Take the Challenge! District 75 Rubber Band Car Racer

Take The Challenge: Build a car that goes really fast and really far, oh, by the way, your power source is a rubber band. Through a series of hands-on activities, students will design a rubber band powered car in order to explore position and motion. Students will experiment with car design in order to identify how different aspects of technological design will affect the distance the car travels. Students will conduct scientific inquiries in order to measure how changes in the car’s design affect the distance traveled. This all culminates in a District 75 Rubber Band Racer Car Challenge! Do you have what it takes? If you need assistance, please contact the STEM Department at District 75 or Denis Kogan at dkogan@schools.nyc.gov (Please see flyer for full list of rules).

Rubber Band Racer Challenge

Modification for Instruments and Tools Used in the Science Laboratory Setting for Students with Disabilities

Done by our very own:

A Proposal: Modification for Instruments and Tools Used in the Science Laboratory Setting for Students with Disabilities

The purpose of this action research proposal is to create a Modification of Instruments and Tools in Science (MITS) program to address the need for providing Students With Disabilities (SWDs) appropriate access to scientific tools and techniques of scientific inquiry. This proposal contains a review of literature on SWDs, differentiating instruction to meet individual student need, evaluation and survey tools on levels of student accessibility to tools and technology, and science education requirements. In order to appropriately evaluate students, the author developed a Skills Checklist for MITS in addition to combining an already existing Levels of Accessibility Matrix (LAM) system and Student Learning Survey (SLS) recommendations. The Skills Checklist for MITS and LAM/SLS were constructed from modifications to–and hybrids of–similar Evidence-Based Practice tools used by the Assistive Technology Evaluation Unit in District 75, Plourde and Klemm’s (2004) Levels of Accessibility Matrix (LAM) system, Boone and Higgins’ (2007) “Software v-List,” and Tzu-Chi, Gwo-Jen, and Jen-Hwa’s (2013) recommendation for taking into consideration multiple learning criteria, including learning styles, cognitive styles, and knowledge levels, for developing adaptive learning systems. In addition a logic model for the project was developed (see appendix). This proposal supports research on how to provide SWDs with appropriate access to instructional equipment and tools used in science by providing a method for their modification.


Step up to the #STEMchallenge: Show Us Your Best Science Lessons

Create a STEM Lesson Flow aligned with NGSS for a chance to win a $2,000 Amazon gift card!

We’re excited to announce our first #STEMchallenge, a call to innovative science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educators everywhere to create and share their most inspiring and awesome Lesson Flows.

Thanks to the Carnegie Foundation, the educator with the best Lesson Flow will win both fame and fortune: a whopping $2,000 grand prize and promotion on the Graphite blog, Twitter, and newsletter.

Every Lesson Flow will be evaluated by our panel of expert judges who will be looking for high-quality, creative, and innovative lessons that showcase edtech and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This means lessons that get students doing real science — letting inquiry drive deep conceptual learning experiences, making and interpreting models, and experimenting. STEAM approaches integrating art and design are encouraged!

Submission Guidelines


  • Begins Sept. 22, 2015 at 11 a.m. PST and ends Oct. 19, 2015 at midnight PST
How to Enter:
  • Sign up for a free Graphite account
  • Create a Lesson Flow
    • Include “#STEMchallenge” somewhere in the summary
    • Include at least one tech tool that’s on Graphite
    • Align the lesson to at least one NGSS standard and tag it using the Lesson Flow tool
  • Optional: Tweet “I’ve entered my chance to win the @Graphite #STEMchallenge contest” with a link to your Lesson Flow.

There’s no limit on how many Lesson Flows you can enter, but only one grand prize will be awarded. Existing Lesson Flows will be accepted, but they must meet the requirements (e.g., you’ll need to go back into the Lesson Flow and align to NGSS standards). It’s recommended, but not required, that you create a new Lesson Flow specific to this challenge.

  • $2,000 Amazon gift card
  • Winner will be announced on Oct. 26, 2015 on the Graphite blog


Graphite Certified Educator Mentors

  • Stephanie Elder, National Board Certified Teacher and Science & Technology Instructional Specialist at Flint Community Schools
  • Barbara Huth, National Board Certified Science Teacher at Mooresville High School
  • Denis Kogan, Science Coach for District 75 (NYCDOE) and 2014 Math for America Master Science Teacher
  • Darlene Painter, Digital Learning Coach and Robotics and ASB Advisor at Vista Innovation & Design Academy
Graphite Expert Reviewer
  • Emily Pohlonski, National Board Certified Science Teacher at Novi Community Schools and 2015 Michigan Educator Voice Fellow

Helpful Resources

Official Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Void where prohibited.

Promotion open to any individuals of legal age of majority (where they reside) at the time of entry, excluding employees of app/game/website developers referenced in the Lesson Flow submitted.

You may enter by (1) Creating an account on Common Sense Graphite, (2) Writing an original Lesson Flow with a STEM focus, including #STEMchallenge in the summary, and (3) (optional) tweet “I’ve entered my chance to win the @Graphite #STEMchallenge contest” with a link to your Lesson Flow.

