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Week of May 12, 2008

Table of Contents

NSTA Awarded $3 Million Multiyear Grant from the GE Foundation

NSTA is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a two-year, $3 million grant from the GE Foundation. The grant will be used to support the continued development of the NSTA Learning Center (NLC) and assist teachers in GE-supported school districts increase their science content knowledge and strengthen their teaching skills. The NLC is a state-of-the-art web portal that contains thousands of standards-based learning resources for science teachers, including SciPacks—on-demand learning experiences that engage teachers through interactive simulations, embedded questions, and pedagogical implications for the classroom. For more information about the NSTA Learning Center, please visit learningcenter.nsta.org.

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Understanding and Improving K–12 Engineering in the United States

The National Academy of Engineering and National Research Council are seeking public comment on their project, “Understanding and Improving K–12 Engineering in the United States.” The project is examining the scope and nature of efforts to teach engineering to K–12 students.

A project summary report can be downloaded at www.nae.edu/K-12engineering, and comments can be sent to K-12engineering@nae.edu.

The deadline for comments is May 15, 2008.

For questions about the project or summary report, contact Greg Pearson at the NAE, gpearson@nae.edu.

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Using Online Games to Draw More Students into Science

Education Week reporter Katie Ash explores how science-related educational computer games can increase students’ interest in science in a recent article she wrote entitled, “Building Gaming Into Science Education.” “Experts say science is especially well suited for gaming because the subject stems from curiosity, inquiry, and investigation—fundamental qualities also shared by successful computer games.” Read all about current computer games being used in the science classroom, what those games aim to teach, and how they affect the way students learn.

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Activities Increase Student Awareness of Animal Adaptation

Animal Coloration: Activities on the Evolution of Concealment was created to increase students' understanding of evolution through activities that explore the way color aids an animal's defense.

Eight chapters, each devoted to a single aspect of coloration—for example, advertising coloration, disruptive coloration, matching background color, concealment of give-away parts—contain a discussion of the scientific principles, background on the subject, and an overview of the activities and materials required. The approach is inductive and experimental, and students are told little, so they can discover much. The activities provide students with the opportunity to make and test hypotheses through investigation, thus expanding their scientific knowledge and comprehension. While all activities can be performed indoors, Animal Coloration is an ideal way to incorporate outdoor studies into your classroom as well.

The book is filled with tables that organize the standards-based activities, line drawings to illustrate the animals within the context of the exploration, and charts that provide a model for students' notes and tabulations, all easily copied from the book to use in the classroom. Teachers will greatly appreciate this terrific science title that will also contribute to achievement in art, language, writing, and math.

Visit the NSTA Science Store to purchase or learn more.

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Lessons from the Urban Science Classroom

Christopher Emdin has developed and tested strategies to engage urban students that can be used by any teacher to reach students "who don't feel a part of science," he says. This month, Emdin, an assistant professor of science education at New York City's Teachers College, Columbia University, was honored with Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) International's 2007 International Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award for his "three-year ethnographic study of physics and chemistry classrooms" in a Bronx high school, where he explored "the culture and context of the urban classroom."

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Explore Your World! Register for an Online Graduate Course Today from Seminars on Science

Space is still available in both summer sessions of Seminars on Science from the American Museum of Natural History. Sign up by May 27 for your last chance this summer to take Space, Time and Motion or In the Field with Spiders.

Other summer courses include Evolution; Genetics, Genomics, Genethics; The Solar System; Earth: Inside and Out and The Ocean System.

Genetics, Genomics, Genethics tackles how our growing knowledge of the genome will affect our health, our societies, and the natural world. Learn how the human genome is deconstructed and studied by scientists, and discuss how cloning and genetically modified foods are already affecting our daily lives. Explore sample essays and interactives from this course at learn.amnh.org/genetics. Free sample resources are available for each course on the Seminars website.

Designed for K–12 educators, each six-week course is led by an experienced classroom teacher and a research scientist. In-depth readings and assignments paired with rich web-based discussions assure that educators finish each class with a deeper understanding of both science content and the tools of scientific inquiry. Graduate credit is available and each participant receives a CD of course resources suitable for classroom use.

Please see the website for the full course listing. Free sample resources for each course—including essays, videos and interactive simulations—are available online at learn.amnh.org.

Registration is now open! Summer Session One runs June 9–July 20. Summer Session Two runs June 30–August 10. Sign up now and receive a $50 early registration discount for the Summer Two session. For more information and to register, go to learn.amnh.org or call 800-649-6715.

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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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