Category Archives: biology

First Foods

I recently took an online course that featured this thoughtfully designed interactive article by the Seattle Times on First Foods. The article clearly describes Indigenous “First Foods,” which refers to the traditional and culturally significant foods of Native peoples in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The website showcases the efforts of Native communities to preserve and revitalize their food traditions, which are deeply intertwined with their cultural heritage and way of life.

The site features stunning visuals, stories, and interviews with Native individuals and communities who are working to protect and restore the availability of First Foods. It highlights the challenges they face due to factors like climate change, habitat loss, and environmental degradation. The website also discusses the importance of these foods not only from a cultural perspective but also for the health and well-being of Indigenous communities.

The article provides insights into the traditional knowledge, practices, and stewardship that Native peoples employ to ensure the sustainability and resilience of First Foods. It explores the collaborative efforts between Native communities, tribal governments, scientists, and conservation organizations to address the threats to these foods and implement conservation strategies. The article ultimately aims to raise awareness about the significance of First Foods and the ongoing efforts to preserve and protect them for future generations.


Ocean Tracks

Ocean Tracks is an educational website that provides interactive maps and visualizations of oceanographic data to help people learn about the movement and behavior of marine animals. The website allows users to track the movements of tagged animals such as sea turtles, sharks, and whales, as well as view oceanographic data such as temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll concentration.

Ocean Tracks also includes lesson plans and activities for educators to use in the classroom. The website aims to increase awareness and understanding of ocean ecosystems and the animals that inhabit them. I can imagine this being a great source of data sets to engage with SEPs Analyzing and Interpreting Data and Using Math and Computational Thinking in the domain of life sciences. Definitely worth checking into and adding to your bookmarks. See the short video embedded below.

It’s a Tradition: Survive the Sound- Enter Soon!

In many classrooms around the Pacific Northwest (and beyond) participating in Survive the Sound has become an annual tradition. Survive the Sound is a website that aims to raise awareness about the survival of endangered salmon species in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The website allows users to adopt a salmon and track its progress in real-time as it attempts to navigate through a virtual obstacle course that simulates the hazards that salmon face in their natural environment. The website also provides educational resources about salmon conservation efforts and encourages users to take action to protect these important fish species.

The migration starts May 1st so assemble your team now for some friendly competition. And yes- there are prizes!

Film: DamNation | The Problem with Hydropower

Dam Nation: The Problem with Hydropower is a free 90 minute film that discusses the history and impact of dams in the United States. The video highlights the fact that there are 75,000 dams over three feet high in the United States, which is equivalent to building one every day since Thomas Jefferson was the President of the United States. The film also discusses the environmental impact of dams, including their negative impact on salmon runs and water quality. An argument is made by the filmmakers that hydropower cannot be marketed as green energy because of the environmental damage caused by dams. The video also discusses the history of dam failures, including the St. Francis Dam failure in California in 1928, which killed over 400 people. It feels like this film could provide an opportunity to connect with NGSS human impact standards and to also provide an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in an authentic engineering design issue by considering multiple solutions and stakeholders.

Invitations to Inquiry (Free Secondary Science Supplements) Video Blog

Invitations to Inquiry by BSCS is a set of nicely-designed mini-units that provide thoughtful ways for secondary students to engage in the practice of analyzing and interpreting data. Below is a screencast where I provide a quick overview of the materials.

Other Links and Resources:

UW Climate & Environmental Justice FREE Course & Resources

Philip Bell and Nancy Price have shared a graduate course they taught at the University of Washington on Climate Justice and Environmental Justice in Education during winter quarter 2021. The entire course has a nicely organized Google Site built to tell the story of the learning. You will be able to walk through the 10 sessions using the embedded slides, readings and videos. There is a nicely organized set of Resources used as well as a Wakelet that organizes many other Climate Justice resources.

