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Week of May 5, 2008

Table of Contents

2007 PAEMST Winners Announced

Ninety-nine middle and high school math and science teachers were invited to Washington, DC, last week to receive the 2007 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

The PAEMST is administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF) on behalf of the White House. Each year, state officials are asked to nominate the top science teacher and math teacher in their state. From year to year the program alternates in honoring elementary-level or secondary-level teachers. In the citation from the president, winners are commended "for embodying excellence in teaching, for devotion to the learning needs of the students, and for upholding the high standards that exemplify American education at its finest."

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NSTA Offers Eight More Web Seminars in May

The seminars are 90-minute, live experiences that allow the participants to interact with national experts, scientists, engineers, and fellow colleagues. Check out the topics and register today. Registration is free!

May 6 – FDA: Teach Science Concepts and Inquiry with Food—Focus on Cosmetic Safety
May 8 – NOAA: Coral Ecosystems
May 13 – NASA: Mapping the Moon
May 14 – NASA JPL: Robotic Exploration of the Red Planet
May 15 – NASA: 21st Century Explorer—Today’s Knowledge for Tomorrow’s Explorer
May 20 – Sally Ride Science: Igniting Students’ Interests in Science Careers
May 22 – Polar Science, Global Discoveries: IPY Research Update for Teachers
May 27 – NSDL: Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears Series: Polar Geography

Register today!

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A Prescription for Cleaner Water

As reported in NSTA’s WebNews, Ecology students in Pontiac, Illinois, were investigating how to safely dispose of unwanted medications before news stories publicized the fact that traces prescription and over-the-counter medications could be found in U.S. drinking water. Working with students in an Illinois Studies class, they identified the safest disposal method (incineration), developed a collection program, persuaded local leaders and pharmacies to participate, and succeeded in keeping more than 125 pounds of liquids and pills out of the environment between January and late April.

“It comes down to a common sense solution for a real world problem,” says ecology teacher Paul Ritter. His students conducted research, analyzed resource management, and defended their findings as they developed the program. According to Ritter, the class addressed 37 benchmarks from the Illinois science state learning standards.
Schools and city leaders from Michigan, Washington, and California have expressed interest in duplicating the program. Ritter says, “Every town, every class has something to gain from this.”

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Nanotechnology—Learn to Teach It Effectively

Middle and high school teachers love this pioneering instructional guide, Nanoscale Science, that offers guided inquiry with open-ended exploration, and 20 investigations that teach students about the unique properties and behavior of materials at the nanoscale—one-billionth of the size of a meter. Organized around five themes—size and scale, tools and techniques, unique properties and behaviors, nanotechnology applications, and societal implications—teachers will find the activities in this book use readily available materials and provide clear background, instructions, and formative assessments. Engage your students with questions like these:

  • How small is one in a billion?
  • How might manipulating matter at the nanoscale lead to everything from stain-resistant fabrics to tumor-targeting nanoshells?
  • How will society change when we use nanolabels to track where people, animals, and materials move around the world?

As a stand-alone text or as a supplement to studies of biology, physics, chemistry, math, and the environment, both teachers and students will find this a fascinating read. Visit the NSTA Science Store for details.

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NSTA Seeks New Associate Executive Director for Professional Programs and Conferences

The NSTA Associate Executive Director will lead the Professional Programs and Conferences Division which includes the departments of Conferences and Meetings, e-Learning and Government Partnerships, and Professional Development. As a member of the senior executive team, the Associate Executive Director will help craft NSTA's overall strategic direction and implementation activities. S/he will report directly to the Executive Director and serve as an external NSTA spokesperson and representative when the Executive Director is unavailable. The ideal candidate will have a sterling reputation in science education, professional development of educators and an established track record in overseeing substantial budgets and managing professional staff.

The executive search firm Isaacson, Miller is leading the nationwide search for this candidate. For more information on the position go to www.imsearch.com. Inquiries should be directed to 3573@imsearch.com.

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NTEN Online Course Blends the Art and Science of Bugs

Elementary teachers can earn one online graduate credit while practicing the art and science of entomology and engaging their classroom in a series of fun, inquiry-based activities.

Offered by the National Teachers Enhancement Network (NTEN), "The Fascinating Bug: Learning About Insects through Observation" (ENTO 580-01) begins May 12, and includes a kit of live "classroom-friendly" insects, cages, magnifying lenses, food, and course book so that participating teachers and their students can investigate insect anatomy, behavior patterns and the insect life cycle.

Course instructors are Smithsonian science consultant Faith Deering and children's book illustrator Bob Marstall. This hands-on course is a great way to wind down the semester as students and participating teachers investigate springtime insects both inside and outside the classroom.

For more information or to register, visit Montana State University's NTEN Elementary. Enrollment is limited.

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And Don’t Forget…

Visit our member services web page to ensure that NSTA has your current contact information.

Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off of the May featured book, Using Forensics: Wildlife Crime Scene!

NSTA is offering more Web Seminars through the spring months. Visit the website for more information about these upcoming professional development opportunities.

Professional development courses in your future?
Online options give you a world of choice.
Take a look at these groups offering courses for science educators!


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