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Week of March 1, 2010

Table of Contents

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NSTA Legislative Update: Work Begins on Reauthorization of No Child Left Behind

House education leaders announced they will begin a "bipartisan, open and transparent effort to rewrite No Child Left Behind." Read all about it, and more, in this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update.

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March Madness for Science Teachers and Administrators

For science educators who need a little March Madness to invigorate their lives, NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education, March 18–21, in Philadelphia will do. This premier conference brings thousands of teachers and administrators to its door to enjoy an historic city and invest their time and energy in professional development. Workshops, symposia, presentations and more than 2000 sessions offer content knowledge development, strategies that improve student performance, and tips and techniques the experts find successful. Presenters like Bill Nye the Science Guy, National Geographic’s Greg Marshall who conceived the Crittercam, a revolutionary research tool borne by an animal that records images, sound, and data from the animal’s perspective, and President Banquet speaker Charles F. Bolden, Jr., NASA Administrator, will entertain and inspire. For teachers from every grade band (K–16) and every discipline, this conference shouldn’t be missed.

Consider a sampling of sessions:

  • Bring Live Theater into the Science Classroom (Elem–Middle School)
  • Fantastic Voyage: The Human Body in Space (Elem–Middle School)
  • A Great Solution: Science Combined with Literature (Elem)
  • Advancing Science as Inquiry: Professional Development Tools You Can Use (Elem–High)
  • The Science of Energy—Hands-on activities that investigate forms of energy—motion, sound, thermal and radiant energy, electrical and chemical energy—and the energy transformations between them. (Middle–High)
  • NASA Brings You Newton's Laws of Motion—Twenty hands-on investigations. (Middle–High)
  • Fueling the Future: Energy Interconnections and Sustainable Options—Hands-on lessons that demonstrate the interconnections between energy sources, human choices, economic challenges, and environmental impacts. Free curriculum. (Middle–High/Informal)
  • Empirical Evidence vs. Intuition and the Let's Make a Deal Game Show (High School–College)
  • Seven Inquiry-based Labs That Integrate the Physical Sciences and Algebra (High)
  • Redesigning the Laboratory Investigation: Integrating Inquiry into Chemistry (High)
  • The Science of Alcohol: Moving Health and Prevention into Inquiry-based Science (Middle–High/Supervision)
  • Using Formative Assessment in the Classroom to Make Students Responsible for Their Own Learning (Middle–High/Supervision)
  • Climate Change Here and Now: Coastal, Ocean, and Atmospheric Impacts (ticketed) (Teachers Grades 5–12)
  • Field trip-Anatomy and Human Medical Anomalies Museum (ticketed)

Visit www.nsta.org/philadelphia to register.

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NSTA and Children's Book Council Release 2010 List of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12

The 37-year-old partnership between the National Science Teachers Association and the Children's Book Council has been a celebration of great books, and this year's list of outstanding science trade books is another great one. This year—the 40th anniversary of humankind's “one small step” on the Moon—there is high interest in both space exploration and technology. Several of the winners describe scientific achievements that occurred when most of our students' parents were children, yet their emphasis on scientific method and the excitement of inquiry will inspire future thinking in every reader. As in past years, books on the life sciences remain the most consistent source of high-interest books at the elementary level. Many of the winners have special features that make them ideal for sharing; lyric prose that reads like poetry; large, detailed graphics and photos that can be used for inquiry; and dual-level text for young readers and their mentors to share.

Those of you who've enjoyed this list for years will notice a change in the categories this year. Rather than group the books according to topic, we've reorganized them according to the National Science Education Standard that they most fully support (although many will fall into more than one, and this is noted in each annotation). You'll also notice that this year we've attached some supplemental material that can be used to extend learning. Click the links at the end of the review to learn more.

The full list appears in the March editions of Science and Children, Science Scope, and The Science Teacher. You can also go online to view the 2010 list and see those from previous years. Happy reading!

