Free 7-week summer programs for current 10th-11th grade girls to learn coding and get exposure to tech jobs
Each week of the program covers projects related to computer science, such as art, storytelling, robotics, video games, web sites, and apps. Students will also hear from guest speakers, participate in workshops, connect with female engineers and entrepreneurs, and go on field trips. The program culminates in a final project where each student builds her own product and shares it with the group.
This is a national program. The New Jersey sessions are scheduled for Newark and Jersey City.
Applications open on January 8.
For more information or to sign up for the mailing list, vist:
Applying the Versatility of Chem Lab Reactions to Generate Understanding through Evidence
From the article "Modeling Periodic Patterns" in The Science Teacher, NSTA September 2017
Perhaps we might regard chemical experiments being taught in high school from a different perspective … one of a thinking process over a proof. Though redox and electronegativity are among many examples of concepts that must be learned and tested for, what makes them believable? Chemical reactions commonly used in high school potentially offer broader opportunities for the NGSS Teacher to engage students in learning to work the evidence. While it is always faster and easier (for a teacher) to simply give working definitions and draw models, processing given experiments for different purposes is far more memorable and open to valuable, formative discussion. This is what Ms. Dusty Carroll of Seneca High School is doing.
Ms. Carroll successfully used concepts in common reactions to provoke evidence rather than simply show a predictable response. Her high school classes were asked to draw on the evidence for thinking how two simple concepts - electron affinity and ionization energy - work. The NGSS approach to understanding changes occurring during a chemical reaction needed a working phenomenon for this – namely, the snatching of electrons from weaker atomic structures. While this paradigm is universally intriguing to humans, it is also evidential. Metals with acids and halogen/halide reactions provide the means to demonstrate the evidence desirable in showing comparative atomic structure functions and properties. For Dusty, it was another way to use chemistry to strengthen her students’ confidence in doing science as well as their reasoning abilities.
We have all found it difficult at times to generate a “wow” factor during lab work; but when Dusty’s students were asked to think through a reaction on their own based on evidence seen, she found that students were more pleased with their success since something they had considered difficult to understand was actually possible to show.
When asked what drew her to write an article on this topic, she modestly replied she wanted to share her ideas; but also wanted others to understand that she continues to tweak labs for deeper purposes and approaches within the NGSS. But isn’t that exactly what science is all about?
I asked if she considered any Real World applications in teaching her Property Reaction topics. She replied that perhaps the broader considerations of how materials work together should be considered, especially within the area of materials science. She advocates working with the students in seeing “patterns” with properties and posing questions. She asks her students to look for the “why” aspect. When there is no prior knowledge to use, patterns are very useful.
When I asked what motivated her students, she was quick to indicate that color really draws in the students when working with chemical reactions. Just like with elementary children, bubbles, color, temperature and other changes focus the interest. She also uses catchy phrases like “stealing an electron”; but later substitutes more appropriate worded phrases and definitions. Nevertheless, the metaphors certainly assist the visualization! Accurate communication is something she insists on, and notebooks are kept with drawings encouraged. Even though mistakes are made due to lack of experience (judging color, time of reaction, degree of change), these are qualitative errors that correct themselves over time. Students are not yet coming to high school with solid understandings of properties and equations.
As for assessing these developing skills in her students, she goes for the “storyline” approach that Mike Heinz introduced during one of his assessment seminars - reasoning being emphasized by evidence.
Dusty is delighted to share her ideas and has with her high school peers. She likes the Peer Review process and uses the feedback. As an active member of NJSTA, we hope to find more articles in NSTA’s The Science Teacher by her as she harnesses more of the NGSS approach.
Dusty Carroll can be reached at Seneca High School, Tabernacle, NJ or at
Submitted by Linda Burroughs, NJSTA Vice-President
The Tulane Summer Enrichment Institute (TSEI) offers multiple tracks: multiple middle and high school enrichment courses developed with Tulane faculty and taught by highly qualified teachers and graduate students for students in grades six through 11. The courses are tailored to the needs of middle and high school students to explain complex concepts in a practical, understandable way.
