Dillo Press
Online Volume 8
May 2009

Michael Vu

Michael Vu works with the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. If you've ever attended a workshop led by Michael,
Watch for the Dillo Press and messages from Michael.you know how dedicated he is to education and teaching. He will make an extremely effective President of TCES.

Debora Rang, ESC XIII

Hello from Central Texas. We are currently gearing up for a fun-filled and busy summer. After the excitement of the Midwinter Symposium in Port Aransas many teachers from the area were able to return to school to put into place information from the variety of workshops and activities offered there. We are looking forward to attending CAST 2009 in beautiful Galveston. It looks like a very good line up for the 2009 strand.
Hope to see you there!!

D'Ann Douglas

CAST 2008 has come and gone!

I want to thank each of our presenters for the great presentations at our annual CAST conference. Presenting for TCES were Deborah Rang, Roberta Marshall, D’Ann Douglas and Jennifer Shinners. Each of these presenters had great presentations that were enjoyed by many.

Private Eye, David Melody and Kerry Ruef, presented at our luncheon, which was attended by 75 people. Each attendee walked away with a lesson and a loupe for their classroom. Check out their website for more information on the loupes and how to use them.

The Share-a-Thon was great! Michael Vu and his presenters demonstrated their contributions to our HATS CD prior to the luncheon and I heard many positive comments about their presentations. I thank each of them and particularly Michael who produced the CD. If you don’t have one, you need one! Pick one up in Galveston at CAST 2009.

Thank you to all the people who stepped up to help with the door prizes at the luncheon. Also thanks to all of you who brought or gave door prizes. There were many nice door prizes and many teachers walked away very happy with their prizes. A special thanks to our ticket checkers at the door. Since physical tickets were not given this year our “list checkers” were essential.

TCES had a presence at this past CAST. From our booth to our presentations participants learned about the Texas Council of Elementary Science. As a past president I thank each of you for helping TCES.

CAST 2008 is past and CAST 2009 will be here before we know it. CAST 2009 is in Galveston. TCES has planned an exciting Elementary Strand that we know you will want to attend. Look in the program for these workshops:

• TCES Presents S^5 Super Strategies for Success in Science…Part 2 - Deborah Rang
• TCES Presents Making Science Jump Off the Page - Michael Vu
• TCES Presents Flying Wild with Birds - Mary Anne Weber
• TCES Presents Catching TEKS in 5th Grade Science Camp - Mary K. Seifert
• TCES Presents Armand Bayou Watershed and Water Quality - Heather A. Millar
• TCES Presents Accessing Mercury via MESSENGER - Carol Lutsinger
• TCES Presents Writing Grants with Students to Enhance the Science Curriculum - L’Tunya Bernard
• TCES Presents What is Visible Light - D’Ann Douglas
• TCES Presents Spicing Up Your Delivery of Science Instruction - Jennifer Shinners
• TCES Presents Catch the Tech Excitement! Add Technology to Science Activities - Roberta Marshall

For information about CAST, including registration and housing, go to http://www.statweb.org


Marilyn Cook, Port Aransas

Here is an exciting web site for books that teach science and math through children’s literature. There are many resources for each book and be sure to check out the ebooks. Your school could apply for a grant to use the ebooks.

Here is a review of Henry the Impatient Heron, one of the Spring 2009 titles

Hurry up! Hurry up! Come on and hurry up! Does this ever sound like an adult talking to children you know? Let’s be patient! Does that sound like you? What happens if you aren’t patient? Children can find out in an example while listening to or reading Henry the Impatient Heron. Henry the Heron is always hopping about and even though he tries his best to stand still when asked, he just can’t stand still. This becomes a problem when he has to find food for himself. At the pond he is so excited about seeing all the insects and animals that he looses track of time and also his family. He knows he would have to feed himself but how could he do it? Henry is hungry and tries his best to get food, however he just can’t seem to catch anything to eat. He runs into, literally, a great blue heron that helps him to learn to catch something to eat. This book is a delightful story with whole page captivating illustrations of all the animals that Henry meets along the way. The author has included great blue heron facts, information about wetlands, a heron life cycle matching activity and the web site to find teaching activities that integrate other subjects. Whether living on the coast or inland, meeting Henry helps students learn about the calm fresh water or sea coast habitat as well as how a heron hunts for food. Henry also can provide a model of “learning to be patient” as well as learning about all the surrounding wonders. This book could be used to compare and contrast other habitats where the students live. Also used with the set of bird books by Sylvan Dell students could compare and contrast other birds to Henry.

