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Week of April 12, 2010

Table of Contents

Get Ready for Earth Day, April 22!

Earth Day Network is launching an Earth Day 40th Anniversary curriculum, highlighting the history of the modern environmental movement and featuring standards-based lessons and multimedia resources. During the 2009–2011 school years, Earth Day Network will carry out 40 global signature school greenings. The Educators’ Network website will have a menu of ideas for up to 100,000 educational events.

Students in grades 5–8 can enter the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) Earth Day Photo and Essay Contest. To participate, they must take a photograph anytime from April 19 to April 30, 2010. The contest will award prizes, such as digital cameras, to winning students. Photos could depict a change taking place in a backyard or neighborhood, near school or in a local park, or off in the distance toward the horizon. The contest deadline is May 12.

The American Chemical Society (ACS) observes Earth Day with its Chemists Celebrate Earth Day program. The ACS offers events, contests, and educational resources (including free materials) that chemical educators and chemistry enthusiasts can use to illustrate the role of chemistry in the world. The Earth Day 2010 theme is "Plants—The Green Machines."

For more Earth Day events and other science education opportunities, visit the NSTA online calendar.

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Sixth Grade Class from Iowa Selected as the National Grand Prize Winner of the Inaugural Disney's Planet Challenge

Congratulations to Mrs. Julie Schnedler and her sixth grade Mediapolis Community School class for being selected as the national grand prize winner of the inaugural Disney’s Planet Challenge. Disney’s Planet Challenge is a project-based learning environmental competition for 4th to 6th grade classrooms.

Planet Challenge Winners

Mrs. Schnedler’s class, located in a small rural community in Iowa, focused on saving the Northern Bobwhite Quail population for their project. The waning quail population—due to harsh weather and decreased prairie land—is a significant environmental issue facing Des Moines County. To restore their natural habitat, students collected information through computer research and field work. With the help of community members, the class restored acres of existing conservation space in Luckenbill Woods by conducting a controlled burn to prepare the land and replanting native vegetation, which will benefit local quails, promote diversity of wildlife and help to control soil erosion. Mrs. Schnedler’s class will be honored in a recognition ceremony and parade at Disneyland® on May 7, 2010, and featured on Disney Channel as youth environmental leaders.

Disney’s Planet Challenge was developed in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association and WestEd K–12 Alliance. To learn more about the program or the 2010 grand prize winners, visit www.disney.com/planetchallenge.

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National Lab Day Set for May 12, 2010

May 12 will be the first official National Lab Day! A number of key events in Washington and in selected states are being planned.

Not signed up yet? Not to worry: even if May 12 doesn’t work for you, National Lab Day is more than just a day. Whether you are looking for help with your science fair, or maybe someone to host a field trip, advise an after-school program, help with a hands-on activity, or supply some cool lab equipment, National Lab Day can help.

At the NLD website you simply sign up then submit your idea for a project (or what you need in your classroom) and the website matches your request with a STEM professional who has also joined the NLD hub. (And you can also get funding for your classroom or project by registering on Donors Choose on the NLD site!)

Learn more and to sign up your project for National Lab Day at www.nationallabday.org today.

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Summer Professional Development Opportunities from NSTA

Moving Toward Excellence in Elementary Science Teaching for Learning
August 5–7, 2010

The purpose of this exciting hands-on three-day institute is to bring together the collaborative efforts of school building administrators, coaches/teacher leaders, and classroom teachers on behalf of quality science education. NSTA has partnered with some of the nation’s renowned leaders on science instruction to facilitate and lead this powerful professional development experience that will assist with transforming science in your school:

  • Administrator Strand: Facilitated by Dr. Rodger Bybee
  • Classroom Teacher Strand: Facilitated by Linda Froschauer and Dr. Tim Cooney
  • Lead Teacher/Coach Strand: Facilitated by Dr. Christine Royce and Mr. Steve Rich

Developing Elementary and Middle School Leaders in Urban Districts to Improve Teaching and Learning of Science
August 2–5, 2010

The purpose of the 2010 USEL Academy is to positively affect student achievement through the development of leaders who will help guide reform of the learning, teaching, and assessing of science in elementary/middle schools.  Leaders will be driven by personal experiences, knowledge of the change process, use of research, relevant data, and the leadership skills developed in collaboration with others. This exciting and powerful institute will be facilitated by Dr. Adriane Dorrington. The featured guest speaker will be Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr., astronaut.

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2010 AAAS Leadership in Science Education Prize for High School Teachers

Calling all US high school science department chairs and administrators: You are invited to nominate teachers for the 2010 AAAS Leadership in Science Education Prize for High School Teachers. The $1,000 prize honors a high school science teacher who has advanced science education by developing and implementing an effective strategy, activity, or program. For more information, contact Lester Matlock or go to the website for prize details, nomination forms, and application forms.

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NSTA's Online Professional Learning Strand at ISTE, June 2010

For Science teachers, faculty, curriculum specialists, administrators, and technology coordinators, the ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) annual conference offers the first summer professional development opportunity in 2010 scheduled to be held in Denver, Colorado, June 27–30. This year, NSTA is providing a full day, Online Professional Learning Strand with a 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, with Francis Eberle, and Flavio Mendez. Those interested in learning more should visit the conference website and look for the bright yellow burst with a direct link to NSTA’s online learning strand summary.

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Uncovering Student Ideas in Physical Science, Volume 1: Force and Motion Available May 2010

Teachers will competently face the challenge of teaching physical science now that nationally known science educator Page Keeley—principal author of the hugely popular, four-volume series Uncovering Students Ideas in Science—has teamed up with physicist and science educator Rand Harrington to write this first volume in their new series.

Using Keeley’s successful assessment probe methodology, teachers are able to find out what students really think about key ideas in force and motion, then adjust their instruction accordingly. The book specifies grade spans (K–5, 6–8, 9–12) for each of 45 probes, based on state and national standards, and suggests ways to adapt a probe for a different grade span or context. Save 10% when you pre-order online by April 30, 2010, using promo code EBMAR.

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NSTA's Lab Out Loud Interviews Paleontologist Scott Sampson from Dinosaur Train

Join Brian Bartel and Dale Basler, co-hosts of Lab Out Loud, as they interview “Paleontologist Scott” from the PBS hit show Dinosaur Train. In episode 46, Paleontologist Scott talks about the show, being a paleontologist, and his new book Dinosaur Odyssey.

Hosted by two science teachers, Lab Out Loud is a podcast that discusses science news and science education by interviewing leading scientists, researchers, science writers, and other important figures in the field.

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Eighteen NSTA Conference Sessions to Entertain and Inform Science Educators

Educators who attended the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Philadelphia in mid-March can purchase access to NSTA’s eConference Center—a repository of 18 featured presentations by leading science educators and professional development experts at the conference. You and your school colleagues, who missed these discussions on critical issues in education, can participate virtually by accessing top sessions and share in the learning. Captured with live audio and delivered with synchronized slides and handouts, you can even download to your iPod or mp3 player for portable listening. We offer this service just for attendees for $29 through April 30, 2010. Be sure to follow the directions explicitly to get your attendee discount. Other educators can purchase the set for $79. Visit www.softconference.com/nsta to order your eConference Center access today. A sampling of the sessions:

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Science Kit Middle School catalog

Outdoor Science sponsorship

NSTA eConference Center sponsorship

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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, Forestry Field Studies: A Manual for Science Teachers.

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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