please visit:


7i.  Student Science Publication

How does temperature affect the number of Song Sparrows at feeders? Does the height of feeders affect the number of birds that visit? Where are Mourning Doves found?  Students explored these questions and dozens of others, and you can discover what they found in our BirdSleuth Investigator.  Get your free copy at:


7j.  MSTA Conference February 26 - 28

The list of over 200 sessions for the 2015 Michigan Science Teachers Association conference, February 26-28, 2015, in Grand Rapids Michigan, are now posted on the MSTA website!

You will find session information for:

- Thursday, February 26, 2015

- Friday, February 27, 2015

- Saturday, February 28, 2015

- NGSS session information

Make sure to check back weekly for any NEW sessions and information that has been updated!  Go to:

for the links, registration, and session information!


7k. Upcoming Deadlines

Have you checked out the National Science Teachers Association’s Freebies for Science Teachers webpage?  It is filled with free materials and resources.  Check it out regularly at:

January 1 – December 31, 2015:  The International Year of Light and Light-Based Technologies.  Please visit:

February 26 – 28, 2015:  MSTA Conference in Grand Rapids, MI.  Please visit:

March 12 – 15, 2015:  National Science Teachers Association’s National Conference in Chicago, IL.  Please visit:

March 18 – 20, 2015:  Michigan Association of Computer Users in Learning (MACUL) Conference at COBO Center in Detroit, MI.  Please visit:




8a. Ideas from the Twitterverse

Emerging economies are destroying the myth that #CleanEnergy is only affordable to the wealthy…

8000 lighted balloons tracing the path of the Berlin Wall on the 25th anniversary of its fall:

  Stunning photos show the power of water and how it shapes our world:

  Drought conditions to persist across much of the western U.S. through at least January.

We might have started slow but thanks to @AnnSmart17 & @blocht574 we finished strong! Missed it? Click play!

  NOAA #WinterOutlook says another warm #winter likely western US, South may see colder

Rich Kiker ?@rkiker  The 35 Best Google Search Tips and Tricks #googleedu

  Announcing the @ChildrenNature and @leagueofcities partnership to get kids outside into nature at

RT @StemEdCoalition The 9 college majors that earn the most money are all in

How do your school's @ACT scores stack up?…

  The Colorful Principal: Pictures say 1000 words…

New Blog Post: 3D Learning & #NGSS Unit Design Feedback wanted!

FISH-OF-THE-WEEK: The Yellow Perch school that travels together, stays together.….

2014 was surprisingly rough on coral reefs and #ElNiño looms in 2015. Learn more:


Information for High School Science Teachers


9a. Regional Teacher-Friendly Guides to Earth Science

Don Duggan-Haas wanted to let you know about a series of regional guides for the Earth science of the US that he has been working on for the last several years. As they are completed, (and one already is complete), they'll become available as free pdfs at:

You'll also find our Teacher-Friendly Guides to teaching evolution on this site.

One target audience for these guides are biology teachers (for example) who suddenly find themselves teaching Earth science, but it's really useful for anyone teaching Earth or environmental science who wants to more deeply understand what's going on within the region they live.

The Midwestern Guide is now available. Here's the description:

Teacher-Friendly Guides(TM) are not curricula, but are teacher development resources designed to help teachers incorporate ideas into existing curricula. The Earth Sciences series (which will ultimately cover the entire United States - see focuses on the local environment, from geologic history to rocks, fossils, topography, mineral resources, glaciers, energy, soils, climate, Earth hazards, and fieldwork, as well as a chapter on the Next Generation Science Standards. Each Guide provides background information in non-technical terms to help a teacher make sense of the details of regional features and provide the tools to understand his/her local geology. Each chapter is written to stand alone, and is cross-referenced and accompanied by a resource list and glossary. The Midwest volume covers the U.S. states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota. This is a print version of the website:


9b. STEM Learning is SOARING

If you are looking to take your STEM instruction to the next level, then check out the interactive STEM lesson plans from the Navy and Discovery Education at:

Students can explore how to build a firefighting robot by using  Robotics & Future Technology, explore Boyle's Law using the Science of Diving , apply the physics of flight with Jets in Flight an much more!   Get started today with these great resources! 


9c. 2015 Michigan Envirothon

You are invited to attend the 2015 Michigan Envirothon!  This years Regional Competitions will be held around the state March 6 – 24, 2015.  Form a team and join in for a day of hands on environmental education with Michigan natural resource professionals.  

For more information and to register, Please visit:


9d. Free Physics Lessons and Materials from PhysicsQuest

Registration is now open for this year’s PhysicsQuest kits:

Register now for the upcoming PhysicsQuest, Spectra: High Intensity:

In celebration of the International Year of Light:

this kit will have all of the equipment needed to teach students about bending light, spherical lenses, how color and energy are related, and how the sun’s light also carries heat. As the students do these activities, they will be applying all the skills they need to help our superheroes prevent Miss Alignment’s attempted town domination.  Register now for your FREE PhysicsQuest kit!

They will be sending out the Spectra: High Intensity kits (for free) in early January. If you would like to purchase last year’s kit, Spectra’s Quantum Leap, please visit their online store:


9e.  The Nature Conservancy Great Lakes Lecture Series Archive from the Cranbrook Institute of Science

Interested in the latest science, projects and strategy used by The Nature Conservancy to manage and restore the Great Lakes ecosystem?  Access the video archive of their 2012-14 lecture series at Cranbrook Institute of Science:

Each lecture delves into a different aspect of the restoration and management of the unique biodiversity found in the Great Lakes basin. Likely appropriate as background/research content for a High School science class and above.


