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Week of November 15, 2010

Table of Contents

Sponsored by:
Busch Gardens Sea World

Sponsored by:
Pearson ad

NSTA Board Adopts New Position Statement—Teaching Science and Technology in the Context of Societal and Personal Issues

The NSTA Board of Directors voted recently to adopt a newly revised position statement advocating for K–16 science instruction to be provided within the context of personal and societal issues. The statement recognizes the influence that science and technology have on our lives, and how these issues provide a rich and motivating context in which students can learn the principles and practices of science and technology. The draft statement gives recommendations on what students should know and be able to do and how science instruction should occur within the context of societal and personal issues.

NSTA wishes to thank the members of the position statement panel who developed the new statement, click here. To view and download the new statement, click here. To view all NSTA position statements, click here.

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Sponsored by:
Verizon Foundation-Thinkfinity.org

Spirit of Innovation Awards Launches 2010–2011 Competitions

The Conrad Foundation Spirit of Innovation Awards is now accepting entries for its 2010–2011 program year. The competition challenges teams of high school students to create innovative products using science, technology, and entrepreneurship to solve 21st century, real-world problems. Students receive support from scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs to develop product concepts and bring winning ideas to the marketplace. Teams compete in one of three categories: Clean Energy, Aerospace Exploration, and Cyber Security. The deadline for submissions is January 17, 2011.

See what past teachers have to say about the program in this video.

This year’s program features a newly updated online community designed to engage students, teachers and mentors with team profiles, blogs, forums, message boards and other resources. A series of Teacher Orientation Webinars will be held this Thursday, November 18, at 12:30 p.m. PST and Friday, November 19, at 3:30 p.m. PST. Space is limited. Reserve your webinar seat now.

For more information, visit www.conradawards.org.

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Sponsored by:
NSTA Conference-Nashville

NSTA and Children's Book Council Release 2011 List of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12

NSTA and the CBC have selected the annual list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12. The list of titles includes everything from conservation to physics and features read-aloud books, encyclopedia-type texts, and even poetry. Teachers, parents, librarians, and anyone else who loves reading with children will want to get their hands on these titles.

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National Governors Association Forms STEM Advisory Committee

The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) has formed a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Advisory Committee to inform its work in this area and help the 29 new governors, as well as incumbents, develop comprehensive STEM agendas in their states. The committee will guide the expansion of the NGA Center STEM agenda to include both K–12 and higher education; provide a series of recommendations for building and advancing comprehensive STEM education agendas; and inform the development of a national STEM meeting the NGA Center will host in the fall of 2011.

For more information about NGA Center STEM education efforts and to view the list of committee members, visit the NGA Center website.

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Congratulations to the 2010 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy Fellows

NSTA, in partnership with Astellas Pharma US, Inc. ("Astellas"); Bayer Corporation; and ServiceMaster, today announced the 48 middle and secondary science teachers from across the country who will take part as Fellows in the 2010 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy. Selected from hundreds of applicants nationwide, the Fellows will participate in a yearlong professional development program designed to help promote quality science teaching, enhance teacher confidence and classroom excellence, and improve teacher content knowledge.

Representing 29 states, the 2010 Fellows will receive a comprehensive NSTA membership package, online mentoring with trained mentors who teach in the same discipline, and the opportunity to participate in a variety of web-based professional development activities, including web seminars. In addition, each Fellow will receive financial support to attend and participate in NSTA's 2011 National Conference on Science Education in San Francisco.

For a list of the 2010 Fellows or to learn more about the program, visit www.nsta.org/academy. Applications for next year's Academy will be available January 2011.

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From the NSTA Calendar: Hot Science, Cool Talk

Curious about nanotechnology? Join the University of Texas Environmental Science Institute (ESI) for a look into the future of renewable energy on December 3. In a lecture called Powered Paint: Nanotech Solar Ink, presenter Brian Korgel will discuss his research and development of solar ink that can be applied to surfaces for solar energy retention. As part of its Hot Science—Cool Talks Lecture Series, ESI will host the presentation at 7 p.m. Central Time (CT).

This free lecture will take place at The University of Texas campus in Welch Hall, room 2.224. Can’t make it to Austin, Texas? Watch a live webcast. (Log on at 6:45 CT to download the plug-ins needed for viewing.)

For more hot science and cool events, check out the NSTA Calendar.

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A Path to Visual Literacy

Fifty percent of science lessons in today’s elementary textbooks use visual information to help demonstrate concepts. It is more important then ever for elementary and middle school educators to assist students in building visual literacy skills. Developing Visual Literacy in Science, K–8 is the most comprehensive resource for guiding students through interpreting photographs, charts, diagrams, figures, labels, and graphic symbols.

The authors begin by describing visual literacy as a “must-have skill of the 21st century.”  They stress the significance that it will play in a students’ future, especially for those who choose to purse careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math.) The introduction is followed by several chapters explaining the different types of visuals with strategies and techniques for using visual/spatial organizational tools to expand students’ knowledge of science concepts.  Also included are sample lessons that teachers will use to practice their newly acquired skills either with their class or in a professional learning community.

The final chapter of the book re-emphasizes the need for students to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate in a variety of forms in order to become well rounded, visually literate adults in today’s “information age.”

“This book illustrates an important and critical issue in education: the plight of students who  need additional support in learning essential concepts, whether they are students who need multiple experiences with concepts over time, ELL students, economically disadvantaged students with limited language and vocabulary, or others whose circumstances handicap their educational progress and success. This book provides not only valuable information but an invaluable social service as well.”—Nancy Chesley, Elementary Science, Mathematics and Literacy Specialist, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance

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Lab Out Loud and Science You Can Learn

This week, hosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler discuss science you can learn, as they talk with Dr. Natalie Kuldell (instructor) and Daniel Carchidi (Publications Director) about MIT OpenCourseWare. OpenCourseWare is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content, which is free and available to the world.

How do you learn science? Join the conversation at www.laboutloud.com to share your favorite resources, media, and websites that you use to learn science.

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Earn a Master's Degree from the University of Maryland

Designed for middle and high school science teachers, the University of Maryland's Master of Chemical and Life Sciences expands your knowledge, updates your expertise, and advances your career. The 30-credit, content-based, professional master’s program offers in-depth knowledge of current research areas in the biological, biochemical, and biomedical sciences. Aside from laboratory experience, courses are offered exclusively online, benefiting working professionals with flexibility, convenience, and accessibility. Dynamic faculty with academic credentials and experience deliver a better understanding of major science concepts in an interactive environment. 

Find out more! Visit the University of Maryland website.

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Sponsored by:

USA Today-NASA Engineering Design Challenge

USA Today-STEM Career Competition

Exemplary Science for Resolving Societal Challenges-NSTA Press

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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, Assessing Science Learning.

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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