Deborah Rang, ESC XIII

Students are estimated to have to be exposed to an estimated 88,500 words in print between grades 3-9 (Nagy and Anderson, 1984). Choosing a few key words to focus on provides students with a scaffold for moving through this sea of words. Additionally, rather than having students write and memorize vocabulary definitions, interaction with focus vocabulary should be meaningful and contextual. Teaching vocabulary in this way often provides student connections and ownership to the new words they are learning. In order to allow students to connect with the vocabulary terms in another way, try the following strategy:
-Write two-three terms (focus words) on the board/overhead
-Read each of the words after you write them
-Ask students to repeat the words with you
-Assign each of the words a "special" sound (for example "hooray")
-When students read text or hear the word in class, encourage them to "celebrate" using the assigned sound.

Example- Student term is "matter." Assigned sound is a snap. Every time a student hears, sees, or reads the word "matter" they snap.
So enjoy the snapping and let the celebrations begin.
Reference: Nagy, W., & Anderson, R. C. (1984). How many words are there in printed school English? Reading Research Quarterly, 19, 304-330.


Carol Lutsinger, Area Director South 1 and 2

The elementary TEKS are filled with TEKS that can be addressed through astronomy. If you don’t know what to do with astronomy, this is a perfect time to learn more about it. The United Nations, and many states and cities in the United States have declared 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. This is specifically to mark and celebrate the contributions made by Galileo Galilei and his serendipitous turning of a telescope to the nighttime skies over his head. He discovered “moonlets” surrounding the planet Jupiter and changed the way the world viewed to cosmos.

If you want to know more about astronomy there are numerous websites available via the internet. If you want a human being to help you learn more about it there may be a NASA/JPL sponsored and trained Solar System Educator or Ambassador in your area that you could call upon for assistance. SSE is on the web with cities that have contacts who willingly share information about space missions and astronomy.
Local area astronomy buffs leap at the chance to share the beauties of the nighttime skies with school groups and many larger cities have astronomy clubs that also enjoy presenting star parties and sharing expertise. If you are not aware of any in your area, contact me at Stargazerherald@att.net for information.

As it happens, I am one of those Solar System Educator/Ambassadors, as well as a member of the American Astronomical Society Teacher Resource Agent program and I really enjoy sharing the nighttime sky. If you would like to receive my weekly astronomy newspaper column send me an email to the address above and I will happily send it. The articles are designed for average readers in the sixth grade to understand and are related to what is in the sky for that week.

Astronomy is the oldest science and has connections to TEKS in art through zoology. The constellations are mostly geometric figures that are taught in kindergarten so the connections to math begin for 5 year olds. All the seasons and motions of our planet relate to the Earth’s position in space so there is that connection as well.

Cultural stories abound with science as a basis, which gives a social studies/reading connection. We are including one with this ‘Dillo issue. It has to do with the apparent motion of the Sun along the horizon during the course of a year. If you watch the Sun rise and set during the course of a season in relation to a fixed object such as a utility pole or tree, then you will notice this pattern.

Because the Earth is tilted on its axis 23.5 degrees, and rotates in its axis once every 24 hours and a few minutes, and revolves steadily around the Sun for 365 days and six hours plus a few minutes, the Sun appears to rise slowly from due east and set due west only around the first days of spring and autumn. From the first days of spring it appears to rise a bit north of east each morning and set a bit south of west each evening until the first days of summer. On those first couple of days it seems to stand still (summer solstice-which means “stand still”) and then retreats back to the due east/west points on the first days of autumn. From that date it seems to move along the horizon toappear SOUTH of east in the morning and set NORTH of west in the evening.

