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Week of March 30, 2009

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NSTA Legislative Alert: Weigh In on Science Education Funding

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Two “Dear Colleague” letters are currently in circulation that can affect the federal funding for science education next year.

The first is from Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-MI) to Congressional leaders of the Labor, Health and Human Services & Education Subcommittee requesting at least $450 million in funding for the FY2010 Math and Science Partnership program at the Department of Education. 

The second letter is from Reps. Vernon J. Ehlers (R-MI), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Bill Foster (D-IL), and Bob Inglis (R-SC) to Congressional appropriations leaders asking them to provide the Administration's request of $7 billion for the National Science Foundation in FY2010. 

A dear colleague letter is a form of communication among members of Congress, usually describing a new bill and asking for cosponsors for a particular issue. As Richard M. Jones of the American Institute of Physics describes so succinctly in the Bulletin of Science Policy News, “Dear Colleague letters are effective way of demonstrating Members' support for a bill, other action, or, as in this case, funding for a department or agency. With a steady, and often overwhelming stream of correspondence in the form of US mail, email, and faxes, and the constant ringing of telephones, a "Dear Colleague" letter is more likely to be acted upon if a constituent contacts their representative.”

You can generate support for these letters by contacting your House Representative and urging him/her to sign the Holt/Ehlers Dear Colleague letter in support of the Department of Education Math and Science Partnership program and to sign the Ehlers/Holt/Lipinski/Foster/Inglis letter in support of the Administration’s request for $7 billion for NSF. Call the main switchboard of the House of Representatives at 202-225-3121 and ask to be connected to your Representative.

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Nine New Books from NSTA Press, and Counting …

Each year NSTA Press publishes new books for science teachers and administrators. Many of you have voiced your professional development needs and challenges and we heard you. This spring we released nine titles that debuted in the science bookstore at the national conference in New Orleans. Eight more books will be released in the next four or five months and we welcome you to consider these wonderful resources. The topics are current, there are new titles for every grade band, and some of our best selling authors have expanded previous book concepts into a fresh volume. Check out our publications catalog (PDF) to see the complete list.

Have a look at Reforming Secondary Science Instruction. It details how teachers can better prepare students for life and work through the use of inquiry, change strategies, professional learning communities and partnerships, and innovative classroom materials. Teachers in grades 6 through 12, new and experienced, will be able to assess their own teaching techniques and develop a working plan for better instruction using this title as a guiding light.

Visit our online bookstore to download a chapter, get more information, or view NSTA Recommends, our downloadable catalog.

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Attention high school physics teachers: Registration is now open for the Spring 2009 session of Adopt-a-Physicist!

This unique (and free) program pairs high school physics classes with physics degree holders in online discussion forums, for a three-week period (April 13–May 1). Through these forums, your students will get the chance to connect to "real" physicists working in fields ranging from radiation therapy to computer programming.

The Adopt-a-Physicist program is open to all high school physics classes, but registration is limited to the first 150 classes, so sign up today!

Here's what some past teachers had to say about their experience:

The main benefit of participating in Adopt-a-Physicist was exposing students to who and what physicists can be.

My students were amazed at what these physicists have done in their careers, but I think they were even more interested in the fact that they are normal human beings.

You can read more about the program, download a Program Packet, and register your classes on the Adopt-a-Physicist website.

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Turn Your Classroom into a Student-centered Science Community

NSTA’s new title Whole-Class Inquiry: Creating Student-Centered Science Communities is the perfect vehicle for implementing and assessing this concept in your classroom. You’ll learn how to begin, how to implement, and how to assess the process.

The authors of this book use four case studies to illustrate and explain the transformation of typical high school and middle school science classrooms into student-led scientific communities in which students take ownership of their projects and mimic real-world exploration.

Two DVDs, included with the text, enable you to watch the subtle details and methods involved in the transformation as the class completes three different projects onscreen. This is a must-have package for preservice and inservice middle and high school science teachers who are interested in exploring, learning to use, and vicariously experiencing this rewarding and proven approach.

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And Don’t Forget…

Visit our member services web page to ensure that NSTA has your current contact information. And when the time comes to renew—select the "Autorenew" option!

Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off the price of the March featured book, All in a Day's Work, 2nd Edition.

NSTA is offering more Web Seminars in the months ahead. Visit the website for more information and to register to attend these FREE 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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