Student Opt-Out of dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture or otherwise harm or destroy animals or any parts thereof as part of a course of instruction
from Michael Heinz,
Science Coordinator. Office of Standards, New Jersey Department of Education
With the start of a new school year, it is an opportunity to gently remind educators of New Jersey Statute 18A:35-4.25. In short, the law requires that a student be offered an alternative to dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture or otherwise harm or destroy animals or any parts thereof as part of a course of instruction. The law has been in place since 2005. The complete Statute is below.
18A:35-4.25 Refusal to participate in certain school activities related to animal dissection , etc.
2. a. A public school pupil from kindergarten through grade 12 may refuse to dissect, vivisect, incubate, capture or otherwise harm or destroy animals or any parts thereof as part of a course of instruction.
b. A school shall notify pupils and their parents or guardians at the beginning of each school year of the right to decline to participate in the activities enumerated in subsection a. of this section and shall authorize parents or guardians to assert the right of their children to refuse to participate in these activities. Within two weeks of the receipt of the notice, the pupils, parents or guardians shall notify the school if the right to decline participation in the enumerated activities will be exercised.
c. Any pupil who chooses to refrain from participation in or observation of a portion of a course of instruction in accordance with this section shall be offered an alternative education project for the purpose of providing the pupil with the factual knowledge, information or experience required by the course of study. A pupil may refuse to participate in an alternative education project which involves or necessitates any harmful use of an animal or animal parts.
d. A pupil shall not be discriminated against, in grading or in any other manner, based upon a decision to exercise the rights afforded pursuant to this act.
(1) Webinar: How Do You Measure Equity in a Science Classroom?
Achieve hosted a webinar in July for the 50 State Science Network about how we can use data (beyond state assessments) to move toward more equitable science classrooms. Dr. Deb Morrison of the University of Washington shared her work on Practical Measures, which provide a way to measure both activity in the classroom and how students experience that activity. This allows teachers and leaders to gather data about some of the more difficult-to-measure indicators laid out in NASEM's recent report, Monitoring Educational Equity. These student surveys can provide actionable data about student engagement with learning phenomena, connections to science practices, perceptions of science, and frequency of particular actions in the science classroom. Parallel teacher surveys can also be distributed to see potential differences in perception of activities and experiences in the science classroom. STEM Teaching Tools will soon be releasing an Implementation Guide for Practical Measures.
(2) Upcoming Webinar: Using the NGSS to Change Worlds
Join Achieve's Matt Krehbiel and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers for a webinar - Using the NGSS to Change Worlds - on Thursday, September 12 at 4 p.m. ET. Matt will discuss how the NGSS and similar standards based on the research of the Framework for K-12 Science Education provide a unique opportunity for science educators to change their world and the worlds that their students perceive. He will also share resources that Achieve has developed in the past year as part of ongoing efforts to support educators in their efforts to bring three-dimensional science education to their students. You can register for the free webinar here.
(3) Summer Slow Book Chat on Twitter
TJ McKenna of the University of Connecticut and ngssphenomena.com is hosting a slow book chat on twitter this summer about How We Teach Science, a book by John Rudolph, which examines the history of science education, what's changed, and why it matters. Join the hashtag #HowWeTeachScience twice a month on Twitter to follow the conversation or participate in the online book club. If you're interested in another book study targeted to science educators, check out this opportunity to read and discuss How Climate Change Comes to Matter.
(4) Blog Post: Modeling How Students Can Share Ideas and Make Sense of Phenomena
Aaron Mueller, a science educator in Naperville, Illinois and member of Achieve's Science Peer Review Panel, writes on the NSTA Blog about the importance of building student confidence in sensemaking in the beginning of the year in a science classroom. He emphasizes creating an atmosphere where students feel comfortable sharing their ideas, are unafraid of saying the "wrong" thing, actively engage in discourse, and have ownership in their own science learning.
(5) Equitable Access to Science Education in California
The California Science Teacher Association released a paper that details the challenges of bringing equitable access to science education to all California students. The paper includes information about student needs and barriers to equitable access, teachers' needs to improve practice in support of underrepresented students, why district and school leaders must make equitable access to science education a top priority, and ends with providing recommendations for school district administrators and principals to move their science programs toward providing equitable access to all students.
