The extra time you’re afforded during the summer provides the perfect opportunity to review the many science teaching resources that are available online. The NSTA website, in particular, offers a number of valuable gems to help teachers with everything from professional development to formulating lesson plans. Because the NSTA website offers so many resources for teachers, we’ve highlighted here a few of our hidden treasures.
For All Visitors to the Website
Some NSTA web resources have been around for many years. One of these is an activity bank from the Association’s Scope, Sequence, and Coordination (SS&C) project from the early 1990s. The SS&C activities were developed by teachers around the country to meet their individual needs and help them move toward a more Standards-based curriculum. Although a few of the activities need minor updates for today’s students, most have stood the test of time. Explore these resources at http://dev.nsta.org/ssc.
NSTA also has grant-funded resources in two key curricular areas—the nervous system and the science of energy. The Nervous System Guide (www.nsta.org/nerves) provides interactive animations of how nerve cells and tissues function, as well as updates on spinal cord injury, epilepsy, and Parkinson’s disease. The Science of Energy (www2.nsta.org/energy) contains a library of resources, interactive simulations, and activities to help students practice good decision-making on energy issues.
The Toshiba/NSTA Laptop Learning Challenge was an award program that rewarded K–12 educators for their innovative uses of laptop computers. Although the program no longer exists, we have available 20 valuable lesson plans demonstrating how laptop computers can be used to engage students in hands-on learning of science and mathematics. These lesson plans can be found at www.nsta.org/programs/laptop.
If you are writing curricula over the summer, NSTA Recommends, the association’s ever-expanding database of teacher-reviewed trade books and instructional materials, is the “go to” place. There are now nearly 2,000 reviews of recent publications in this searchable system, online at www2.nsta.org/recommends.
For NSTA Members and Subscribers
NSTA members can browse articles that were published in the NSTA journals from 1996 to the present. Simply click on the grade-level icon on the main page—www.nsta.org—and then scroll down for the current issue’s Table of Contents. You will see a link for the Journal Archive to the left of the Table of Contents. The archives can be browsed by issue or Standards area, or it can be searched by keyword.
For a nominal fee, users can access NSTA’s SciGuides—user-friendly, web-based guides that provide links to teacher- and student-friendly core content, inquiry, and aligned-assessment websites. The SciGuides (http://sciguides.nsta.org) also include narratives from teachers who describe how to use the guides and the Standards with which they are aligned.
If you are stumped about a question or need a good idea, there’s no better company than your fellow NSTA members (www.nsta.org/community). The NSTA website also features forums for each grade level, along with groups that discuss books or controversial issues. You can simply post a question, and someone is sure to answer. If you know of or are looking for resources dedicated to teachers in grades preK–2, check out NSTA’s newest online venture at http://science.nsta.org/earlyyearsblog.
NSTA’s website is a natural resource full of science teaching treasures. Take the time to explore the website this summer—what you’ll find online will give you a head start in the coming year.