9f. Upcoming Deadlines

March 6 – 24, 2015:  Regional Michigan Envirothon Competitions around the State of Michigan.  Please visit:

May 6 – 8, 2015: State of Michigan Envirothos Competition.  Please visit:


Information for Middle and High School Science Teachers


10a. Plan a Field Trip to Outer Space

Google Play for Education has teamed up with Interstellar and Google Certified Teachers to launch a new program to help spark the imaginations of millions of future scientists by exploring topics from climate change to space travel and the theory of relativity inspired by the film. More than 20 lesson plans created by Google Certified Teachers that adhere to US educational standards are now available on the Interstellar website for middle school and high school classrooms to explore the mathematical, scientific and literary concepts discussed in the film, including but not limited to the Interstellar lesson plans. Among the lesson plans are Biosphere Bottle Experiment with a Twist, in which students build their own biospheres and observe the effect of nitrogen and oxygen on plant life; Design a Planet, which involves students in conducting research on planetary features and creating a proposal for a new home for humankind; Plan A or Plan B? which engages students in discussing how people make tough choices based on the values that matter to them; Can Frozen Clouds Exist? in which students consider the air density and temperature required for a frozen cloud to exist; Homeric “Kleos” and the Greek Hero, which invites students to map out comparisons between Cooper (played by Matthew McConaughey) and the classical Greek hero; and How Far Away? in which students determine how far it is to the nearest black hole and visualize the distance.  Please visit:

Plus: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has been tweeting about the science behind Interstellar. In an interview with NPR, Tyson goes beyond those tweets, deep into wormholes, relativity and even some spoilers. Listen to the non-spoiler version of what he had to say.  Please visit:


10b. Michigan Science Olympiad

Michigan Science Olympiad is primarily a volunteer organization with a mission to promote excellence in science education in all Michigan schools. Elementary, middle and high school students have the opportunity to demonstrate expertise and knowledge of scientific concepts in a fun competitive tournament format.

Science Olympiad is an academic based program, which consists of twenty-three different events encompassing all scientific disciplines. Two separate divisions, middle and high school across the state take on these challenges. These teams compete in a regional tournament as a first step. Those teams that qualify compete in the State Tournament in late April/May with the top two teams advancing to the National Tournament in May.

Events are divided into five categories: Inquiry & Nature of Science, Earth & Space Science, Life, Personal & Social, Physical Science & Chemistry, and Technology & Engineering. Earth & Space Science events for this year include: Dynamic Planet (Oceanography), Fossils, Meteorology (climate), Solar System, Road Scholar, GeoLogic Mapping, and Green Generation.

Science Olympiad can be very rewarding for both you and your students. It’s fun, it promotes the learning of a variety of science topics, and it can provide wonderful memories for your middle or high school student. It is very simple to register your team. Visit:

or the national website:

for an introduction.  Thanks to Michele Svoboda, for sharing this article.


Information for Elementary School Science Teachers


11a.  The Water Cycle for Kids

This interactive diagram

produced by the U.S. Geological Survey and the United Nations allows you to "mouse around" the parts of the water cycle and view explanations, pictures, and more. Available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students, the diagram introduces an increasing number of terms at each level. For example, the beginner diagram focuses on understanding six essential terms (precipitation, condensation, evaporation, sun, runoff, and groundwater), while the intermediate and advanced versions cover those terms and add others. The intermediate diagram includes terms such as seepage, plant uptake, and transpiration, while the advanced diagram delves into concepts such as sublimation, evapotranspiration, and infiltration. PDF and jpg versions of the diagrams are available for higher resolution printing, as is a version of the diagram as a placemat.


Science Humor


12. Geeky One-Liners Nerds Will Love

How do you know the moon is going broke?  It’s down to its last quarter.

Why can’t you trust atoms?  They make up everything.

What is a cation afraid of?  Dogions

What does a subatomic duck say?  Quark

A science cat reads a book on anti-gravity, but it can’t put it down.

Why did the bear dissolve in water?  It was polar.

The optimist sees the glass as half full, the pessimist sees it as half empty.  The engineer sees it as twice as large as it needs to be.

Why is the pH of YouTube very stable?  It constantly buffers.

What do physicists enjoy doing most at sporting events?  The Wave.


13. November Contest Winners

In November, we gave away three $10 Starbucks gift cards.  Here is a list of the winners:

Jill Teegardin, Holy Trinity Catholic School – Comstock Park, MI

Agnes Carter, Glen Lake Elementary – Maple City, MI

Vicki Smith, Western Middle School – Bay City Public Schools

If you didn’t win, try again this month.  Thanks to everyone for being part of the Michigan Science Matters Network.


14. December Contest – Win a $10 Starbucks Gift Card

This month we have three great prizes to give away. The prizes are $10 Starbucks Gift Cards.

To win one of these prizes, send an email to:

David Bydlowski
State Coordinator for the Michigan Science Matters Network

You MUST INCLUDE your name AND mailing address AND your school name/district.  (If you want the card, sent to your home, please provide your home address.)

You may only enter once and only one entry per email address. Respondents 2, 12, and 22 will receive a prize. We will post all of the winners in our next E-Blast. Good luck to you and thank you for being part of the Michigan Science Matters Network.

If you don’t win, try again next month.  Thanks to everyone for being part of the Michigan Science Matters Network.


To subscribe to the Science Matters Network in Michigan e-blast, Please visit:

Click on Teachers, and then click on Become a Point of Contact.
To unsubscribe from the Science Matters Network in Michigan e-blast, please email David Bydlowski, Michigan Coordinator for the Science Matters Network, at

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