(6) Back to School: Resources Reminder
As we gear up to begin another school year, don't forget about these great resources that are freely available to support high-quality, three-dimensional science learning!
(7) From Education Week: Don't 'Steal the Aha' From Science Instruction
Check out the response from Linda Tolladay, a 30-year secondary science teacher from California, to Larry Ferlazzo's question of the week: What are the biggest mistakes made in science instruction and what should teachers use instead?
"Teachers need to create lesson sequences in which students first connect with a phenomenon and then are provided with opportunities to explore and explain pieces which lead to a coherent understanding of that phenomenon. This is vastly different from the world of science lectures followed by a confirming lab that epitomized the science learning experiences for many of us currently teaching science. But it is a shift that makes all the difference for students."
Download the “best of the best,” Editor’s Picks from the spring 2019 “Earth Science Sites of the Week” mailing.
Categories exist for Geology and Geography, Weather, Water, Space, Environment, General, Demos, and Humor.
Central Michigan University
Don't miss the recording of Reaching All Students in Science, a 30-minute equity-focused webinar presented by Achieve's own Vanessa Wolbrink. In the webinar, Vanessa dives into four key features of equity in the classroom: relevant and engaging phenomena, asset-based thinking, student agency and identity, and accessibility.
STRAWS is an educational and inspiring 30-minute documentary film that highlights the devastating levels of straws and other plastic pollution in our waterways and oceans and provides accessible solutions for students and families. Comes with NGSS/STEM/STEAM lessons. The plastic straw issue is a gateway into issues around all plastic pollution, the harm it does to marine animals, how fossil fuels are used to create plastics, and solutions/actions for the students.
Visit the website for more information:
NJSTA members can receive 20% off using the code NJSTA20 when checking out on our website:
A few weeks ago, EdReports released its first middle school science reviews. It took us more than a year to get these reports out the door, but our educator reviewers invested that time because we know how important a high quality, standards-aligned curriculum is for our students and their futures.
As an EdReports content specialist, and science educator for two decades, I recognize that the Next Generation Science Standards are a big shift for the field. Our reports are designed to empower educators with information and evidence to guide their practice—but diving into a report can feel daunting at first.
We want to help. Check out this short guide made to accompany our science reports. In it we highlight three ways to identify if you’re using high-quality science materials in your classroom.
We know that instructional materials are not the silver bullet. But we also know that materials can make a difference in what and how students learn. We hope you’ll share these tips with your colleagues and join the #materialsmatter conversation on Twitter or Facebook.
We look forward to hearing from you!
EdReports Science Content Specialist
One of the major shifts--and common buzzwords--for science assessments is "phenomena." When we asked teachers and researchers to dive into tasks and identify what characteristics in assessments set students up to demonstrate three-dimensional performances, we heard loud and clear that phenomena are one of the most critical features of three-dimensional assessments. What is the role of phenomena in assessments, and why does this matter?
Here's what our experts found:
The Achieve Team
Wonder Science launches streaming channel for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV
Mobile App available for iOS
Also on YouTube and wonderscience.com
Wonder Science® launches a streaming channel, website and mobile app with a mission is to stimulate fresh interest in science among viewers who typically steer clear of educational programming.
During its initial release, early adopters can download Wonder Science for free across all platforms.
The channel is targeted to audiences looking to relax and unwind by introducing a new form of science media—a way to zone out to science. Episodes run from 6-minutes to 6-hours, employing a simple formula that blends mesmerizing visuals with music. The combined effect transports viewers into an alternate reality—filled with brilliant gems, industrious ants, bizarre microorganisms, and psychedelic sound waves.
Wonder Science shows frequently present a microscopic perspective on nature and technology, uncovering worlds within worlds that are all around us but normally unseen. The use of optical, confocal and electron microscopes draws attention to the huge import of small things.
"Wonder Science is like an educational lava lamp," says Danielle Parsons, Wonder Science Founder and CEO. "We keep experts off-screen, because we want to encourage each viewer to form their own direct, unmediated connection with science. By not imposing information, we create enough space to allow people's natural curiosity to kick in."
