The Monarch Butterfly

When we learned about populations using the monarch as a phenomenon, my 7th graders were convinced our class was haunting them; "Seriously Mrs. Richard, I'm seeing them EVERYWHERE". So many of my favorite classroom moments involve the monarch; students coming back hour after hour to see if a butterfly had emerged from it's chrysalis, Emily's family coming to a tagging event and knowing she is now at K-State training to be a conservation agent, having students rewrite "The Hungry Caterpillar" and then talking about how monarchs have flown to space as a consideration for how we pollinate the food on the moon. Friends, it NEVER fails, a monarch stops me in my tracks and makes me think of the keystone moments in my classroom.

As you likely have heard, the monarch Butterfly is now listed on the endangered species list. Despite Gabby coming back and making a way station for her girl scout gold project, and the thousands my students tagged... the monarch is endangered; and on so many levels... it's not ok. I'm not sure it if will ever be ok again... but, we've got a chance. I fully recognize that I wasn't in the classroom last year friends, I acknowledge that this back to school season hits a little different but just like the butterflies... there's a chance for this new season of school. There's a lot of opportuntiy to connect and collaborate in this newsletter, please feel free to opt in when you can but know that I'm here to support you at any point. We've got a chance and we are better together... one at a time.

Monarch Watch Tagging Event (Free event) -Meg
Saturday, September 17, 2022
Baker Wetlands Discovery Center
Lawrence, Kansas


Safety First

The Council of State Science Supervisors (CSSS) in conjunction with the safety professionals at Flinn Scientific Inc., updated the former CSSS safety documents into digital formats and modernized these three individual resources (2021) for use by educators across the USA. These are recommended to be posted on your district’s science intranet site for ready access by all your Science Teachers and staff. (Link) Did you miss the session on "Cleaning up Chemical Cabinets" watch the recording on the left.

Upcoming Professional Development

Collaboration Meetings- BACK TO SCHOOL!

Additional PD

  • Elementary Science Standards 101
    Are you looking for ways to make your literacy and math blocks come to life? Bring in some science! During this session we will take a dive into the standards and look for how to connect the standards document across the content areas.

  • August 23th, 4:30 pm (Zoom Registration Link)

Did you know monthly PD sessions are recorded? Find recordings here: (Link)

Call for Content

Are you doing something amazing in your classroom that you would like to share with others? Please submit ideas to to be showcased in the "Content Corner" next month.

Regional Professional Development Communities

Along with our KSDE Science Teacher Leader Team we are VERY excited to be offering quarterly regional professional development meetings. Each meeting will consist of a morning of typical professional development followed by an afternoon to workshop.

Session Descriptions

Quarter 1

Title: Science Regional PLCs- 1st Quarter, Anchoring Science with Student Driven Discussions

Description: During this regional PLC, KSDE Teacher Leader TBD will offer a deep dive into our science standards by providing strategies to help anchor lessons in phenomena and student questions. The morning will provide a scaffold and the afternoon will provide support for implementation in specific classrooms with collaboration from those in attendance.

Quarter 2

Title: Science Regional PLCs- 2nd Quarter, Navigating Science Shifts and Supporting Students

Description: During this regional PLC, together we will offer a look into how to navigate and change lessons with the "navigation routine" from our standards. This will help participants to see how the Science and Engineering Practices can be used to assess student understandings and build future curiosity. The morning will provide a scaffold for this approach and the afternoon will provide support for implementation in specific classrooms with collaboration from those in attendance.

Quarter 3

Title: Science Regional PLCs- 3rd Quarter, Investigating Routines and Rigor for Science

Description: During this regional PLC, together we will introduce participants to the investigation routine from our standards framework and walk through how it can help to determine appropriate rigor for our students. The morning will provide a scaffold for this approach and the afternoon will provide support for implementation in specific classrooms with collaboration from those in attendance.

