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Federal Spotlight on Science Education During Secretary’s Summit on Science

A host of notable speakers took the stage to highlight the critical importance of science education to our nation during the Secretary’s Summit on Science on March 16, 2004 in Washington, D.C. The Summit on Science kicked off the science part of the Mathematics and Science Initiative (MSI), a five-year program developed by the U. S. Department of Education to 1) engage the public in recognizing the need for better mathematics and science education for all children; 2) initiate a campaign to recruit, prepare, train, and retain teachers with strong backgrounds in mathematics and science, and 3) develop a research base to improve our knowledge of what boosts student learning in mathematics and science.

At the end of the half-day summit Dr. Susan Sclafani, Counselor to Education Secretary Rod Paige (and a keynote speaker at the upcoming NSTA convention in Atlanta, see below), presented a series of next steps for the MSI, which included working with stakeholders to better prepare pre-service teachers, providing better assistance to in-service teachers, working with publishers on the upcoming science assessments, working with professional SMET organizations in the efforts to support K-12 science and math, and continuing with more research on K-12 science and math education. Sclafani also challenged participants to replicate the science summit in their respective states and local districts.

To find out more about the Mathematics and Science Initiative and to read the presentations made at the Summit on Science, go to http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/progs/mathscience/index.html. To read the Education Week article titled “Federal Agencies Train Spotlight
On Science Instruction” in the March 24 issue (which includes comments from NSTA Executive Director Gerry Wheeler), go to http://www.edweek.com (free registration required). A Webcast of the summit will also be available soon at http://www.vodium.com/goto/doed/sciencesummit.asp


NSTA Names Top Teachers and Students in TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers Program and Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards

Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers

At the NSTA National Convention this week, 50 K–12 teachers will be honored and presented with grants of up to $10,000 in the Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers program. An additional 29 teachers will receive mini-grants of $2,500. The teachers were selected for their innovative approaches to teaching science. Each of them submitted proposals for implementing science programs in their school or school district over a one-year period. Project categories include environmental science, physical science, and literacy and science education. For a list of the award-winning science projects, go to http://www.nsta.org/programs/tapestry/index.htm.

If you have a great way to make science come alive, apply for a 2005 Toyota TAPESTRY grant and you may get $10,000 to put your ideas into action.  To download an application, go to http://www.nsta.org/programs/tapestry/howtoapply.asp or call 800-807-9852.

Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards program

Twenty-four teams of students from across the country have been named regional winners in the 12th annual Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards program. More than 13,000 K–12 students entered the competition and presented ideas for technologies that could exist 20 years in the future. Winning ideas include a talking first-aid kit, special meat-handling gloves that detect harmful bacteria, bug-like robots that search for earthquake victims, and an invention that uses tiny “nanobots” to clean teeth without brushing.

Winning students receive digital cameras and their schools receive Toshiba laptop computers. The winning teams now advance to the next phase of the competition where they create web sites to convey their ideas In May eight finalist teams will be selected to receive savings bonds up to $10,000. To view the winning entries, go to http://www.exploravision.org.

Don’t miss out on the fun. Call now to request entry materials for next year’s competition. For more information or an application, call 1-800-EXPLOR-9 or visit http://www.exploravision.com/2003/hte_index.html .


American Museum of Natural History Opens Summer Online Course Registration for K-12 Teachers

The American Museum of Natural History, a member of the NSTA Institute, announces the start of registration for the Museum’s online summer professional development courses. Beginning June 28, five six-week courses in the life, Earth, and physical sciences for K-12 educators will be offered. Each course is fully Web-based. Enrollment may be limited, so individuals are encouraged to sign up early.

Courses offered this summer include contemporary explorations in genetics, Earth science, modern physics, and spiders, as well as a course on sharks and rays.  These courses are co-taught by Museum educators and scientists and highlight the concepts, tools and techniques of modern scientific inquiry.  Each course also features flexible participation, online discussions, and digital learning resources for the classroom.

For course descriptions and to register, go to http://learn.amnh.org/welcome.php?w=NSTAIS04 . For information on the NSTA Institute, visit http://institute.nsta.org.