When that curiosity inevitably sparks, viewers can choose to watch narrated versions of shows and dig deeper into topics on the website. Programs exploring biology, chemistry, physics, and geology have already been incorporated for use in college classrooms. But if viewers want to use Wonder Science as a sleep aid, or as a backdrop at a party, that works too.
Music is fundamental to the experience of Wonder Science. The company collaborates with electronic, synth, and indie artists to create the original soundtracks accompanying many programs. Contributing musicians include Ariel Pink, KRON, Stuart Price, El Tigr3, and Füxa.
The channel takes inspiration in part from the growing Slow Movement, which now permeates almost every area of life—from cooking to fashion to cinema—advocating a cultural shift toward slowing down. Wonder Science episodes unfurl patiently through long shots of video and animation. Instead of a 10-second clip of a microbe, viewers can observe the creature's behavior over 10-minutes.
Content is produced in-house and sourced from scientists worldwide. On original productions, Wonder Science joins forces with prestigious universities like Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Caltech, UCLA, and institutions abroad. Though its website, Wonder Science invites academic, industry and citizen scientists, as well as science artists, to contribute edited and raw footage for potential inclusion on the channel.
"We're thrilled to enable academics to reach new audiences with groundbreaking science," says Parsons. "Over the long term, we are focused on building a unique repository of rare and amazing science visuals from around the world."
Today's News from Achieve
Do you remember your science tests growing up? For so many of us, they were disconnected from the things that were important to our lives as students. When assessments don't matter to students, students don't put their best thinking forward. The whole point of science assessments is to provide feedback that can help students meet their science learning goals and we can't do that if we don't provide students with the opportunity to show what they know and can do in compelling, positive ways.
When student assessments shift toward performances that value the ideas students bring to the table, we learn more about student learning. During the task annotation process, we paid close attention to how assessments support the diverse students who may be responding to the task--and how that impacts what we can conclude about student progress. As it turns out, many of the same features that promote equity and fairness also ensure that assessments can elicit useful information from students including:
The Achieve Team
Share the suite of task resources and join our conversation on Twitter!
Tell us what it looks like when assessments support all students--and how does that change what you learn about students in your classrooms? Tag us in your response!
Learn More »
"Know the Bear Facts" education seminars are free of charge and available to municipalities, schools, homeowner associations, civic and environmental organizations and a variety of other audiences.
Program attendees learn all about the history and biology of the Garden State's largest land mammal, black bear research, and get common-sense tips on how to react if a black bear is encountered. The seminar also provides simple precautions that residents should take to discourage bears from entering a property, and how to react if a black bear is encountered.
The Division also offers educational publications about New Jersey’s black bears and for educators, the “Understanding Black Bears" K-8 Classroom Curriculum, all free of charge.
To inquire about scheduling a bear education seminar, or to receive bear publications, please contact Michelle Smith at (609) 259-6961 or Michelle.Smith@dep.nj.gov
For more information about black bears, visit www.state.nj.us/dep/fgw/bearfacts.htm
NEON is releasing two new films that may be of interest to NJ Science Teachers
APOLLO 11 the cinematic event 50 years in the making is exclusively in IMAX for one week only, starting Friday, March 1. Crafted from a newly discovered trove of 65mm footage, and more than 11,000 hours of uncatalogued audio recordings, Apollo 11 takes us straight to the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission—the one that first put men on the moon, and forever made Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin into household names. Immersed in the perspectives of the astronauts, the team in Mission Control, and the millions of spectators on the ground, we vividly experience those momentous days and hours in 1969 when humankind took a giant leap into the future. Don't miss seeing this spectacular movie on the biggest screen possible.
Educator Curricula and two classroom activities available for download here.
WATCH THE TRAILER
The Biggest Little Farm, John and Molly Chester’s inspirational tale of leaving the big city to as they attempt to build a farm completely in harmony with nature – planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and bringing in animals of every kind– including an unforgettable pig named Emma and her best friend, Greasy the rooster, will open in theaters across the country on May 10th. But schools and community groups will have a chance to see the film early in theaters at advance preview screenings taking place at participating theaters starting in April. Thanks to a generous donation by student and community groups with limited resources have the opportunity to apply for FREE TICKETS to attend these special advance screenings.
