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Week of June 14, 2010

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Congratulations to the Recipients of the 2010 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

On Monday, the White House announced the 103 science and math teachers from across the country who are the recipients of this year’s Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is awarded annually to the best pre-college-level science and mathematics teachers from across the country. Each year the award alternates between mathematics and science teachers teaching Kindergarten through 6th grade, and those teaching 7th through 12th grades. This year it goes to teachers teaching 7th through 12th grades.

Winners of this Presidential honor receive a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation to be used at their discretion. They also receive an expenses-paid trip to Washington, DC, for an awards ceremony and several days of educational and celebratory events, including visits with members of Congress and science agency leaders.

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CSSS President to Oversee Development of National Science Standards

Stephen Pruitt, current president of the Council of State Science Supervisors (CS3), an NSTA affiliate organization, is leaving his post as chief of staff for the Georgia Department of Education to become the director of science for Achieve. Achieve is working with several national partners (including NSTA) to develop the next generation of science standards, which Pruitt will now oversee. Achieve is a nonprofit, DC-based organization that works to ensure all high school graduates are prepared for college and/or careers. Founded in 1996 by the nation’s governors and corporate leaders, Achieve helps states raise academic standards, improve assessments and strengthen accountability. To learn more about Achieve visit www.achieve.org. To learn more about CS3, go to www.csss-science.org.

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STEM Ed: Are We Beginning to See the Light?

A new snapshot of parent perceptions of STEM education was released last week following a survey conducted earlier this year by Public Agenda.

While there's broad support from parents and the general public for K–12 national standards, more than half of parents (52%) say the math and science their child is getting in school is "fine as it is," contends Public Agenda in the survey report titled Are We Beginning to See the Light?

Survey results also indicate that the general public favors a “national curriculum” as one way of improving STEM education: 8 in 10 Americans say establishing a national curriculum in math would improve STEM education, with more than half (53%) saying it would improve it “a lot.” And 78% say the same about a national curriculum in science, with 48% saying it would improve it “a lot.”

Seventy percent of parents surveyed said they would also like to see their local schools spend more money on up-to-date and well-equipped science labs, more equipment for hands-on learning (69%) and more equipment to help students learn computer and technology skills (68%). The majority of parents with children in grades 6–12 say they want to see more emphasis in their child’s school on STEM topics such as computer programming (65%), basic engineering principles (52%), and statistics and probability (49%).

While only 3 in 10 Americans see a demand for science and math-focused jobs in the current economy, 84% agree that there will be a lot more jobs in the future that require math and science skills. And 9 in 10 Americans say studying advanced math and science is useful even for students who don’t pursue a STEM career. Additionally, 88% of the public agrees that students with advanced math and science skills will have an advantage when it comes to college opportunities.

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Summer Study for Content Knowledge

Build your content knowledge through NSTA’s Learning Center this summer when you have more time for professional development. Teachers who need to brush up on science topics can access the most convenient, economical, and versatile resources right here, learningcenter.nsta.org.

Accessible whenever you are ready and from your laptop, teachers will find core resources that provide rich and robust professional development activities and experiences to meet a variety of adult learning styles to build on basic levels of content knowledge.

  • Ten hours of learning sessions provide real world science content and concepts.
  • Content presented in an instructional context.
  • Final assessment, if passed, demonstrates proficiency in subject.
  • Custom lesson plans, vignettes, student work samples offered through our SciGuides.
  • Journal articles, peer-reviewed and searchable, on relevant content are accessible from K–16.
  • E-book chapters accessible from 120 science teaching titles.
  • Two-hour online learning experiences available on key concepts.
  • Web seminars led by professional development experts provide content lectures and online discussion with participants.

For more information, visit the Learning Center or call 703.312.9201 for details. Check out our FREE Science Objects on topics like Cell Structure and Function: Cells—The Basis of Life.