Region 1 (Registration)

K-State Olathe
(Click for Location)

Quarter 1 - September 28th, Register Here: LINK
Quarter 2 - November 16th, Register Here: LINK
Quarter 3 - February 20th, Register Here: LINK

Region 2 (Registration)

Smoky Hill Education Service Center
Click for Location)

Quarter 1 - September 23rd, Register Here: LINK TBA
Quarter 2 - November TBD, Register Here: LINK TBA
Quarter 3 - February 20th, Register Here: LINK TBA

Region 3 (Registration)

Fort Scott Community College
(Click for Location)

Quarter 1 - September 19th, Register Here: LINK
Quarter 2 - November 14th, Register Here: LINK
Quarter 3 - February 20th, Register Here: LINK

Region 4 (Registration)

ESSDACK Regional Service Center
(Click for Location)

Quarter 1 - September 21st, Register Here: LINK
Quarter 2 - November 16th, Register Here: LINK
Quarter 3 - February 20th, Register Here: LINK

Region 5 (Registration)

Northwest Kansas Educational Service Center (NKESC)
(Click for Location)

Quarter 1 - September 20th, Register Here: LINK TBA

Quarter 2 - November 15th, Register Here: LINK TBA

Quarter 3 - February 20th, Register Here: LINK TBA

Region 6 (Registration)

Southwest Plains Regional Service Center
Click for Location)
8:30-3:30 pm
Quarter 1 - September 19th, Register Here: LINK
Quarter 2 - November 13th
, Register Here: LINK
Quarter 3 - February 20th
, Register Here: (TBA)

Save the Date!

Multi Section Meeting of
Association of Physics Teachers

Save the date: April 15, 2023 for a multi-section meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers. Contact: for additional information

Elementary Science Specific

What is the James Webb Space Telescope?

The James Webb Telescope send back amazing images all summer long! Help our littlest learners get an idea of what these images are and how they were taken by using NASA's Space Place. This resource from the education branch of NASA provides quick descriptions using the Cross Cutting Concepts that are perfect for helping your students reach for the stars! Visit: (LINK)

Kansas Science and Engineering Fair

While the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have implemented 8 Science and Engineering Practices; we know that there is still merit in students (especially elementary students) going through opportunities to discuss and conduct scietific thinking. Did you know that Kansas has a Science and Engineering Fair that happens every spring? Science fairs are a great opportunity to promote cross curricular learning as students write their reports and practice their speaking and learning skills. It is also a GREAT opportunity to build their elementary IPS portfolios. Learn more about the Kansas fair here (Link) and please reach out if I can help with this in any way.

Biodiversity Detective

Excite young learners (grades preK–2) about studying nature and science discovery with Biodiversity Detective, a short activity from KidsGardening. In the activity, students explore a garden (or other available green space) to find signs of life at four height levels: tall plants and flying organisms, eye level, ground level, and beneath the soil. Students record tally marks or draw pictures of the different organisms they see. The activity includes questions to prompt student discussion, on everything from determining characteristics of that make something alive and analyzing the roles of the organisms found in the green space to defining ecosystem and developing understandings about the relationships living things have with one another and how needs are met. Learn more here (Link) .

Secondary Science Specific

Seeing the Unseeable: Imaging Black Holes with the Event Horizon Telescope Webinar

Black holes are astrophysical objects with such strong gravity that nothing can escape them, not even light. In the past few years, the Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration produced the first images of two supermassive black holes using a network of telescopes around the world. These images allow us to test our theories of gravity and plasma physics in the universe’s most extreme environment. Join us to learn more about these images.

All individuals receive a certificate of participation and 100 NSTA activity points for attending the live seminar and completing the end-of-program survey. A certificate of participation is not awarded for watching the recorded version of the program.

Date: Thursday, August 25th, 6pm

STEAM: Using Paint to Teach Stoichiometry and Solutions

During this American Association of Chemistry Teachers webinar on September 8, a chemistry teacher will share key components of a unit design that uses paint as a framework to learn stoichiometry and solutions. The unit uses three main checkpoints to weave the paint theme throughout before culminating in a lab experience in which students make their own paint to use in a class mural. Attendees will be introduced to the flow of this unit, as well as the format of each checkpoint activity and the final lab component. Advance registration is required. Learn more here (Link).

Experience EPI’s methods for teaching field science as you conduct hands-on conservation research during these eight-day fellowships. Fellowships are open to formal and informal educators worldwide who teach in any subject area. EPI’s curriculum is appropriate for middle level, high school, or university educators. EPI funds most of the fellowship costs. Choose from the Baja Teacher Fellowship (March 4–11, 2023), the Winter Yellowstone Fellowship (March 4–11, 2023), or the Costa Rica Teacher Fellowship (April 22–29, 2023). (Deadline September 1) Learn more here (Link)

Transforming Science Learning: Evaluating Lessons for Sensemaking Using the NSTA Sensemaking Tool

The NSTA Sensemaking Tool (adapted from the research-based NGSS Lesson Screener) is designed to help educators be critical consumers of curricular materials as well as create and/or revise science lessons to reflect the instructional shifts (sensemaking) required by new standards. Join us to gain experience using the tool and facilitating criteria-based consensus conversations with colleagues. All individuals receive a certificate of participation and 100 NSTA activity points for attending the live seminar and completing the end-of-program survey. A certificate of participation is not awarded for watching the recorded version of the program.