Learn more about the Education Program and how you can inspire conversation and hands-on engagement around the themes in the film including, reconnection with nature, soil, and food and regenerative sustainable farming with your students. Find more information about the program and sign-up on our website here: https://www.biggestlittlefarmmovie.com/education-program/
WATCH THE TRAILER
Travel to Mars, discover mysterious small worlds in space and decipher the science of astrobiology – learn and explore together with Infiniscope, NASA and Kahoot!
Finding Your Roots—The Seedlings
A new curriculum based on Henry Louis Gates' popular PBS genealogy series Finding Your Roots was inspired by the enthusiasm and creativity of students who attended the first Finding Your Roots Genetics and Genealogy Camps. The new curriculum supports the Next Generation Science Standards.
The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change
Published by the Paleontological Research Institution, this 294-page book for high school Earth and environmental science educators addresses basic climate change science and offers perspective on teaching a subject that has become socially and politically polarized.
Learning Problem Solving and Growth Mindset in a Makerspace
This video features elementary learners working in a makerspace, along with teacher commentary and a discussion of the benefits of project-based learning from leading education researchers.
Find more resources on NSTA's Freebies for Science Teachers web page.
NGSS@NSTA Classroom Resources
Check out these NGSS@NSTA Classroom Resources vetted by NSTA teacher curators. This week's focus is engineering.
Introduce the STEM teachers in your district to an innovative NGSS-aligned program for grades 5-12 that uses the results of highway safety research to give students a hands-on understanding of core STEM concepts.
The IIHS in the Classroom website is designed to help students explore the science behind what happens in a car crash — both to the car and to those inside it — and discover why some vehicles are safer than others.
Developed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) together with award-winning science educator Griff Jones, Ph.D., the website features engaging, interactive resources to enhance lessons on key STEM concepts and practices.
Learn more: https://classroom.iihs.org/
Comments or questions: email@example.com
from NSTA | Endangered Species!
Engage your students in a captivating journey into a world of never-before-seen images of artists and activist's intent on exposing issues of endangered species, climate change, and the next mass extinction on the planet. Based on the eco-thriller and award-winning documentary film Racing Extinction, from Academy Award-winning director, Louie Psihoyos, and his team at OPS (Oceanic Preservation Society).
Download FREE Educational Curriculum here.
Mark Francek from Central Michigan University regularly shares interesting science sites, especially earth science sites. He has put together a "best of" list.
You can download the Word document now.
Contact Mark directly in you want to be added to his distribution list.
On December 4 the White House issued a five year strategic plan for STEM education based on the vision that "all Americans have lifelong access to high-quality STEM education and the U.S. will be the global leader in STEM literacy, innovation, and employment."
To achieve this vision the report presents three goals that stakeholders should follow:
Goal 1: Build Strong Foundations for STEM Literacy
Goal 2: Increase Diversity and Inclusion Through Broader Access to STEM
Goal 3: Prepare the STEM Workforce for the Future.
The report includes a strategy for how federal agencies should plan, coordinate, and scale up their programs for STEM over the next five years and includes solid recommendations that STEM stakeholders in states and districts nationwide can follow and emulate. Read the report here.
FREE STEM Teaching Tools Just a Click Away
Looking for highly-usable Open Education Resources (OER) that will support STEM teaching? The STEM Teaching Tools website—funded by the National Science Foundation--is a research and development initiative of the University of Washington Institute for Science+Math Education.
From The MIT Press
Picturing Science and Engineering
More about the book: mitpress.mit.edu/books/picturing-science-and-engineering
Photographer's website: www.felicefrankel.com/
It’s Not Easy Seeing Green: The Complexities of Color Blindness | Bryan Kett | TEDxPasadena
NJSTA received this from the speaker: We hope you find it of interest and useful.
My name is Bryan, and I am a former science educator from Chicago. Over the past year, I had the privilege of writing (and rewriting and rewriting) a TEDx talk on the complexities of colorblindness. In it, I delve into the genetics behind the condition as well as the social and philosophical implications of perspective--a valuable insight for students and staff alike.
This talk embodies my years as an educator and serves as a valuable tool for any science educator to use in their classroom, and I wanted to share it with the NJSTA. You can see the talk here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdNN5GrD5cM
If you're at all interested, please feel free to disseminate the talk however you see fit. I'd be happy to talk more and help facilitate anything however I can.