In order to get a good sense of the course before digging in, I recommend checking out the following:

  • About the Course: This gives you a 1-page overview with guiding questions and key resources
  • Course Readings: Scroll over the page to get a preview of the sessions. Pay attention to the quotes and session titles
  • Projects: Preview the projects that small groups of graduate students engaged in

I can imagine this resource being used in multiple ways:

  • Work through the sessions independently as a learner
  • Assemble a small group of colleagues and collaboratively move through the course together
  • Harvest important resources for your own learning and work
  • Use this as a model for teaching your own course or unit on Climate and Environmental Justice

WA STATE: FREE Middle School OpenSciEd Workshops

This is a short post to help publicize this FREE middle school science professional development opportunity for teachers in Washington State sponsored by ClimeTime and the WA ESD Science Coordinators. OpenSciEd are FREE OER science instructional materials that were specifically designed for engaging students in the Next Generation Science Standards. Even if you already have other new middle school science instructional materials it can be very helpful to learn about the OpenSciEd units as you will deepen your understanding of best practices and equitable strategies in science instruction.

There are workshop on 3 different units being offered this winter. Click on the unit topic below to register for the professional development.

PS- there are also remote learning adaptations available for the OpenSciEd units. Check them out HERE.

WA STATE: Climate Justice League Workshop Series

Here in Washington the state K-12 teachers have a cool opportunity to join an ongoing workshop series on Climate Justice. Plus you get to join a group that sounds like a combination of the Justice League and Captain Planet and the Planeteers... The Climate Justice League!

Who: This is designed for any K-12 teacher in WA and is lead by Puget Sound ESD, Northwest ESD 189 and ESD 112 in partnership with Washington Green Schools.

What: members will receive support to develop learning opportunities to share with students around issues of social justice through the lens of climate change. Participants will be expected to work on lessons, deliver learning to students and bring student work samples to the final meeting.

Where: It’s all online via Zoom!

When: four 2-hour Zoom meetings:

January 12, 2021

February 2nd, 2021

March 10, 2021

April 27, 2021

Why: Learn about social justice related to climate, get resources (A People’s Curriculum for the Earth), collaboration, $480, and clock hours

How: Check out the registration information below!

Check out the Climate Justice League flier HERE.

If you are interested you can register FREE HERE.

Video: Travel Deep Inside a Leaf

Back in the day (or a couple of years ago) I used to post lots of cool science videos on this site. I got away from that in order to focus on more “important” science education resources. Well- I think it’s time to start sprinkling in some fun science videos again. So here we go. This is not a brand new video but it is cool. Here is Travel Deep Inside a Leaf courtesy of California Academy of Sciences. Feels like it could be useful for high school biology and thinking about Scale, Proportion, & Quantity.

Phenomena & Units for Environmental Justice

There is still room at this impactful upcoming event in the South Puget Sound Region. See below for description and registration link.

The Bethel School District and the Puyallup Watershed Initiative are partnering to offer this 2-day workshop on Phenomena & Units for Environmental Justice.

Title: Phenomena & Units for Environmental Justice.

Location: Graham-Kapowsin High School

Dates: June 25 & Aug. 22 , 2018 (8:00 – 3:30)

Presenters: Lia Wetzstein, Emily Pinckney, Tom Hathorn


●  Inspire students with local phenomena and problems that matter to their community.

●  Support student aspirations toward STEM-related careers.

●  Integrate NGSS PEs about humans in relation to the environment (LS2, LS4, ESS2, ESS3).


●  MS & HS Science Teachers (all subjects), Administrators

●  School Districts in the South Sound LASER Alliance

What: Day 1

●  Meet & study local environmental justice issues → Analyze the systems & who’s affected.

●  Unpack natural & human structures → How did things get this way? What keeps it stable?

●  Use the NGSS engineering cycle (D-D-O) → Solving environmental problems = engineering .

●  Discover & use local STEM issues → Use students’ interests & cultural-community practices.

●  Begin planning → Activities or small units that utilize local phenomena or problems.

What: Day 2

●  Share emerging units → Give & get ideas.

●  NSTA resources for teaching controversial topics → See opportunities & pitfalls.

●  Use students’ voices → Guide the dialogue & discussions.