Date: Wednesday, August 10th, 6:30 pm

Additional Opportunities

From Outside of KSDE

Beetles - The Coleopterists Society Grants / Awards

Youth Incentive Award

The Coleopterists Society, an international organization of professionals and hobbyists interested in the study of beetles, has established a program to recognize young people studying beetles. The Society has pledged to provide up to $1200 each year for the Youth Incentive Award Program. The Junior award is a monetary grant of $400 and the Senior award is $800. In addition, award recipients will each receive a one-year subscription to the society journal, The Coleopterists Bulletin

This is for children of grades 7-12 only.

The objectives of the Youth Incentive Award are to:

  • provide encouragement and assistance to young beetle enthusiasts (grades 7-12).

  • promote the study of beetles, the most diverse group of insects, as a rewarding lifelong avocation or career.

  • provide opportunities for young people to develop important life skills such as leadership, cooperation, communication, planning and conducting a scientific study, grant writing and managing funds.

  • provide some financial support to enrich activities or projects.

A Youth Incentive Award Committee from the Coleopterists Society will evaluate the applications and will select up to two winners annually; one each in junior (grades 7-9) and senior (grades 10-12) categories. The selection committee invites proposals for topics such as field collecting trips to conduct beetle species inventories or diversity studies, attending workshops or visiting entomology or natural history museums for special training and projects on beetles, studying aspects of beetle biology, etc. The proposed activities or projects will be evaluated on their degree of creativity, educational benefit to the applicant, scientific merit, feasibility and budgetary planning. This Award is for proposals by individuals only. Each applicant is strongly encouraged to find an adult advisor (teacher, youth group leader, parent, etc.) to provide guidance in proposal development, but the proposal MUST be written by the applicant. The Coleopterists Society would also be happy to assist in establishing contacts between youth and professional Coleopterists.

Additional details and application forms for The Coleopterists Society Youth Incentive Award Program can be obtained from: Dr. David G. Furth; Entomology, NHB, MRC 165; P.O. Box 37012; Smithsonian Institution; Washington, D. C. 20013-7012 (phone: 202-633-0990, FAX: 202-786-2894, email: Also check The Coleopterists Society WebPage:

Applications for this year must be submitted by 1 November 2022.

Call for EdReports Reviewers - High School Science

EdReports is a non-profit organization with a mission to empower educators with independent, credible, evidence-rich information about instructional materials to ensure students have what they need to be college and career-ready. They are accepting applications for reviewers for inaugural high school science review beginning in early April 2022.

Who is EdReports looking for? EdReports is a by educator, for educator organization. Currently, classroom educators, district specialists, state specialists, non-formal educators, retired educators, and those pursuing advanced science education degrees participate in reviews. The profile of a science reviewer includes expertise in the Next Generation Science Standards and a commitment to quality instructional materials.

What can I expect if selected to be a reviewer? EdReports plans to review five biology NGSS programs in the inaugural review. If selected, you will sit on a team of five reviewers who will be examining one set of materials with the support of EdReports’ science team. Reviewers can expect the following:

  • New teams will begin with an in-depth training in April

  • Each reviewer spends about 5-10 hours per week throughout the process, including attending a one-hour virtual call with their team

  • A second event may be scheduled approximately halfway through the review to continue calibration and to provide cross-review team support for the inaugural high school reviews

  • Reviews are expected to be completed late 2022

  • Reviewers receive a host of benefits including more than 25 hours of professional development, a stipend per series reviewed ranging from $1,750 - $2,500 depending on the role you play on a review team, opportunities to learn with national experts in the field, and much more.

How do I apply? Visit EdReports’ website to learn more about becoming a reviewer and complete an application or apply now [HERE]. Once you apply, an application task will be sent requesting demonstration of your NGSS knowledge. Following receipt of the application task, EdReports will schedule a 30-minute interview to learn more about you and share more about the upcoming review.