Thank you for all you do. It matters a great deal.
Hope you’re having a wonderful day! I’m reaching out on behalf of National Geographic’s inspiring documentary SCIENCE FAIR. We would love to connect with New Jersey Science Teachers Association to share this inspiring film directly with teachers and community members for free during our November screening tour!
Hailed by critics as “immensely likeable,” “brilliant and quirky” and an “ode to the teenage science geeks on who our future depends,” SCIENCE FAIR follows nine high school students from around the globe as they navigate rivalries, setbacks and, of course, hormones, on their journey to compete at The International Science and Engineering Fair. Watch the trailer here.
If you’re interested in free DVDs and educational materials, please fill out this Google Form and we’ll get back to you shortly: http://bit.ly/ScienceFairScreening. Feel free to pass along our email to other colleagues nationwide - we’re really excited to share this opportunity. Also, if you’d like a preview link of the film, please let me know and we’re happy to coordinate.
From Arizona State University:
I wanted to share a project from Arizona State University and the National Science Foundation that may be of interest to you and your readers, especially around the season for Halloween and “spooky science.”
In honor of the bicentennial anniversary of Frankenstein, we created Frankenstein200, a free, interactive blended learning experience that uses Mary Shelley’s classic tale of monsters and mayhem as a way to engage the public around STEM topics and the ethical challenges of emerging technology.
The experience features an episodic online story game paired with fun, hands-on science activities related to robotics, genetic engineering, and electricity. By teaching a robot how to draw, experimenting with simple machines, or even bringing their own “creature” to life, learners can encounter the same questions Mary Shelley experienced when writing her most famous novel, while developing important 21st century skills of their own related to exploration, discovery, and critical thinking.
These materials are adaptable to home, in class, or after-school activities and can be scaled to individual, small group, or full classroom-based lessons. We were very excited to have Frankenstein200 featured in School Library Journal and Science Friday and hope you will find these resources useful for your community of students and educators.
In celebration of National Chemistry Week (NCW) AACT is sharing a collection of cross-disciplinary resources that make connections between chemistry and this year's NCW theme, Chemistry is Out of this World.
Activity: Aliens Activity
Activity: Planet P-10
Activity: Electromagnetic Spectrum Book
Demo: Emission Spectrum from a Candle Flame
Lab: Mystical Fire Investigation
Demo: Flame Test (Rainbow Demo)
Activity: Chemistry is Out of This World
Activity: The Universe of Elements
Lab: Mass of a Gas
Lab: Build a Spectroscope
Lab: Spectral Detective
Lesson Plan: Alien Invasion
Lab: Rocket Challenge
Lab: Alka Seltzer Rockets
National STEM Competition Looking For Teachers Like You to Join #eCYBER19!
NSTA is proud to administer eCYBERMISSION, a web-based STEM competition for students in grades 6-9. Guess what? No registration fee! As a community-based STEM program students are encouraged to explore how STEM positively impacts the world around them. We are looking for teachers, like you, to participate as Team Advisors. eCYBERMISSION fits well into classroom curriculum and meets state science standards. Don't miss our early registration deadline on November 21. All students registered to a team by this date receive a FREE STEM Kit. Registration closes in December and projects are due in February. All students who submit a project are recognized for their accomplishment and compete for state, regional and national awards.
eCYBERMISSION is sponsored by the U.S. Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP) and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).
Registration is easy. Please visit eCYBERMISSION.com today! Please direct registration questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-GO-CYBER (462-9237).
Students help Fred (a gummy worm) reach a life preserver (a gummy candy shaped like a life preserver) inside his capsized boat (an upside-down clear plastic cup) without falling off, using only four paper clips, and no hands!
FunScienceDemos—and Support Pages
These short science demos depict core science ideas students need to know before high school and support the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). A companion site—FunScience Support—offers resources to help teachers extend learning and deepen students' science understandings.
The Science of Baking
This infographic offers simplified explanations of the science of how and why common baking ingredients transform into cookies, cakes, and other baked goods. Teachers can use this visual guide to help students understand what happens during the baking process.
Find more free resources on NSTA's Freebies for Science Teachers page.