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Week of April 20, 2009

Table of Contents

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Get Involved on Earth Day, April 22

There’s no better time for teachers to “green” their curriculum than Earth Day. Earth Day Network’s Educators’ Network helps teachers accomplish this by providing more than 300 standards-based lesson plans in several subjects and all grade levels, along with interactive activities, such as Environmental Jeopardy. “Things to Do to Green Your School” flyers suggest strategies such as avoiding the use of screen savers on computers; having students perform an energy audit (instructions provided); and as a class project, measuring how much junk mail the school receives, then asking those companies to remove the school from their mailing lists and measuring the effect of that request. New video curriculum highlighting green makeovers and the animated adventures of Gorilla in the Greenhouse also appears on Earth Day TV.

For more lesson plans, activities, and information, check Education World’s Earth Day Archives page; the U.S. Government’s Take Action in Your Classroom site; and the Wilderness Society’s Teachers Lounge. The American Chemical Society’s Chemists Celebrate Earth Day site showcases chemistry’s contributions to sustaining a healthy planet and environment. This year’s topic is the atmosphere, and the theme is “Air—The Sky’s the Limit.” Celebration ideas and details about K–12 and college contests can be found at chemistry.org/earthday.

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Calling All New Middle and High School Science Teachers!

Science teachers located throughout the country, who will be entering their second or third year of teaching and whose schedule is a minimum of 51 percent middle or high school science, are encouraged to apply to the 2009 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy. Last year, more than 800 applications were received, and 185 teachers from 49 states and the District of Columbia were selected to participate.

NSTA will again select 185 teachers to participate as fellows in the 2009 Academy. NSTA Fellows chosen for the program receive a comprehensive membership package, online mentoring with trained mentors who teach in the same discipline, and the opportunity to participate in a variety of web-based professional development activities, including web seminars. In addition, each NSTA Fellow receives financial support to attend and participate in NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education, taking place in Philadelphia, March 17–21, 2010.

For more information about the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy or to learn how to apply to become a fellow, please visit www.nsta.org/academy. Applications must be submitted no later than June 1, 2009, to be considered. Don’t delay, apply now!

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U.S. Dept. of Education Webcast on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

The April edition of Education News will feature a taped interview with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, plus live discussion with state and local education administrators and policymakers. The program will spotlight the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and its promise for generating urgently needed reform in schools across the country.  April’s guests will discuss the following topics:

  • What are the key educational components of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act?
  • How will the Act spur innovation and reform and make us more competitive in the global economy?
  • How will the Act avert teacher and administrator layoffs and generate jobs across the nation?
  • How will the Act help more students afford, attend and ultimately succeed in college?
  • Where can parents and educators find out more about the Act and monitor how the funds are being spent on the federal, state and local level?

For details, and a listing of archived webcast, visit the Dept. of Education’s website.

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Apply for the 2009 Weightless Flights of Discovery Program

The Northrop Grumman Corporation Foundation is accepting teacher applications for the 2009 Weightless Flights of Discovery program, an initiative that places teachers on micro- and zero-gravity flights to test Newton's Laws of Motion and energize students in the formative middle-school years.
Middle-school math and science teachers in public schools are welcome to apply for the program at www.northropgrumman.com/teachers. The Foundation has selected four locations for this year's flights:

  • Albuquerque, N.M. (Sept. 22)
  • Detroit (Sept. 24)
  • Norwalk, Conn. (Sept. 29)
  • Washington, D.C. (Oct. 2)

A maximum of 30 teachers in each of the cities will participate. The deadline to apply is April 30, 2009.

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New from NSTA Press®: Reforming Secondary Science Instruction

“Science education reform will not occur by simply adding occasional new activities to your teaching repertoire. Reform requires thought, work, and persistence,” noted one of the authors of Reforming Secondary Science Instruction. The new NSTA release is for grades 6–12 teachers in all science disciplines and addresses the concern of countless professionals that believe our students need to be better prepared for life and work in a global economy. Follow your fellow teachers as they learn about inquiry, implement change strategies, try out innovative instructional materials, build professional learning communities and partnerships, use data from student assessments, and address the needs of linguistically diverse learners.

Each chapter offers the opportunity to assess your own teaching techniques and find room for improvement. Whether you are a new teacher or a seasoned professional, this highly readable text will help you craft a workable plan for giving your students the tools they need to succeed beyond your classroom.

Visit the NSTA Science Store to view a sample chapter and to order.

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In Case You Missed It …

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Connect with Research Scientists—Take an Online Graduate Course from AMNH

Join Seminars on Science in a summer session of our award-winning online graduate courses in the life, earth and physical sciences from the American Museum of Natural History. Seminars on Science courses connect classroom teachers with scientists engaged in current, real-world research. Each course is authored by leading scientists in their fields, and is then co-taught by an experienced researcher affiliated with AMNH.

Dr. Rob DeSalle, lead researcher for the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at AMNH, strives to make genetics and genomics vital and understandable parts of our world through such books as The Science of Jurassic Park and the Lost World and Welcome to the Genome: A User's Guide to your Genetic Past, Present, and Future. From fruit flies to right whales to Homo sapiens, DeSalle has spent decades mapping the DNA of dozens of species. Along with co-author Dr. Claudia Englbrecht, DeSalle takes pages from his own research to make molecular biology come to life in Genetics, Genomics, Genethics, one of eleven courses available this summer.

In addition to Genetics, all of our most popular courses are also available for the summer, including Earth: Inside and Out; The Ocean System; The Solar System; and Evolution.

Designed for K–12 educators, each six-week course is led by an experienced classroom teacher as well as a research scientist. In-depth readings and assignments paired with rich web-based discussions assure that educators come away from each class with a deeper understanding of both the science and the tools of scientific inquiry. 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 8–July 19.  Summer Session Two runs July 6–August 16.  Sign up now and receive a $50 early registration discount. 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. 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 April featured book, Dig In: Hands-On Soil Investigations.

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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