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Week of December 6, 2010

Table of Contents

Sponsored by:
Verizon Foundation Thinkfinity.org

Sponsored by:
Educational Innovations Inc

Take the NSTA Survey: Differential Pay, Yes or No?

Getting and keeping highly qualified science teachers in the classroom is a huge challenge for many districts that are often competing with local businesses and industry for talented educators with science backgrounds. Other districts are considering or actually experimenting with teacher compensation models to attract science teachers, such as differential pay, which would pay teachers for working in hard-to-staff subjects (like science).

Take the NSTA survey (one question!) on differential pay.

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Applicants Needed: Join a Committee, Advisory Board, or Panel

NSTA is shaping the future of science education, and you can be a part of it. If you’re a member, consider boosting your career by joining a committee, advisory board, or panel. We are especially in need of applicants for the following committees and advisory board:

  • Committee on Nominations
  • Audit Committee
  • Science Scope Advisory Board
  • Journal of College Science Teaching Advisory Board
  • NSTA Reports! Advisory Board
  • Retired Members Advisory Board
  • Aerospace Advisory Board
  • Special Needs Advisory Board
  • Development Advisory Board
  • Investment Advisory Board

To learn more about the various opportunities available, apply online, or download an application, please click here.

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States Should Expect to Face Financial Strains in 2011, Says NGA

A new report released last week by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers predicts FY2011 will be another tough budget year for states.

“After two of the most challenging years for state budgets—one of the worst fiscal time periods since the Great Depression—revenues are expected to grow slightly, but governors-elect in most states will still face significant budget gaps as they begin to create their first budgets," says the report. “States will continue to face difficulties as they begin climbing toward pre-recession spending levels. Slow revenue growth, increased spending demands, as well as the end of stimulus funds made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act), will create a cliff in fiscal 2012 and contribute to state fiscal strains.”

For more information visit www.nga.org.

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Upcoming Free Web Seminars

NASA Reduced Gravity Flight Opportunity Web Seminar Series

Join us this week and next week (December 7, 9, and 14; 6:30–8:00 p.m. EST) for a series of web seminars entitled Experiments in Reduced Gravity: Team Reports. Hear directly from teachers, and their students, who proposed, designed and flew science experiments this summer aboard NASA's Reduced Gravity Aircraft to learn about the effects of microgravity. The presenters will share information about the design, development, and results of their experiments. They will discuss their students' involvement in the project and how other teachers can use their experiments/results in the classroom. Eleven teams of teachers from across the United States will present their findings over the course of three web seminars. Register today for one, two, or all three web seminars and learn about this NASA Teaching from Space Reduced Gravity Opportunity program. For more information, a complete schedule, and links to team abstracts and flight photos, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

How is the Nation Really Doing in Science?

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report for Science will be discussed in detail in a web seminar on January 25, 2011. The NAEP reports, also known as “The Nation’s Report Card” is the largest and most accurate representation of student progress. With the nation struggling to improve science education, this year's report is significant as educators and policy makers look for ways to increase student achievement. The seminar will cover the national and state findings and discuss results for the largest urban districts in the country. This seminar will also demonstrate how the online report tools can help teachers understand more about student learning. 

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) is teaming up with NSTA to conduct the web seminar, and Arnold Goldstein, Program Director for Design, Analysis, and Reporting in the Assessment Division, will lead attendees through the fundamentals of the report and highlight differences in students’ performance based on demographic characteristics.

For more information and to register, go to the NSTA Learning Center.

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Challenges and Prizes for Middle School Students

eCYBERMISSION, a web-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competition sponsored by the U.S. Army, poses multiple Mission Challenges in nine different areas: alternative sources of energy; ecosystems; environment; food, health, and fitness; nanotechnology; national security and safety; robots and robotics; speed, velocity, acceleration, vectors, and scalars; and sports and recreation. Teams of three to four sixth-, seventh-, eighth-, and ninth-grade students identify and solve a real-life problem, with prizes for participating and winning. Registration is open until December 17, 2010, with submissions due February 25, 2011.

For more information, please visit the eCYBERMISSION website.

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The Google Global Science Fair is Coming

Google is pleased to share with NSTA members an early heads-up about the upcoming launch of the first ever Google Science Fair. Google has partnered with NASA, CERN, National Geographic, Scientific American, and LEGO to create a totally new kind of STEM competition: a science fair that is more open, inclusive, and global than ever before. The Google Science Fair aims to be the largest global science competition ever and will be open to all students age 13–18 around the world. To sign up for some cool Google stuff for your classroom, please visit the Google Global Science Fair landing page.

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Share Your Good Ideas

Submit a session proposal for NSTA’s 2011–2012 conferences. Our 2011 area conferences will be held in Hartford, Connecticut, (October 27–29); New Orleans, Louisiana, (November 10–12); and Seattle, Washington, (December 8–10). In 2012 NSTA will hold its national conference in Indianapolis, Indiana (March 29–April 1). Deadlines for submissions are January 15, 2011, for the 2011 area conferences and April 15, 2011, for the Indianapolis national conference. For more information, visit www.nsta.org/conferences.

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Lab Out Loud Episode 54: The Encyclopedia of Life

Originally imagined by Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson as "an electronic page for each species of organism on Earth," The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is a free, online collaborative encyclopedia intended to document every living species known to science. It is compiled from existing databases and from contributions by experts and non-experts throughout the world.

Join hosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler as they talk to Dr. Marie Studer (EOL Learning and Education Director) and Mr. Bob Corrigan (EOL Product Manager and Acting Deputy Director) to learn about the EOL, how to participate in the project, and how it can be used in the classroom.

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Stay Connected to Science with an Online Graduate Course from AMNH

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 the American Museum of Natural History. 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. Spring Session 1 runs January 24 – March 6.  Registration closes January 10. 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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Sponsored by:

Delta Education

NSTA Science Supply Guide

Developing Visual Literacy in Science NSTA Press

Learn more about NSTA e-newsletter sponsorships

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!

Download your copy of the NSTA Membership Guide.

Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off the price of the December featured book, Teaching Science to English Language Learners.

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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