This is what causes summers to be hot. The Sun is above the horizon many more hours of the day allowing heating of the surfaces on the planet. In the winter the Sun is in the sky fewer hours of the day, with less heating of the surfaces. Combining the tilt with the amount of heat and light hitting the Earth, voila! Hot summers and cold winters, in either the northern or southern hemispheres.

Now for the southwestern tale of “Why Sun Rises Cautiously” based on a real Native American story but retold my way. Carol Lutsinger, Area 1, 2

Why Sun Rises Cautiously

Now it is night, time to sit and talk about the world in which we live, time to share the tales of those who have gone before; time to listen and think about the reasons for things to be as they are.

In the beginning of time, each morning very early, while the animals were trying to sleep, Sun would leap suddenly into the sky, shine in their faces, and rouse them from their dreams. He would dance around the sky all day, leaping and shouting, and making things so very hot that the animals began to complain loudly,

“My fur is too hot!” howled Coyote.

“My feet are burning!” grumbled Horned Lizard.

“I am thirsty and cannot find water” chattered Cactus Wren.

All of this complaining was too much for Rabbit! He was a loud and boastful fellow and liked to make all the noise and do all the grumbling by himself. He stood up in front of the Council of the Tribe and bragged thusly:

“Tomorrow I myself will go and teach that Sun a lesson! No longer will he dare show his face so early in the sky. No longer will he singe our flesh and take away our water!” vowed Rabbit. Then he marched right out of the Council House to his hogan and began to remove from his quiver all but the most straight and true-flying arrows.
That night as the Sun disappeared into the Land of the Dead, Rabbit sat watching and planning just how he would teach the Sun to respect The People. As he sat, his friends Coyote, Horned Lizard, and Cactus Wren came and sat beside him, also thinking thoughts to help their friend. Together they decided to rise early the next morning and stand on the mesa where the Sun came leaping into the sky. Rabbit was to be ready with his best arrow nocked in the bow and let it fly just as Sun leaped.

And so it was, as the Moon and his sister, Morning Star were the only things in the sky, Rabbit and Coyote climbed to the mesa top to wait. Carefully Rabbit placed the base of the arrow against the tough sinew bowstring and he p- u- l -l -e -d back the string v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y and carefully, holding it taut against his right ear until...THERE, there were the fingers of the Sun! Rabbit let go the bowstring and the arrow flew straight where he had seen Sun rising the day before! And the arrow flew right on by, while Sun laughed because he had come into the sky just a little bit to the side of where he had come up the day before.

The next morning the four friends again went to the mesa to wait. Rabbit took out another arrow and placed it in his bow, ready to shoot. He carefully aimed his arrow toward the spot where Sun had leaped into the sky the day before. Just as Sun leaped, Rabbit let his arrow fly! Coyote howled his encouragement, Wren sang a warriors song, and Horned Lizard danced a straight flying dance, but this time the arrow fell again to earth without striking Sun.

Rabbit was very embarrassed and angry as well, He jumped up and down in his anger. Coyote howled in frustration; Wren chattered loudly; Horned Lizard raced away to sit under a cool rock and collect his thoughts. But Rabbit was not discouraged. He vowed to try again the next morning.

Now the friends had been watching while Rabbit was shooting and they noticed that the Sun moved just a bit farther along the horizon this day as well. When they told Rabbit what they had seen, he decided to aim just a little bit ahead of Sun to see what would happen.

The next morning the friends again rose early and walked in the cool morning breeze to the mesa. Once again Rabbit took an arrow from his quiver and nocked it into the bowstring, slowly pulling back on the bowstring and holding it taut, and aiming just a bit ahead of where the Sun had risen the previous morning. At the exact moment that Sun leaped, Rabbit let the arrow fly, and true it flew, right SMACK into the right side of the Sun!

