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Week of May 26, 2008

Table of Contents

Legislative Update: Rep. Honda and Sen. Obama Introduce eSTEM Bill

On May 21 NSTA Executive Director Gerry Wheeler joined Representatives Vernon Ehlers (R-MI), Rush Holt (D-NJ), and Mike Honda (D-CA) on the steps of Cannon House Office Building for a press conference on a bill introduced by Rep. Honda and Senator Barack Obama titled the Enhancing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Act of 2008.

The legislation, based on the National Science Board recent Action Plan, calls on Congress to reorganize the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), create an Office of STEM at the U.S. Department of Education, institute a voluntary state Consortium on STEM education, and create a National STEM Education Research Repository.

Learn more about the legislation:

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Survey Results on Evolution and Creationism Subject of Online Article

Evolution in the classroom? It’s about the teachers, reports the “first nationally representative, scientific sample survey to examine evolution and creationism in the classroom” conducted by researchers at Pennsylvania State University. The survey is the subject of an extensive article in PLOS Biology, the open access journal published by the Public Library of Science.

“Three different survey questions all suggest that between 12% and 16% of the nation’s biology teachers are creationist in orientation. Roughly one sixth of all teachers professed a “young earth” personal belief, and about one in eight reported that they teach creationism or intelligent design in a positive light,” writes authors Michael B. Berkman, Professor of Political Science, Julianna Sandell Pacheco, a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science, and Eric Plutzer is Professor of Political Science and Academic Director of the Penn State Survey Research Center in the Department of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University.

“The majority of teachers, however, see evolution as central and essential to high school biology courses. Yet the amount of time devoted to evolutionary biology varies substantially from teacher to teacher, and a majority either avoid human evolution altogether or devote only one or two class periods to the topic.”

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Toshiba and NSTA Announce 2008 Award Winners

Congratulations to the national winners of the Toshiba/NSTA 2008 ExploraVision Awards Program. This year three out of the four first prize-winning teams proposed future technologies that could help solve some of the world's most pressing energy and environmental pollution problems. Other winners proposed ingenious treatments for life-threatening illnesses, an innovative preventative measure to the problem of childhood obesity, and a device to make life easier for household pets and their owners.

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Enhance Your Knowledge of Physical Science this Summer

Register to attend the NSTA Online Short Course: Force and Motion

Registration is now open for the summer session of the NSTA Online Short Course: Force and Motion. This short course combines asynchronous learning with live web sessions to help you master science content.

Intended for grades 3-9 teachers, Force and Motion will begin on July 10 and will meet on five consecutive Thursdays, (July 10, 17, 24, 31, and August 7). The instructor is Dr. Matt Bobrowsky. All short course live web sessions are scheduled from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.

As a participant, you will meet online with the instructor and NSTA staff to ask questions and have discussions about the topic. You will also work on your own time with self-paced materials (SciPack, SciGuide, e-Book, and journal articles) to boost your knowledge of the subject matter.

Two graduate professional development credits from the University of Idaho are available for a nominal fee in addition to the course’s registration costs and materials.

For more information and to register, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

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American Book Company Joins NSTA SciLinks® Program

NSTA welcomes the American Book Company (ABC) as the newest publisher to join NSTA’s SciLinks® program. ABC will link the pages of 10 of its science textbooks to NSTA-approved websites that contain grade-appropriate activities, lessons, and more. With 13 publishers now on board and the number of SciLinked textbooks in the hundreds, quality internet resources are more accessible than ever to students and science teachers in the U.S. and abroad.

Launched in 1999, SciLinks connects the content of science textbooks to NSTA-approved websites to enrich student learning both inside and outside the science classroom. NSTA places SciLinks icons and codes in textbook margins at key subject areas. By accessing the SciLinks web site and entering the code, students and teachers are guided to professionally selected websites that support the particular science subject introduced in the text.

  • Learn more about the SciLinks® program

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NSTA and Sally Ride Science Sponsor Summer Conference on Climate Change

Educators in the Washington, DC, metropolitan and surrounding areas who want to learn how to bring this critical topic into their curriculum and teach it should attend The Earth Then, Earth Now: Our Changing Climate Educator Conference on July 23 and 24 in Silver Spring, MD at the NOAA Science Center. A preconference evening reception will be held on July 22 from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm at the visitor’s center at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Dr. Sally Ride's first space shuttle mission and kick off the conference.

Middle and high school educators who attend this two day conference will investigate the basic science behind our understanding of climate change and learn about its global impact on the atmosphere, ocean, continents and ecosystems. Dr. Sally Ride will give a keynote talk and leading climate scientists will give presentations on topics such as Carbon Cycle and Energy Balance. Breakout sessions are planned for both afternoons where discussion groups will meet to tackle climate change issues. Teachers will participate in hands-on activities and review materials that can be used in the classroom. The final general session will cover current ideas for facing our climate challenge and creating a healthier planet.

Registration for the conference is $60. For more information and to register online, visit the conference website.

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Professional Learning Focus of NSELA July Workshop in North Carolina

The technology of professional learning is changing. No longer are teachers participating in workshops as their primary means of learning. As educators learn more from research and practice about how students learn, they also come to understand more about how educators need to learn. The National Science Education Leadership Association, an NSTA affiliate organization, will be hosting a two day conference on professional learning this July 7-10 in Asheville, NC.

Learn more about the National Science Education Leadership Association and the NSELA Summer Leadership Institute titled "Powerful Professional Learning in Science" at www.nsela.org.

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Check out Highlights for the Upcoming "Charlotte’s Science Web" Area Conference

Join NSTA October 30–November 1, 2008, in Charlotte, North Carolina, for the first of our fall Conferences on Science Education, the one-stop shop for educators in every discipline and at every stage in their careers, from the newest teachers to the most experienced curriculum administrators and principals.

Nowhere else can you:

  • Hear presentations from experts including Kathy Riechs, forensic anthropologist and inspiration for the hit show Bones
  • Improve your skills, gaining content knowledge with special daylong programs: Chemistry Day, Physics Day, and Biology Day
  • Learn assessment and inquiry-based strategies with specialized workshops and sessions
  • Take a field trip to Carolina Raptor Center, Reed Gold Mine, or U.S. National Whitewater Center
  • Network with like-minded professionals to advance your career and join a community that nurtures your passion
  • Stock up on exhibitor giveaways
  • Earn graduate credits to build your credentials

For more information or to register, visit the Charlotte conference web pages.

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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 summer 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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