Entries may be submitted from 11:00 a.m. Pacific Time on September 22, 2015 until 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on October 19, 2015.

There is one (1) grand prize available to be won (the “Prize”), which is a one (1) Two Thousand Dollar (USD $2,000) electronic gift card to www.Amazon.com. The total approximate retail value of the Prize is USD $2,000.  Please note that the gift card awarded will be in United States Dollars, regardless of where the winner resides. The Lesson Flows  will be judged by both employees of Common Sense Graphite and other independent judge(s) on the basis of quality, creativity, and pedagogy as well as adherence to the challenge requirements.

This Promotion is a skill-based contest and chance plays no part in the determination of the winners.

The Promotion is sponsored by Common Sense Graphite. (the “Sponsor”), located at 650 Townsend Street, Suite 435, San Francisco, CA 94103.


Opportunties at the Environmental Study Center

ESC in conjunction with the Office of Library Services are looking for teachers to apply to participate in curriculum writing and delivering professional development for our grant. 
For more information:
In addition – we are looking for two part-time Instructional Implementation Specialists.
High School:
Environmental Study Center
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NASA’s Digital Learning Network Event — Live Video Chat: So You Want To Be A Martian

NASA’s Digital Learning Network Event — Live Video Chat: So You Want To Be A Martian

As NASA prepares for humans’ first steps on Mars in the 2030s, it is important to understand what is fact versus fiction about living on Mars. On Thursday, Oct. 1, 2015, NASA’s Kennedy Space Center will conduct a Journey to Mars Education Event called So You Want to Be a Martian. There will be a curated panel discussion with NASA experts, including a scientist and an astronaut.

Join the discussion by asking questions of NASA experts and The Martian stars through NASA Education’s Digital Learning Network. A representative from NASA will moderate questions during the program.

Submit questions via Twitter using #AskNASA or via email starting Sept. 24, 2015, to DLiNfochannel@gmail.com.

The 90-minute event will be webcast on the NASA DLiNfo Channel on Oct. 1, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. EDT.

For more information, visit http://dln.nasa.gov.

Please direct questions about this event to DLiNfochannel@gmail.com.

PBS LearningMedia Master Teachers Program has spaces left!

There are still spaces left in the Fall PBS LearningMedia Master Teachers Program for math teachers in grades 3-8: <https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-qPAN6asO7fGo1K9PU_8AVGpQHOiSJdSKrQxWKuLhnY/edit?usp=sharing>

Apply now <https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2301136/IPPDApplicationFall2015>.  The workshop is on Thursday, October 29, 2015. Applications  are due 5 p.m. Friday, September 25, 2015.


First to-scale Solar System model built in seven miles of desert

The universe, as Douglas Adams so memorably explained, is big. Really big.

But so are the things inside it — even objects like the Solar System, which on a galactic scale are absolutely minuscule.

A new project by Wylie Overstreet and Alex Gorosh, spotted by Sploid, sought to explain just how vast our local neighbourhood of planets, dwarf planets, asteroids and comets really is, by building the first scale model of the solar system with complete planetary orbits. To do it they had to go to a dry lakebed in Nevada, and first build a model of the inner planets to a scale of 1 astronomical unit (AU, or distance from the Sun to Earth) of 176 metres. They then repeated this for the outer planets, and drove around each of the paths at night with a light.

The result is a time-lapse video that shows each of the orbits in motion, to scale, for what the film-makers claim is the first time in the real world. They also produced a seven minute film which is poignant, precise and inspiring, putting our solar backyard in true perspective for the first time.

Of course other models of the Solar System — or bits of it — do exist to scale. On the web there are several, perhaps most notably this illustration which represents the distances between the planets if the Moon were only the size of one pixel (get ready to scroll, a lot).

The film-makers have more details about the project at their respective websites, but WIRED encourages you to watch the whole film — it’s quite spectacular. Not unlike the Solar System itself, in fact.

Mayor Announces Computer Science In All Schools! Want to get a head start?

Hello Everyone!

Mayor De Blasio announced a plan to have a Computer Science taught in all schools, grades K-12, within the next 10 years.  Would you like to get a head start?  Then you should sign up for the Coding Curriculum / Computer Science Fundamentals Curriculum workshop.  The workshop will cover Code.org’s Elementary School Curriculum and how you can use the free resources in any classroom, after school program or club.

We are offering three sessions at district75pd.org:



12/8/15 (Perfect for the Hour of Code)




If you are unable to attend during the week there are also several Saturday sessions available throughout Manhattan, including this Saturday 9/19:

9/19/15 @ Thinkful

Thinkful, 304 Hudson Street, Fl. 5 Suite 505, New York, NY 10013

10/3/15 @ ThoughtWorks
ThoughtWorks, 99 Madison Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10016

10/17/15 @ ThoughtWorks
ThoughtWorks, 99 Madison Avenue, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10016

11/14/15 @ General Assembly
General Assembly, 915 Broadway New York, NY 10010

12/5/15 Location TDB

Additional information about the Mayor’s announcement:



If you have any questions please email:

Lionel Bergeron (LBerger3@schools.nyc.gov)

District 75

Technology Coach