At once fire began to bleed from Sun and fall towards the Earth, and Rabbit! Rabbit began to run for his life across the mesa! Frantically he called to Yucca Tree, “Help me! Hide me! Save me! I have shot the Sun and Fire is chasing me!”

“Oh, no,” sighed Yucca Tree. “I cannot help you, for if I do that fire will burn me too!” And Yucca Tree kept herself straight and tall.

Rabbit raced on, with fire close on his heels. In the distance he saw a creosote bush and called out desperately, “Creosote! Creosote! Help me! Hide me! Save me! I have shot the Sun and Fire is chasing me! It will surely burn me if you don’t!”

“Oh, no, Rabbit,” whispered Creosote Bush, “for if I do that fire will burn me too!”

And Rabbit raced on, with Fire close on his tail. As Rabbit was nearly exhausted, he saw, far away, a small cactus plant rising out of the sand. He managed to gasp out “Cactus! Help me! Hide me! Save me! I have shot the Sun and Fire is chasing me! It will surely burn me if you don’t!”

Now Cactus was a kind-hearted soul, even if he was prickly with thorns all over him and he called out, “Come quickly! I will protect you with my thorns! Dig a hole at my feet and Fire will not find you!”

Gasping in exhaustion, Rabbit used his last ounce of energy to dig furiously at the base of Cactus to make just enough space for himself. Rabbit managed to get in, just as Fire raced over the top of Cactus, not seeing Rabbit under the thick green feet of Cactus. As Fire raced on across the prairie looking for Rabbit, he burned it into desert that is still desert today after all this time.

Rabbit crawled shakily out from the hole at Cactus’ feet and thanked Cactus for rescuing him. Modestly, Cactus replied, “That is what kind beings are for, to help people in need. Even though I did not know you and you did not know me we are still friends in this place and our children will be friends forever.”

That is why, from that day to this, Rabbit has become a shy timid fellow, hiding from danger, often under a cactus. If one looks closely, the dark streaks where Fire singed Rabbit can be seen between his ears because the hole was not quite deep enough for all of Rabbit to hide in.

And that is why Sun carefully lifts his head above the horizon and slowly peeks around the edge of the Earth before lifting himself into the sky where he slowly makes his way across the safe path in the sky. And why Rabbit seeks shelter underneath the prickly pads of the cactus during the heat of the day.

Sun Shadow Data Sheet
Location:__________________ Date:__________ Site Latitude:________________ Site Longitude:______________ Gnomon height: __________ cm; ________mm
Data Collection Team Members:
Predict the motion of the shadow: Clockwise or counterclockwise?
Time Shadow Length in cm. Shadow Length in mm.
H+0 Beginning    

Draw a sketch of the motion of the shadow. Show north. Use arrows to indicate the direction of the motion.

What did you learn from this data?

What do you notice about another team's data?

What observations or questions do you have now about solar motion?

* Plot the position of the sun at sunrise and/ or sunset along the horizon weekly for several months.
* Research the terms "equinox" and "solstice" and then prepare a classroom presentation related to the research.
* Research Medicine Wheels, Chaco Canyon, or some other archeoastronomical site.

Solar Motion/Tracking Shadows
Materials needed:
(1 per team) 1000 ml graduated cylinders (OPTION: Golf tees or new pencils and clay to hold them, but not as effective to track shadow lengths)
(1 per team) Metric measuring tape in plastic bag to keep it clean
Several pieces of sidewalk chalk per team in plastic bags
Directional compasses
Log book or data sheet copies with pencils to write observations

Find out the latitude and longitude of your site by going to the US Naval Observatory website. Gather materials and distribute them as you choose. On a sunny morning take students outside to set up their research sites. It is important to select an area that will be sunny for several hours. Readings should be repeated at regular intervals throughout the day.

Assign teams to work together to set up gnomons and trace shadows and collect the measurements. Separate the groups so that they have a wide area in which to work. A concrete surface works best. If that is not available, using golf tees stuck in clay on a small sheet of notebook paper could be used, but the shadow lengths are not as easy to discern.

Team members should take turns tracing JUST THE OUTLINE of the gnomon shadow.