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Elementary Educators to Attend Science Institute

Elementary educators interested in professional development this summer are invited to attend the NSTA Elementary Institute, Aug. 5–7 in New Orleans. Teams (classroom teachers, science coaches, and administrators) or individual teachers will have the opportunity to work together to move their science programs toward excellence. Teams will identify elements of effective science instruction for teaching and learning and explore strategies that promote learning through scientific inquiry. Renowned experts on science instruction will facilitate and lead this powerful learning experience to assist in transforming science in your school. Participants in the Teachers Strand can look forward to hands-on activities including content-based experiences with a focus on inquiry. Dr. Rodger Bybee will lead the Administrators Strand, Linda Froschauer and Tim Cooney will lead our Teachers Strand, and Dr. Christine Royce and Steve Rich will lead our Teacher Coach/Leader Strand. For more information, visit the NSTA Elementary Institute’s web pages.

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Making Picture-Perfect Science Lessons Even Better

Who says you can't top perfection? Never before has combining the appeal of children's picture books with standards-based science content been more perfect. NSTA announces the release of a revised and expanded edition of the award winning, Picture-Perfect Science Lessons, Using Children's Books to Guide Inquiry, 3–6.

Authors and classroom veterans Karen Ansberry and Emily Morgan offer ready-to-teach lessons ideal for the time pressed teachers looking to integrate science and reading. Hands-on inquiry-lessons coupled with diverse children's trade books such as, Oil Spill, and Dr. Xargle's Book of Earthlets, engage struggling and reluctant readers and promote scientific discovery. The second edition offers five brand-new, classroom-tested lessons, bringing the total to 25. Additionally the authors have added comprehensive background notes for each chapter and included new reading strategies.

Whether you are already using Picture-Perfect in your classroom or are new to the bestselling series this book is intended to support, enrich, and extend your current curriculum. Adaptable to your student's needs and your own teaching style, students' and teachers alike will rave. Order your copy today!

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From the NSTA Calendar: Student Spaceflight Experiments Program

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) has launched the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), a historic opportunity for students to propose experiments for the final scheduled flight of the Space Shuttle, STS-134. SSEP provides middle and high school classes across the nation the ability to propose experiments to fly in low Earth orbit, and to celebrate that accomplishment with their local community and with national and global audiences. Entire school districts can participate, with student teams proposing experiments like professional scientists and engineers.

Selected student experiments would fly for 10 days aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour. Launch is tentatively scheduled for November 2010, but a launch slip to mid-January is expected. Endeavour’s flight will be used as a gateway to Phase 2 of the SSEP: sustainable, ongoing access to space for grades 5–12 students inspired to propose experiments for low Earth orbit aboard the International Space Station (with transport via the Russian Progress and Soyuz vehicles), and on suborbital space flights.

Visit the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program website for full details about this time-critical program opportunity, and a call to action in your community.

And then visit the NSTA online calendar for more science education opportunities.

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The Science Teacher Seeks New Column Authors

The Science Teacher (TST) is on the hunt for two new column authors! Want to write for us? Check out the calls below:

TST: New Teacher Column
Do you remember your first years teaching science? Want to share what you’ve learned with new teachers? TST is looking for someone to write a new column aimed at beginning science teachers. This regular, one-page column will feature quick tips for science teachers just starting out. If you have at least 3–5 years of teaching experience and want to write this column, send a resume, a few suggested topics, and two 720-word columns to tst@nsta.org by July 1. Share some tips that you wish you’d known your first year! (An honorarium per column will be provided; column is published nine times a year.)

TST: Green Teaching Column
TST is also looking for someone to write a new column on making classrooms—and teaching—greener. This regular, one-page column will provide green tips and practical classroom activities, with a focus on environmental education as well. If you’d like to write this column, send a resume, a few suggested topics, and two 720-word columns to tst@nsta.org by July 1. (An honorarium per column will be provided; column is published nine times a year.)

Also interested in submitting a manuscript? Check out our latest Call for Papers. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Last Chance for Summer! Online Courses from the Museum of Natural History

Seminars on Science connects 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. Courses include Earth: Inside and Out; The Ocean System; The Solar System; Genetics, Genomics, Genethics; Evolution; and more.

All courses run for six weeks and are fully online. Each participant receives a CD of course resources suitable for classroom use. Affordable graduate credit is available for all courses (see website for details).

Please see the website for the full course listing. Free sample resources for each course—including essays, videos and interactive simulations—are available online. Summer Session 2 runs July 5–August 15. Registration closes June 21. 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 June featured book, Exemplary Science in Informal Education Settings: Standards-Based Success Stories.

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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