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Week of September 13, 2010

Table of Contents

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NSTA Board Adopts New Position Statement: The Role of Research on Science Teaching and Learning

The NSTA Board of Directors voted recently to adopt a new position statement on the role of research on science teaching and learning. The statement encourages all participants in science education to assume active roles in research practices, and sets forth a number of declarations regarding the focus, practice, and use of research on science teaching and learning. The new statement replaces two old statements—The Role of Research in Science Teaching (1990) and Research in Science Education (1992). To view the new statement, click here. To view all NSTA position statements, go to www.nsta.org/position.

NSTA would like to thank the members of the position statement panel who developed the new statement as well as the NSTA members who submitted feedback during the public review process. We also wish to recognize the contributions of panel member Sandra K. Abell, who passed away on August 24. Sandi was director of the MU Science Education Center at the University of Missouri and has been an international leader in science education research. She presented frequently at NSTA conferences, published in NSTA journals, and was named a 2010 NSTA Fellow, an award that recognizes NSTA members who have made extraordinary contributions to science education.

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Explore Mars, NSTA and the Planetary Society Announce Nationwide Launch of New Competition for High School Science Educators

This week, Explore Mars, in partnership with NSTA and The Planetary Society, announced the nationwide launch of the Mars Education Challenge, a new competition that calls on high school science educators to develop new and innovative curricula that focus on Mars science and exploration.

The Challenge will recognize six winning curricula entries with five regional awards and one national award. Regional winners will receive $2,500 grants and the national winner will receive a $5,000 grant. Additionally, all of the winners will have an opportunity to do field research with well-known planetary scientists. The national winner will receive an expense paid trip to NSTA’s 2011 National Conference on Science Education in San Francisco where he or she will be recognized at a special awards ceremony. Winning lesson plans will be shared with classrooms nationwide.

Curricula submissions are due January 5, 2011. More information, including entry details, curricula requirements, and detailed prizing information for the Mars Education Challenge, can be found at www.exploremars.org.

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Data-driven Learning Strand Enhances Teaching of Core Concepts

NSTA’s first fall Conference on Science Education is scheduled for Oct. 28–30 in Kansas City, Missouri. Science teachers and administrators will find strands offered on critical issues in education today. “Data-driven Learning” is just one such strand with many workshops covered and a featured presentation by Aminata Umoja, Educational Consultant, titled Unleashing the Power of Data to Improve Science Teaching and Learning. Consider just a few of the sessions that will help science teachers tackle the 21st century head-on:

  • Creating Effective Science Literacy Assessments
  • Impact of Standards-based Grading on Student Learning
  • Improving Assessments, Increasing Rigor
  • Differentiating Instruction with SKITs: Individualized Self-Assessment Tools for Any Classroom
  • Paperless Formative and Summative Assessment
  • Tools for Data-driven Biology Teaching
  • The Impact of Collective Efficacy on High School Science Achievement
  • The Reflective Assessment Technique: Fifteen Minutes to Improved Instruction
  • Sound Grading Practices

There are more than 400 sessions to choose from. Teachers from every grade band and in every discipline are invited to participate. The conference provides short courses, daylong discipline-specific programs, stimulating field trips, social gatherings, and hands-on practical workshops to learn new strategies and build content knowledge. Visit www.nsta.org/kansascity for details and to register. The earlybird deadline is Sept. 17.

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U.S. Dept. of Ed Announces Challenge to Innovate Contest

The U.S. Department of Education and the NEA Foundation have launched Challenge to Innovate (C2i), a new contest that will give educators nationwide the opportunity to address pressing education needs.

The Education Department’s Open Innovation Portal will host the Challenge to Innovate, a three-phase challenge from the NEA Foundation. The first phase of the challenge, from Sept. 7 through Oct. 19, asks educators to share their most pressing classroom challenges that can be solved with $500 or less.  The five ideas with the most votes, as judged by the Open Innovation Portal community, will each receive $1000 from the NEA Foundation.

In the second phase, from Nov. 16 through Jan. 14, educators will post the best solutions to the winning challenges. Up to 10 solutions will receive a $2,500 implementation grant from the NEA Foundation for their schools.

In the final phase of C2i, from Jan. 17 through Feb. 4, the NEA Foundation will select and post up to three solutions to receive a $5,000 planning grant and technical support. 

For more information or to register for the NEA Foundation’s Challenge to Innovate (C2i) go to innovation.ed.gov

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Enhance Your Content Knowlege From Your Laptop

We’re kicking off our fall season of free, 90-minute web seminars and invite you to consider enriching your content knowledge by attending these interesting online interactive events.