To set up: Go to assigned area. Set gnomon with spout of cylinder pointing north. Trace the base of the cylinder and the initial shadow OUTLINE ONLY. Do not color it in. Write the time in the space of the shadow. Record the data in the data chart.

TEACHER NOTE: The shadow will be seen to move within a couple of minutes. It is extraordinary to observe this. As students make their observations draw them into conversations to elicit it is actually Earth rotating on its axis. Astronomy with a Stick website is filled with details for you to learn more about this or contact McDonald Observatory for more information.

Continue recording data throughout each class period. Use the data from each class the following class periods to get students to work with data, develop understanding of how important data collection is and discuss why there are differences in the data. There will be significant differences due to care taken drawing, measuring, etc. They will think it is because their setups were in different places but that is NOT the case. Classroom follow up discussions are critical to this lesson.

See the story connection about “Why Sun Rises Cautiously” if you are not sure about why this happens. Feel free to email me for clarification at stargazerherald@att.net Thank you Carol for this valuable contribution to the e’Dillo.

Celebrate the International Year of Astronomy 2009
Here is the education link from the IYA with many resources.
This NASA web site has many resources for your study. http://astronomy2009.nasa.gov/
The Lunar Planetary Institute in Houston has excellent resources as well.

NOTE: If you have lessons that you would like to share with other TCES members please email them to me: Marilyn Cook, mjcook@paisd.net

Christina Cid, Region 12, 13 and 20

Interested in learning more about geology, paleontology and Texas biodiversity? Then join the Texas Natural Science Center in Austin, Texas this summer in our free teacher training workshops in which you will explore how animals are adapted to varying environments, investigate how paleontologists use fundamental principles to recreate what life was like in Texas’ past, and learn how to integrate these concepts into your classroom. Workshop participants will be able to check out a Texas Fish and Mammals Loaner Kit. Workshop dates: June 30, July 14, July 22, and July 30. For more information or to register for the session, please contact Laura Naski at 512.232.5506 or lauramn@mail.utexas.edu.



Activities for Earth Day -- and Every Day
Go to www.planetpals.com for more than 350 pages of educational materials. Coolorful cartoon Planetpals teach children about our planet and solar systen. You'll find ideas for celebrating Earth Day. Included are lesson plans and activities on ecology, recycling and climate change.

Science Fair Help
Teachers and styudents will find a collection of science fair materials at http://www.ScotchScienceFair.com. You will find more than 100 project ideas, timelines and checklists for coordinators and participants, suggested judging criteria, and coupons for Scotch-brand products often used to create displays.

Celebrate the Year of Science - Theme: Sustainability and the Environment
“ Why are we celebrating Sustainability and the Environment?
Sustainability represents a way of thinking, living, and acting, to ensure that our choices do not impact future generations' ability to enjoy a high quality of life. This means being good stewards of the earth, good citizens in local and world communities, and sharing resources with human and natural populations. “ (from the Year of Science web site) http://www.yearofscience2009.org/home/

Fun Zone for the Year of Science click here: http://www.yearofscience2009.org/themes_sustainability/fun-zone/

Understanding How Science Really Works
This site is an excellent resource for science in real life. It is easy to use and you may find it very helpful. Click here to begin “understanding how science really works”. http://undsci.berkeley.edu/

“ One Big Ocean to Sing About”
Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears has an ocean song for you to hear and also information about Ocean Literacy. http://expertvoices.nsdl.org/polar/

NOAA Ocean Service Education
Click here for some excellent web resources about estuaries from NOAA: http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/pd/estuaries/welcome.html
Click here for NOAA’s education page: http://www.education.noaa.gov/

Why is NOAA conducting research on lionfish? Click here to find the answer: http://www.noaa.gov/question.html

The Bridge
has a newly designed web site. Click here to check it out for all of your marine science needs: http://web.vims.edu/bridge/?svr=www

Polar Husky Adventure Learning for the K-12 Classroom Go North!
Although the huskies have been on the trail click here to find out what they are doing: http://www.polarhusky.com/