Attendees at NSTA’s National Convention in Atlanta, April 1-4, are encouraged to visit AMNH in Booth 1638 in the Exhibit Hall, and to take part in their raffle of educator resources, including a free course registration.


Complex Challenges and Solutions Defined in Investigating Safely—New From NSTA Press for High School Science Teachers

Reduce the risks to people and place with this vital new resource for every high school science teacher and the newest title in NSTA’s unique series of safety guidebooks. Investigating Safely deals with the safety requirements of specific disciplines—physics, chemistry, Earth and space sciences, and biology, as well as the day-to-day challenges faced by high school science teachers such as equipping labs, storing and disposing of chemicals and other hazardous materials, maintaining documentation, and organizing field trips.  Authors Juliana Texley, Terry Kwan, and John Summers are classroom veterans; they organized the book to present safety concepts in the context of common situations in real classrooms.  Included are permission slips, student contracts, and other sample forms, which can be conveniently adapted as needed.  To browse the entire book online, go to http://nsta.tasco1.com/showItem.asp?product=PB166X3

To browse others in the highly popular safety guidebook series:  for Exploring Safely, the K-4 edition, and Inquiring Safely, for grades 6-8, go to  http://store.nsta.org/searchBasic.asp?searchTerm=Exploring+Safely&x=21&y=11.  


Results in from NSTA Express Poll on Dissection

Results of our March 8 NSTA Express Poll on dissection reveal the strong presence of dissection activities in the science classroom. The majority of respondents (81%) indicated that dissection activities are an important part of science learning and most (76%) told us that they currently use animal specimens in dissection activities. When asked about the frequency of dissection activities over that past 5 years, 45% indicated that it had stayed the same, while 23% said it is on the decline. Why the decline?  Top reason is the lack of funds to purchase dissection specimens. For complete results on this NSTA Express Poll, go to http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2004_03_29_extra.htm. Thanks to all who participated in the survey.


Come to the NSTA Atlanta Convention… Special One-Day, Last-Day, and Student Rates; Submit Session Proposals by 4/15 for NSTA ’05 Convention

Making a last-minute decision?  Only able to get away on this weekend?  Just a reminder to science educators in the Atlanta and driving-distance area  (this means you, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Birmingham, Macon, Nashville…) that NSTA offers special rates of  $150 for a one-day registration for April 1, April 2 or April 3 (Saturday), and $50 for a one-day student registration. For the final day sessions on Sunday, the registration fees are $115 for attendees and $50 for students.

Those who join us on Saturday, April 3, will start the day with an important featured presentation at 9:30: U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige's Mathematics and Science Initiative - Reconnecting Students to Science, presented by Dr. Susan Sclafani, Counselor to the Secretary and Assistant Secretary, Office of Vocational Adult Education, U.S. Dept. of Education.  Dr. Sclafani will provide highlights of the Secretary's ongoing MSI initiative, as well as highlights from the Secretary's Science Summit of March 16, 2004.

But if y’all just can’t make it down to Atlanta, look for your Monday, April 5 issue of NSTA Express, which will highlight NSTA’s 52nd annual convention in photos… Then put NSTA’s 2004-‘05 area conventions on your calendar and start planning now to join us:  Indianapolis (Nov. 4-6); Seattle (Nov. 18-20); and Richmond, VA (Dec. 2-4). The 2005 National Convention will be held in Dallas, March 31-April 3, 2005.

Interested in presenting in Dallas in ’05?  Proposals for sessions and presentations at NSTA's 2005 National Convention must be submitted--online only--at http://www.nsta.org/sessions by Thursday, April 15. Professional development strands, which unify and guide sessions, workshops, and short courses, are Biomedical/Biotechnology, Technology Showcase, Assessment, and Safety.


Not a member and want to join? Visit https://ecommerce.nsta.org/membership/apply.asp!

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Hope you found this Monday’s edition of NSTA Express an interesting, quick read and a worthwhile update on the latest news and information from the National Science Teachers Association. Our goal is to save you time by delivering information each week in short "news bites," so if you'd like to know more, simply select the headline quick link. NSTA continues to create resources and improve services for science educators. If you're not already a member, we invite you to join the crowd by going to www.nsta.org/whyjoin


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