Financial Aid is available to families makeing less than $150,000.
Achieve is excited to announce the expansion of the Science Peer Review Panel!
Achieve's Science Peer Review Panel ("Science PRP") is an elite group of educators who work to evaluate and share high-quality lesson sequences and units that are designed for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Members of the Science PRP are part of the solution to a persistent problem in the science education field: not enough examples of high quality instructional materials designed for the NGSS.
Join the Science PRP by filling out the online application and connect with a network of educators across the country committed to advancing science education for all students, develop your expertise in the NGSS, and work to make better science instructional materials more widely available to the science education field. This opportunity includes free, valuable professional learning experiences designed to deepen your understanding of the NGSS and the evaluation process for instructional materials.
More Information and Application::
The Great Impromptu Tomato Escapade
A Sixth Grade Garden Adventure
It was a dark and stormy night … or it might as well have been as far as the experimental tomatoes were concerned in Ms. Julie Ogden’s class garden. Normally tomatoes in New Jersey have a great reputation – huge, red and flavorful. Not this time. The weather at the end of this summer and into the fall was very different this year. Was this part of the great Climate Change everyone is talking about, or simply part of normal seasonal fluctuation? In any event, a very concerned class of students noticed that something very unexpected. NONE of their tomatoes ripened! There wasn’t a red Beefsteak, plum or cherry tomato to be seen. Why had this happened? They had tilled the soil, feed the plants, watered them when needed – and there were bunches of tomatoes growing everywhere – but all were GREEN. None were red and ripened. This was an NGSS Phenomenon worthy of scientific investigation – and that is exactly what her class set out to do.
Julie Ogden reports: Our garden was growing tons of tomatoes; but they stayed green throughout the beautiful fall weather. The students were challenged to research why this was happening. They discovered that the cool end of August and the fall temperatures under 75 degrees, while stopping the tomatoes from ripening, had nevertheless allowed for their growth. Another unusual seasonal event - a frost over the 4 day weekend – offered another opportunity. Once the students understood that a frost would cause the tomatoes to burst, they wanted to find a way to save them. They decided to harvest them and find a way to use them. This crossed over into our Social Studies class as we researched early colonist survival and how so much valuable food would never have been wasted. We harvested a little over 42 pounds of green tomatoes (Beefsteak, cherry, and plum). The students took home many of them and sent back recipes for pickles, salsa, jams, soup, and breads. We couldn't taste everything because of allergies; but many of the dishes looked delicious.
The students researched ways to ripen the tomatoes. They came up with (1) pulling out the whole plant and hanging it upside down. (Hence the dirt and leaves from the garden to my classroom), (2) placing the tomatoes on a sunny window sill, (3) placing them in a brown bag with a banana or apple. The brown bag method did not work very well. Data were collected, but results were mixed. Hanging the whole plant was a close tie to the windowsill method; but the whole plant ripened a little better. Taste testing was then scheduled.
The Taste Test was a surprise. Although the tomatoes from the window sill and whole plant looked good, the kids said they had no flavor. The winner was the tomato in the bag with the apple. Recipes for cooking tomato soup and pickled cherry tomatoes, however, worked very well with green tomatoes. Recipes upon request!
Several Real World scenarios emerged from this study; weather impact, crop abundance, changing the science plan and modifying crop yields. These young farmers created a happy ending in the long run.
NJSTA received the following information from Circa Interactive.
Computer Science Education Week starts on December 4. The week aims to raise awareness of the need to bolster computer science education around the world by encouraging teachers and students to host computer science events throughout the week. These events can include teacher-guided lesson plans, participating in the Hour of Code, watching computer science videos, or using your own resources to help inspire interest among students. Here are a few computer science resources that were just published by renowned universities. These resources can provide K-12 students with valuable information about different career fields that an interest in computer science can lead to, from education and health information management, to electrical engineering.
Circa Interactive is a digital marketing agency in higher education.