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This issue of the elementary edition of Science Class features the theme Nature of Science. Please tell us what you think of the issue by using the Feedback link on the left of Science Class or by sending an e-mail to us at enewsletterfeedback@nsta.org.

If you have a text-only browser or are having any difficulties accessing our links, please visit http://science.nsta.org/enewsletter/2005-10/member_elementary.htm.


The nature of science involves the basic values and beliefs that make up the scientific world view, the ways scientists go about their work, and the general culture of the scientific enterprise. Regardless of their area of expertise, scientists are trying to improve their understanding of the material world, and they share a common understanding of scientific inquiry. According to the Atlas of Science Literacy, scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant evidence, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected evidence. Helping your students examine the processes through which scientists gain knowledge about the world is an important step in learning about the nature of science.

Nature of Science in the News

Article summaries provided by the NSTA WebNews Digest (visit http://www.nsta.org/mainnews for national news for science educators).

Stories selected for this issue discuss the work of a former molecular geneticist and a forensic anthropologist.

Visit http://science.nsta.org/enewsletter/2005-10/news_stories_elementary.htm to learn more.

Nature of Science on the Web

In this month's elementary journal, Science and Children, NSTA members can read "The Human Side of Butterflies." The link to that article is http://www.nsta.org/gateway&j=sc&n=51037.

SciLinks is a web-based service from NSTA that provides online content chosen to augment printed articles and books. It does so through keywords; the keywords for this issue are

Nature of Science: http://www.scilinks.org/retrieve_outside.asp?sl=9263562111101055

NSTA knows how busy you are, so the editors of Science and Children have put all of the links from the October issue in one place. To access the links, visit http://science.nsta.org/enewsletter/2005-10/elemlinks.htm.

NSTA Journal Articles on Nature of Science

Click here to read more:


Books, Books, Books

To read about the Nature of Science in NSTA Press and NSTA Recommends books, visit http://science.nsta.org/enewsletter/2005-10/books_elementary.htm.

To read about the newest titles available from NSTA Press, visit


To receive the latest NSTA catalog for your specific grade level, visit


Professional Development

Science Program Improvement Review (SPIR)

SPIR is NSTA’s new initiative to help teachers and administrators assess—then strengthen—the science instruction being provided to their students. SPIR is a standards-based strategy that culminates in a comprehensive written assessment of a school's or district’s science instructional program as well as recommendations for improvement as needed.

NSTA-trained and certified SPIR reviewers will work with school or district teachers and administrators to align their science instruction more closely with state and national science standards for teaching, professional development, assessment, content, and program.

For more information, visit http://www.nsta.org/spir.

Initiatives Target Math, Science Instruction

Two new initiatives designed to increase the number of science and math teachers in America made headlines recently. IBM plans to financially back employees leaving the company to become science and math educators, and the Department of Education is teaming up with TechNet as part of the Teacher-to-Teacher initiative, a program that offers educators professional development and research-based strategies. To read more about these initiatives, visit the following links.

IBM to Encourage Employees to Become Math and Science Teachers

New Programs Support Teacher Success

Global Science Teaching

An Invitation for Our International Colleagues

Any international visitors to our Anaheim convention are invited to submit a proposal to present a session. To view the invitation or to obtain the proposal form, visit http://science.nsta.org/enewsletter/2005-10/international.htm.

Students Prepare to Launch Homemade Satellite

A microsatellite built largely from donated parts in university workshops across Europe will be launched soon. The Student Space Exploration Technology Initiative Express is about the size of a small washing machine. Constructed by more than 400 students from 23 universities in 12 countries, the spacecraft will take photographs of Earth, test a cold-gas altitude control system, and function as a radio transponder for amateur radio operators. To read more, visit Space.com at http://space.com/businesstechnology/050921_techwed_sseti.html.

NSTA Opportunities

NSTA Symposia

These face-to-face professional development opportunities at NSTA conventions are half-day, standards-based programs designed to enhance educators' scientific content and pedagogical practices. Presenters include scientists, engineers, and educational specialists from NASA, as well as renowned NSTA Press authors. Six exciting programs are scheduled to take place this fall at NSTA area conventions. For more information and to register visit http://institute.nsta.org/symposia.asp.

NSTA Web Seminars

These 90-minute live professional development experiences use online learning technologies to allow participants to interact with nationally acclaimed experts; NSTA Press authors; and scientists, engineers, and education specialists from NSTA government partners, such as NASA and NOAA—all from the convenience of your desktop!

Educators use online tools that allow them to markup and annotate presenters' slides, share desktop applications, or engage in chat, survey, and poll questions with others online. Seminars may be archived and are available for viewing after the live event has occurred. Be sure to check out the fall schedule for these exciting learning opportunities and to register by going to http://institute.nsta.org/web_seminars.asp.

The Early Years

Science and Children (S&C) and NSTA have established a blog devoted to early childhood science (see http://science.nsta.org/earlyyearsblog). Here you’ll find teaching advice, management tips, favorite resources, and activity ideas specifically for teachers of grades preK–2. The blog accompanies Science and Children’s column The Early Years. To view the first column, visit http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/science_and_children.php?category_ID=86&news_story_ID=50933. Highlights from the online conversations will appear in the print column. Teachers who post a comment that gets chosen for publication in S&C will receive one free book from a select group of NSTA Press publications.

Call for Papers

Science and Children (grades preK–5) has issued a Call for Papers on specific topics. Click here to find out more:


Looking for Evening Skies?

Regrettably, Science and Children will no longer include Evening Skies Monthly Star Map and Sky Calendar. However, yearly subscriptions to the map and calendar are available from the Abrams Planetarium for $11 and can begin at any point in the year. To subscribe, visit http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/SkyCalendar/Index.html. Subscribers will be mailed hard copies of three star maps and calendars four times a year to cover the entire calendar year. Or check out http://skymaps.com/downloads.html for free star map downloads from StarMaps.com (permission is required for multiple copies for classroom or science club use). In addition, Skywatcher's Diary at http://www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/diary.html posts a monthly detailing of sky happenings. Happy stargazing!

Next Month's Theme

Writing to Learn Science

If your colleagues would like to subscribe to Science Class, please direct them to http://www.nsta.org/newsletters.


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