  • Lunar Nautics—For teachers of grades 5–8: learn how to teach your students to gather and analyze data related to living and working in space. Featured lessons will focus on a conceptual, real-world understanding of Newton's laws and address common misconceptions associated with the laws. Sept. 14, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm Eastern time.
  • What is ExploraVision and How Can I Use It?—If you want your students (K–12) to compete for terrific prizes in this competition, you’ll need to know how to begin. Teams will create and explore a vision of future technology by combining their imaginations with the tools of science. Sept. 15, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm Eastern time.
  • An Introduction to Earth’s Climate—Examine techniques to help students understand the difference between weather and climate and highlight a classroom activity that fosters student understanding of climate averages. Sept. 22, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm Eastern time.
  • Clues to Climates of the Past—We will survey the types of records that are used to understand climate of the past with both direct and indirect evidence of climate and global change. Sept. 28, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm Eastern time.
  • Inspire Your Students to Solve the Challenges of Space—Learn how to prepare your students today to be scientists tomorrow, modeled after NASA scientists and engineers. Sept. 30, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm Eastern time.

Visit the NSTA Learning Center to learn more or to register.

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NSTA's Conference on Science Education, Baltimore, an East Coast Getaway

The earlybird deadline for registering for this outstanding event for science educators is Sept. 24. Take time for breathing new content, inspiration, and teaching strategies into your career in the dynamic city of Baltimore. Presenter and keynote Bill Nye the Science Guy will kick off the conference general session. Consider more than 400 sessions offered to science educators at every stage in their careers, from preservice teachers to veterans. All disciplines are invited with find full-day and half-day discipline-specific programs sponsored by partner organizations. In-depth short courses, practical workshops, and presentations from renowned experts are all on the agenda. Visit www.nsta.org/baltimore for more information or to register.

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Registration Open for Upcoming Web Seminar: Building NSTA's Future … Strategy 2010

NSTA Strategic Goals 2010 coverThere is still plenty of time to register for next month’s web seminar, “Building NSTA’s Future … Strategy 2010,” taking place on Tuesday, October 12, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern. In this interactive web seminar, members of the Strategic Goals 2010 Task Force will explain the background, purpose, and development process of NSTA’s recently released Strategic Goals 2010 document. Discussion of each of the four goals will describe how each addresses current issues in science education and how NSTA’s current and future initiatives will achieve these goals. There will also be a question-and-answer session in which members of the task force will answer any questions that you may have about the document.

To submit questions to be answered during the question-and-answer portion of the web seminar, send an e-mail to strategicgoals2010@nsta.org. Please include your name, where you are from, and your question in the body of the e-mail. For more information about the web seminar or to register for the event, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

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What Research Says to the Science Teacher

Help NSTA bring you the most relevant research findings to apply in your classroom. We want to know your top 10 most important topics for the first books we’ll publish in the new series What Research Says to the Science Teacher. Please participate in the survey by following this link: www.surveymonkey.com/s/2BBPMSD. The survey will be open through Wednesday, September 15, 2010.

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Join ISTE and NSTA for a Free Webinar Showcasing School 2.0

Tour the U.S. Department of Education’s etoolkit website, containing more than 700 free resources to help educators with technology integration in the classroom. Discover resources that will help you and your school or district plan for successful technology implementation into the curriculum and classroom. Also, explore the NSTA Learning Center. You’ll see and experience tools and resources that are designed to help educators identify content knowledge gaps and document their growth toward excellence. The NSTA Learning Center has more than 5,200 electronic resources and tools for science educators' on-demand professional development.

Planning for Technology Integration in the Science Classroom with the School 2.0 Etoolkit and Other Resources
Tuesday, Sept. 21, at 12:30 pm PDT/1:30 pm MDT/2:30 pm CDT/3:30 pm EDT
Duration: 1 hour
Cost: Free, but registration is required

Click here to register now. For more information, call ISTE customer service at 1.800.336.5191 or contact Sherry Bosch at sbosch@iste.org.

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Explore Award-Winning Online Graduate Courses from the American Museum of Natural History

Seminars on Science connects classroom teachers to scientists engaged in current, real-world research. Authored by leading scientists in their fields, all courses are co-taught by an experienced educator and a researcher affiliated with AMNH. Courses include Earth: Inside and Out; 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. Fall Session 2 runs October 25 – December 5. Registration closes October 12. Register early for a $50 discount! For more information and to register, go to learn.amnh.org or call 800-649-6715.

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