Science education news and updates from around the state and region.  


January 2015 Issue


You have received this email because of your involvement in science education reform efforts in the OESD 114 region.  Every month we will provide a round-up of the latest information related to state and national standards and assessment matters as well as other relevant information related to science education reform efforts from around our state and region. If you are not interested in receiving the Science Matters newsletter please see the unsubscribe button at the end of this message.

Ambitious Science Teaching Unveils New Website
Videos-Tools & Community 

The folks at the University of Washington have recently updated their online suite of Ambitious Science Teaching tools and resources. 

What is Ambitious Science Teaching?

Great teaching can be learned. This web site provides a vision of ambitious science instruction for elementary, middle school and high school classrooms. Ambitious teaching deliberately aims to support students of all backgrounds to deeply understand science ideas, participate in the activities of the discipline, and solve authentic problems.

Read more about Ambitious Science Teaching here

Science Matters Monthly Updates

I have been writing the Science Matters Monthly Science Education Updates since December of 2012. In each and every edition I link to relevant and timely news features and research articles directly related to supporting science educators in the Olympic ESD Region. I draft reference pieces, and quick links to OSPI news and information which I collect from my network across the state of Washington. 

If you would like to subscribe to my mailing list or view past issues please follow this link.

Jeff Ryan- Regional Science Coordinator

STEM Showcase

3rd Annual West Sound STEM Showcase
When: Saturday April 25, 2015
Where: Kitsap Mall, Silverdale
What: A Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Showcase with interactive displays, engineering challenges, informational displays, fun for all!

Information on the Engineering Challenge for each grade level:

Elementary Bridge Challenge Information
Middle School Bridge Challenge Information
High School Bridge Challenge Information



STEM Leadership Institute 
Registration Now Open!

In response to the challenge of increasing literacy in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Washington State LASER developed the STEM Education Leadership Institute. This week-long residential experience is an event designed to prepare schools, school districts or regional teams to develop STEM-focused efforts. With the adoption of the 2013 Washington State Science Learning Standards (or WSSLS, formerly Next Generation Science Standards) educators statewide need support to make the changes implicit in WSSLS.

Important dates for the 2015 STEM Education Leadership Institute:

Application Deadline: April 3rd, 2015
Notification of Teams Acceptance: April 17th, 2015
Dates of Institute: Monday, June 22nd - Friday June 26th, 2015

The application and more information is available on our website:

Beginning Development of the NGSS Assessments

OSPI Science Assessment Update

Washington has joined a collaborative group of states to begin the development of assessments based on the Next Generation Science Standards (known in Washington as the Washington State 2013 K-12 Science Learning Standards). The group work is being coordinated by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). The first step of the collaboration is to develop item specifications based on the Standards. 

Read more here

Other assessment information current state Science MSP:

Short Answer - Scoring Training Videos

OSPI has recently released a series of scoring videos for teachers across Washington State. These videos are focused on one particular released item from the science MSP and provide the learner with a deeper understanding of how items are scored. 

You can access the videos by following this link.


Reading Strategies that Support Students 

Text Dependent Questioning and Citing Evidence from Text
Article Text-dependent questioning
Recently the Teaching Channel has released a great article illustrating some of the common misconceptions about the use of text-dependent questioning with students. As science teachers we all need an increased understanding of how to support our students in reading informational text and especially providing students opportunities to cite evidence from text.

This article provides a quick overview on some of the common misconceptions related to text-dependent questions

To view the resource please follow this link.

Tool for Supporting Students in Citing Evidence From Text
Reading informational text within the context of science instruction is a perfect way for students to gather evidence in constructing an understanding of a science concept. Using that evidence in support of a claim within the context of an argument either in writing OR in speaking is what is called for in the Next Generation Science Standards (Washington State Science Learning Standards 2013) and the Common Core State Standards (Washington State Learning Standards Math/ELA).

Here are two scaffolding tools that can be used to support students in identifying evidence, summarizing, and making claims based on their reading of informational text. 

Drawing Evidence From Text to Support Claims- Secondary 

Drawing Evidence From Text to Support Claims- Elementary


Science Simulations at Concord Consortium

Computer Simulations that Work on Many Platforms

Molecular Workbench provides many interactive computer simulations showing molecular models that dynamically illustrate scientific concepts and allow you to interact with molecules or macroscopic phenomena like pendulums.

Find out more here

High School Evidence Statements

Now Available! 

Do you want further clarity and description on the performance expectations for the high school NGSS standards?

Are you interested in viewing a break down of the science and engineering practices as relates to each and every performance expectation at the high school level?

The NGSS Evidence Statements provide educators with additional detail on what students should know and be able to do. These Evidence Statements are statements of observable and measureable components that, if met, will satisfy NGSS performance expectations.  The high school statements are available now, and the K-8 statements will be coming soon.

Read more about the NGSS HS Evidence Statements


Extended Professional Development Opportunity for K-12 Teachers

The National Park Service Teacher Ranger Teacher (TRT) program is an extended professional development opportunity for educators from K-12 schools to learn about the resources and educational materials available through the National Park Service. 

Find out more about this opportunity

Teacher Professional Learning Opportunity

Naturebridge in Partnership with Pacific Education Institute
Save the date! 

NatureBridge and Pacific Education Institute are partnering to offer a hands-on professional development workshop.  

Spaces are still available for Bringing STEM to the Outdoor Classroom! Gather your fellow teachers and register today!


What: Bringing STEM to the Outdoor Classroom

Offered By: NatureBridge and Pacific Education Institute

When: February 20-22, 2015, beginning 6 p.m. Friday

Where: NatureBridge campus in Olympic National Park

Grade level: K-12 teachers

Cost: $140* includes tuition, lodging, meals, and 14 clock hours  

*Full scholarships available for teachers from the Outer Olympic Peninsula Coast, from Ilwaco to Port Angeles.  Use promo code "PEIscholarship" when registering.



For more information regarding these updates please contact Jeff Ryan at