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Week of October 6, 2008

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The Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy Expands Opportunities for Teachers to Attend the 2009 Program

The Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy recently announced a new way for elementary school teachers to get a chance to attend the 2009 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy and improve their math and science teaching skills.

Students can nominate teachers from grades 3, 4, and 5 or urge them to apply for an all-expense paid trip to the Academy’s math and science professional development program by logging on to www.sendmyteacher.com, an interactive website.

Developed in conjunction with the National Science Teachers Association and Math Solutions, the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy enables teachers to hone their science and math teaching skills, enhance their curricula, and discover innovative new ways to inspire students.

The teachers will spend five days next July at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, deepening their understanding of mathematics and science content, building expertise in facilitating student learning through problem solving and inquiry, and using links between math and science that support student learning and understanding in the classroom.

Teacher applications are due by October 31, 2008. The National Science Teachers Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics will convene a panel of math and science experts to evaluate the entries and announce the selections in February 2009.

The 2008 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy will host more than 600 teachers in Houston, Texas; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Jersey City, New Jersey. To date, nearly 1,000 teachers have attended the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy.

To nominate a teacher or to learn more about the program, visit www.sendmyteacher.com.

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House of Representatives Approves No Child Left Inside Act

Earlier last month the U.S. House of Representatives, by a vote of 293 to 109, passed The No Child Left Inside Act (H.R. 3036). The bill, as approved by the House, would authorize new spending on environmental education and would provide incentives to states to develop environmental literacy plans. The federal funding could also be used by states to train teachers in environmental instruction and to create environmental programs.NSTA and other leading organizations supported the No Child Left Inside Act. For more information go to www.fundee.org/campaigns/nclb/

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Congress Passes Continuing Resolution to Fund Federal Programs at 2008 Levels Until March

The House and Senate have passed a stop gap funding bill, known as a Continuing Resolution (CR), for FY2009 appropriations which will fund most federal programs, including federal education programs, at the 2008 levels until March 6, 2009.

Technically the FY2009 budget year began on October 1, 2008. As has been the case in recent years Congress and the President were not able to come to an agreement on the amount of total FY2009 spending, so this CR will flat fund most federal departments and agencies until next March, when the issue will be addressed by the next administration.

Although both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees proposed FY2009 appropriations bills with strong funding for science and research in the federal agencies, higher increases for NSF education programs, and $198 million in funding for the Math and Science Partnership program at the U.S. Department of Education, the President would not budge on his funding limits and threatened a veto on several bills. Rather than go through this process House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI) decided to "kick the can down the road" and take chances on a new Administration in the White House.

This means that unless Congress returns for a lame duck session after the elections, which is highly unlikely, the new President will be handling both the federal budget for FY2009 programs and submitting his spending requests for FY2010 programs.

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The Science Teacher Wants Your Input!

We are currently seeking questions and topics to address in Health Wise, our new health column for high school students and teachers. In each Q&A-style column, we strive to provide you with with accurate, up-to-date health information to share with your students. Recent and upcoming topics include: teen obesity, teen vegetarianism, the bird flu, adolescent anxiety, and steroid use. Please send questions or feedback to sliberatore@nsta.org.

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Fall Conference Spotlight—Cincinnati: "Renewing the Energy in Science Education

The best Conference on Science Education in your region is happening Dec. 4–6. If you, as teachers and principals, want professional development to help kick start students into performing like champions, consider registering for NSTA’s Conference in Cincinnati by Oct. 31 to save as much as $109.

Here you’ll participate in a fantastic array of workshops, presentations, seminars and field trips. Look at just a few of the planned events for every grade band and every discipline.

  • Former NASA engineer, best-selling author of Rocket Boys: A Memoir, Homer Hickam will give the keynote address to open the conference.
  • Microworlds! Online Tools Exploring Earth's Atmosphere, Water Cycle, and Greenhouse Gases. Investigate the structure and dynamics of clouds, weather, and greenhouse gases using free online interactive "microworlds" from the National Center for Atmospheric Research.
  • Insulin: A Molecular Story About the Gene, the Protein, the Physiology, and Diabetes. This presentation will demonstrate how physical models and other visualizations can be used to tell a molecular story focused on insulin and glucose uptake.
  • Hop into Mathematics and Science Connections. Experience inquiry-based projects exploring data collection, geometry concepts, and science adaptations that achieve both your science and your mathematics content. Free CD of lessons!
  • Drop the Lecture and Let the Students Pick Up the Learning in AP Science. Water noodle operons, membrane transport enactments, carrying capacity scurry games—could this be AP science? Come see hands-on learning with rigorous AP content. (high school)
  • Stop Faking It! Finally Understand Light and Sound So You Can Teach It. With the author as your guide, experience activities and explanations taken from the NSTA Press books on Light and Sound. Rather than a set of resource activities for the classroom, these books are intended to help you, the teacher, gain a deeper understanding of science concepts.
  • Behind the Scenes: Procter and Gamble. On this visit to P&G’s Fabric and Home Care Innovation Center, we will tour a variety of labs and high-tech facilities. In the analytical labs, we’ll see state-of-the-art instrumentation, including nuclear magnetic resonance with solid-state capability and scanning electron microscopy with X-ray diffraction. In the specially modified gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy facilities, we’ll get a look at perfume and fragrance development.
  • Teachers can earn one graduate credit through Xavier University for attending 12 hours of programs at the conference.

Visit www.nsta.org/cincinnati for more information and to register.

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Teach Outdoors During Earth Science Week 2008

Encourage students to unplug and study geoscience outdoors. The American Geological Institute (AGI) holds this event to promote public and professional awareness of the status of Earth science in education and society. Classroom activity ideas and resources in conjunction with the 2008 theme, “No Child Left Inside," are available online.

AGI is sponsoring three national contests and one international competition for Earth Science Week. Entries must be either postmarked or received digitally by 5 p.m. EDT on October 17.

  • K–5 students who enter the Visual Arts Contest, “Studying Our Earth,” should show themselves as an Earth scientist actively studying our planet, through drawing or painting.
  • The Essay Contest, open to students in grades 6–9, is themed “Earth Connections.” Students are asked to discuss the interconnected geologic processes that take place in their community and how those processes in turn affect them.
  • All U.S. residents are encouraged to enter “Earth Science Beyond Your Front Door,” the 2008 photography contest.
  • The international photography contest will mark the International Year of Planet Earth and Earth Science Week. "Exploring Earth Science Around the World" is open to individuals worldwide of any age.

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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 the price of the October featured book, Help! I'm Teaching Middle School Science.

NSTA is offering more Web Seminars through the autumn 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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