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From the NSTA Calendar: Be a Star Hunter

Join thousands of teachers, students, and families around the globe to hunt for stars, March 3–16. During GLOBE at Night (GAN), an annual, international event, you will observe the nighttime sky and learn more about light pollution. You can complete this observation and reporting activity in approximately 15 to 30 minutes. You’ll submit your measurements online, and a few weeks later, GAN organizers will release a map of light-pollution levels worldwide. Free teacher and family activity packets are available at the website.

Visit the NSTA online calendar, open 24/7, for more science education opportunities.

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Bring the Solar System to Your Community—Become a MESSENGER Fellow

Take part in the current golden era of Solar System exploration by becoming a MESSENGER Educator Fellow! As an integral part of NASA's MESSENGER mission to Mercury, the Fellows will help bring the excitement of this daring mission to classrooms across the nation. Visit MESSENGER.jhuapl.edu for more information on the mission, and messenger-education.org for more information on the education and public outreach efforts of the mission. Applications are due April 10.

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New from NSTA Press: Brain-Powered Science

NSTA’s new title Brain-Powered Science is an ideal resource for middle and high school teachers looking to encourage inquiry-based thinking. Using experiments based on the science of a “discrepant event”—an experiment or demonstration in which the outcome is not what students expect—33 hands-on activities motivate students to reconsider preconceived notions and think about what has actually occurred. Author Thomas O’Brian invites teachers to actively participate in the thought-provoking demonstrations to question and revise their own assumptions about the nature of science, teaching and learning. The dual-purpose activities, which are each analogous to a pedagogical principle, will uncover unpredicted results for both student and teacher, leading to a deeper understanding of science concepts.

Also included are more than 200 up-to-date internet resources, as well as extensions to each of the physical science, biology, and chemistry activities—bringing the total number to nearly 120. Most importantly this text reminds teachers that the study of science is full of surprise and should be both meaningful and fun for students. Visit the Science Store to download a chapter.

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NSTA Online Professional Learning Strand at ISTE, June 2010

The word is out. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is having their annual conference in Denver, Colorado, June 27–30. Science teachers, faculty, curriculum specialists, administrators, and technology coordinators will comprise a healthy percentage of those attending this conference. This year, NSTA is providing a full-day (6/29) Online Professional Learning Strand with a strong list of highly regarded presenters: Eric N. Wiebe, NC State University; Chris Dede, Harvard University; Michael J. Hannafin, University of Georgia; and our NSTA team—Albert Byers, Francis Eberle, and Flavio Mendez. Those interested in learning more should visit the ISTE 2010 website and look for the bright yellow burst with a direct link to NSTA's online learning strand summary. The earlybird deadline is March 31 for this conference.

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Did You Know?

Since mid-2009, NSTA has been helping educators in the science education field cut through the clutter of traditional search engine results with our NSTA Science Supply Guide available online at nstasciencesupplyguide.com.

The NSTA Science Supply Guide enables professionals like you to conveniently perform targeted searches for industry-related products and services using either a user-defined keyword search, or an alphabetized directory search by product categories. Both methods produce the most industry-relevant results on the web. Imagine blending a Google™-style search engine with the Yellow Pages and you have the NSTA Science Supply Guide, now the science teacher’s premier online supplier directory.

We feel confident you will find the NSTA Science Supply Guide a valuable tool for researching, selecting and purchasing the industry resources you’re looking for. Please take a few minutes to visit our guide and see how it can work for you.

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Earn an MS from Mississippi State University

The Teachers in Geosciences program at Mississippi State University provides you with the opportunity to earn a Master of Science degree through distance learning. All of the core earth science courses are taught online. The program concludes with an 8- to 10-day capstone field course that is taught during the summer at a variety of locations including Yellowstone/Grand Tetons, Western Washington State, the Sierra, Central Arizona, Upstate NY, Western Lake Superior, the Outer Banks, the Bahamas, and the Great Plains Storm Chase.

Our 12-course, 36-credit hour graduate program is designed to take as little as two years to complete and includes courses in meteorology, geology, planetary science, oceanography, hydrology, and environmental geoscience. We have alumni in all 50 states and all students qualify for in-state tuition rates.

Please visit our website or contact Joy Bailey for additional information.

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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, Science Fairs Plus: Reinventing an Old Favorite.

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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