Distance learning - Yellowstone National Park

Teachers, even if you are too far to bring students on a field trip to Yellowstone, we can help you use the world’s first national park to bring science, math, and social studies to life!

Classrooms can connect with a Yellowstone National Park ranger to learn more about geology (geysers, hot springs, volcanoes), ecology (wildlife, predator/prey, fire, habitats, adaptations), or cultural history, and the National Park Service mission of preservation. Your class can learn about careers by interviewing a park ranger or solve a geography challenge to determine where the park ranger works by participating in a “Mystery” meeting. We work with teachers to offer a 20-40 minute live program that meets your needs.

If you have a group of ten or more youth and want to participate, you will need a computer, tablet, or device with webcam, internet connection, and access to a video conference platform.

To schedule a Yellowstone distance learning program, contact us with information about your group and a proposed date and time (converted to MOUNTAIN Time). MOUNTAIN Time is two hours behind Eastern, one hour behind Central, and one hour ahead of Pacific.

Yellowstone rangers have much to share with students around the U.S. and world and look forward to connecting with your class.

Learn more here: (Link)

Let’s Talk about Teaching Environmental Science! PD Series

Let’s Talk about Teaching Environmental Science!

Free professional development workshops for K-12 teachers and environmental educators

Join us for a series of short workshops presenting online resources for teaching concepts in the Earth & environmental sciences, portrayed through the lens of the critical zone. The critical zone is Earth’s outer skin from treetop to bedrock - a constantly changing place where rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms interact. The featured free educational materials have been developed with teaching and learning in mind and are aligned with national education standards. Each session will include presentations, content demonstrations, and networking among participants. Completion certificates are available upon request.

August 4th @ 2:00-3:30 pm (Eastern Time Zone)

Water in the Critical Zone: Hands-on activities for students to monitor water movement in the environment and examine the effects of human modifications to watersheds.

Register here:

August 11th @ 2:00-3:30 pm (Eastern Time Zone)

Climate Change in the Critical Zone: Hands-on activities for students to measure the impacts of climate change in local communities and emphasize mitigation strategies.

Register here:

Education staff from the Paleontological Research Institution and its Museum of the Earth ( have developed these teaching materials and will lead the workshops. This series is sponsored by the Critical Zone Collaborative Network (, with support from the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Voyager 45th anniversary headlines 2022 Galaxy Forum

Let’s Talk about Teaching Environmental Science!

The little spacecraft that could—Voyagers 1 & 2 (launched in 1977 with 470 watts of power to investigate Jupiter and Saturn)—still can. Long past flybys of all four gas giants, and still sending messages in 2022. On this, their 45th anniversary they are 12 and 14.5 billion miles from Earth--marking them as “Humanity’s Most Distant Explorers.”

The history of these two marvels comes to the free 2022 Galaxy Forum at the Cosmosphere on Saturday, August 27 from 1-3 p.m. Todd Barber, NASA JPL senior propulsion engineer, will inform us. The native Wichitan has worked on missions such as Cassini, the Mars2020, Deep Impact, and Dawn ion propulsion missions as well as Voyager.

Following Voyager, this free event will fast forward to this summer’s space activities.

With the purpose of providing teachers with timely information to illustrate to students the interdependence of Science, Engineering and Technology in space exploration, other topics at will be:

“DART—A Targeted Mission”—the attempt by NASA to redirect an asteroid, given by physicist Dr. Paul Adams of Fort Hays State University

“Summer Around the Moon”— focusing on three moon orbiters being launched as R & D for the 2024 return to the moon, given by Steve Durst, space journalist

“Mars Update” by KU PhD candidate Sarah Lamm and

“Interstellar Seminar” course opportunity by Dr. Mark Schneegurt, WSU. Find speaker bios here

This event is FREE and open to both students and teachers. Attendance certificate available. The Cosmosphere is at 1100 N. Plum, Hutchinson. The event is August 27 from 1-3 p.m. Geared for middle school on up. To reserve a seat, email

Attend in-person (will have materials) or virtually on Ad Astra Kansas Foundation facebook

This event is sponsored by the Ad Astra Kansas Foundation, a 501c3 organization focused on space science and STEM education in Kansas. This is the 14th annual Galaxy Forum.

Contacts: Jeanette Steinert,, 316-722-3503