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Week of November 23, 2009

Table of Contents

President Obama Announces National Lab Day Initiative

On Monday, President Obama announces the establishment of National Lab Day, a new science education initiative aimed at improving labs and inquiry-based science experiences for students in grades 6–12.

Designed to increase community-based collaborations between scientists, engineers, teachers and students, National Lab Day emerged from collaboration earlier this year among NSTA, the American Chemical Society (ACS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Jack D. Hidary Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation.

National Lab Day will bring together stakeholders in communities of support where science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals and teachers can work together to assess current labs, update or refurbish lab equipment, conduct equipment and materials inventory, clean and repair equipment, and provide technology support. Projects can also center on computer or outdoor labs—anywhere where hands-on lessons in the STEM subjects can come alive.

The first National Lab Day is tentatively scheduled for early May 2010. For more information about National Lab Day, visit the official website at www.nationallabday.org.

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Reminder: Apply Now for the Toyota TAPESTRY Grant

Toyota TAPESTRY logoThe deadline to submit applications for the Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers program is fast approaching. K–12 science teachers with innovative project ideas that enhance science education in their school and/or school district are encouraged to apply.

Fifty large grants and a minimum of 20 mini-grants totaling $550,000 will be awarded this year. Individual science teachers or a team of up to five teachers can submit proposals in one of three categories: physical science application; environmental science education; and integrating literacy and science. Additionally, all awardees will receive a $500 stipend to use for travel expenses or registration to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Philadelphia.

Don’t delay, apply now! Visit the TAPESTRY website for complete details. Applications must be submitted no later than Monday, January 18, 2010, to be considered.

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We're Headed to Phoenix

Join NSTA and thousands of science educators at the top Conference on Science Education in Phoenix, Dec. 3-5. It’s a winter getaway in a warm climate with a fascinating ecology worth studying. Science educators can take advantage of numerous field trips (ticketed)—Desert Discovery Tour that includes the Desert Botanical Garden, Lost Dutchman State Park Moonlight Hike to be held in the Sonoran Desert, Grand Canyon Railway Resort and Bus Tour, Biosphere 2 with recreations of five of Earth’s biomes, plus a human habitat and a large ecological facility for experiments, and Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park.

Program strands include critical topics for today’s educators:

  • Rigor Without Mortis: Challenging and Accessible Content
  • Relevance: Science as an Authentic Context for Using the Skills of Literacy and Mathematics
  • Relationships: Building Professional Relationships for Transformative Learning
More than 400 sessions will be offered for teachers in every grade band and every discipline. Full day programs are planned for those focusing on biology, chemistry, physical science, and physics.  So there’s a range of options to choose, issues like assessment and inquiry-based learning to study, networking with your peers and the experts, and inspiration to share. Register on site to take advantage of this opportunity.

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NSTA Announces 2010 Board and Council Candidates

NSTA is pleased to announce that the 2010 board and council candidates have been selected. Below is the list of 2010 candidates. The official ballot will be distributed to NSTA membership at the end of December and the new board and council members will be announced in mid-February. Congratulations to this year’s candidates!

NSTA Board Candidates

Barbara Pietrucha
Patricia Simmons

College Division
Tom Lord
Tim Slater

Coordination & Supervision Division
Craig Gabler
Linda Lacy

High School Science Teaching Division
Michael Lowry
James Puckett


NSTA Council Candidates

District III Director
Gloria Allen
Charles Mercer

District V Director
Stephen Crandall
Cindy Willingham

District IX Director
Ryan Bleth
Ramona Lundberg

District XI Director
Sally Harms
James Rynearson

District XV Director
John Graves
Vana Richards

District XVII Director
Vicki Horton
Jennifer Thompson

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FDA/NSTA Web Seminar—Applications of Nanotechnology in Cosmetics and Foods

Science teachers, grades 5–12: here’s your chance to learn more about food microbiology, food processing, food epidemiology, nutrition, and the public health impact of food safety. You’ll hear from a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) presenter who’ll share science expertise, answer your questions, and tell you about websites your students can use in the classroom. Other possible discussion topics include disease, outbreaks, nutrition, personal hygiene, and cosmetic and food safety. If you attended the FDA Symposia at the NSTA Area Conference in Fort Lauderdale, you can build on what you learned there by participating in this web seminar.

This free program will take place on Tuesday, November 24, 6:30–8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Visit the NSTA Learning Center web page for more details.

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Montana State Spring Online Courses Include "Across the Sciences" and HHMI-sponsored Microbiology

An online pilot course called "Across the Sciences" helps high school teachers who are teaching outside of their endorsement areas. The 16-week course was developed by Oregon Public Broadcasting and Biological Science Curriculum Study and is offered this spring through Montana State University's National Teachers Enhancement Network. Teachers earn three graduate credits and gain a better understanding of science content for which they are not certified. Units include Physical Sciences, Life Sciences and Earth/Space Sciences. Teachers chosen to participate pay a $200 registration fee, which is returned upon completion and evaluation of the course.

In spring, MSU also offers Microbial Ecology (MB 542). The 3-credit graduate course is just $150, thanks to sponsorship from the Hughes Undergraduate Biology Program with funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The course covers the ecology of microorganisms in relation to nutrition, growth, control, metabolism, biogeochemical cycling, natural environments and microbial interactions. Visit eu.montana.edu/NTEN for these and other elementary and secondary online courses for Spring 2010.

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Sponsored by:

Forestry Field Studies-NSTA Press

Designing Effective Science Instruction-NSTA Press

40 Inquiry Exercises-NSTA Press

Learn more about NSTA e-newsletter sponsorships

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 November featured book, NSTA Guide to Planning School Science Facilities, 2nd Edition.

Click on the logo above for more information and to register for 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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