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Week of December 20, 2010

Table of Contents

Sponsored by:
NSTA Career Center

Presidential Awardees for Math and Science Teaching Honored in Washington, D.C.

This year’s recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence for Mathematics and Science Teaching were feted last week during their four-day visit to Washington, DC, where they participated in professional development activities, traveled to Capitol Hill and enjoyed a special White House ceremony in their honor. The 52 science teachers and 51 math teachers from grades 7 to 12, also received a $10,000 award.

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NRC Identifies Spring 2011 as Target Release Date for Framework to Guide Next Generation of Science Education Standards

In an update released last week, Helen Quinn, chair of the Board on Science Education of the National Research Council (NRC), described the ongoing efforts of the 18-member study committee to revise the draft conceptual framework for new science education standards based on feedback received during the public comment period last July. At that time, more than 2,000 people responded to the online survey, and hundreds more participated in discussion groups across the country, including those conducted by NSTA. The revised draft will go through an external review process before being released some time in the spring.

Funded by the Carnegie Corporation, NRC began work early last year to develop a conceptual framework to guide the development of the next generation of science education standards. When the final framework is complete, Achieve, Inc., will begin the science standards writing process based on this framework. To read the update, visit the National Academies website.

NSTA will host a featured session at its San Francisco National Conference on Thursday, March 10, to update science educators on the framework and standards work. Participants include Helen Quinn; Stephen Pruitt, vice president for Content, Research, and Development, Achieve, Inc.; and Francis Eberle, NSTA Executive Director.

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Tax Relief for Teachers

The tax bill that is expected to be signed into law in the coming days includes provisions that may be of interest to science teachers. For example, the bill extends for two years a $250 deduction for elementary and secondary school professionals for expenses incurred for books, supplies, and other equipment used in the classroom (see page 7 of the document cited below). It also permits annual tax-free distributions to charity from an IRA (up to $100,000 per taxpayer) and allows individuals to make charitable contributions from an IRA during January 2011 as if they were made during 2010, for tax purposes.

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Update on Competitions

Apply Now for the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge

Students in grades K–12 can win over $300,000 in scholarships and prizes by entering the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. By developing solutions to environmental problems in their schools and communities, students have the power to make a difference. Visit www.wecanchange.com to learn more, access free resources, and enter today!

Apply Now for the Mars Education Challenge

The deadline to submit proposals for the Mars Education Challenge is fast approaching. High school science teachers located throughout the country, who have developed or are interested in creating new and innovative curricula support materials that focus on Mars science and exploration, are encouraged to apply.

The Challenge will recognize six winning entries: five regional awards and one national award will be given. 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.

Don’t delay, register today! Visit the Explore Mars website for complete Challenge details and e-mail info@exploremars.org to register. Submissions must be received by Monday, January 31, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. EST to be considered.

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Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers: Keys to Success in Winning a $10,000 Grant in 2011

The Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers program, sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. and administered by NSTA, is again offering grants to K–12 science teachers this academic year for innovative projects that enhance science education in the school and/or school district. Fifty large grants totaling $500,000 will be awarded. To apply for funding, qualified teachers must write a Toyota TAPESTRY proposal according to the proposal requirements. The deadline for the completion of the online application is 11:59 p.m. EST Tuesday, February 23, 2011. Recipients of Toyota TAPESTRY grants will be notified in April 2011. Non-recipients will be notified in June 2011.

On Wednesday, January 5, at 6:30 Eastern, two former TAPESTRY awardees (one of whom is a former TAPESTRY judge) will be leading a special interactive web seminar about the keys to writing a successful grant proposal. They will discuss ways to make projects stand out when the judging is done, explain common pitfalls that trip up teachers, and give participants lots of suggestions on how to get their grant proposal going or to wrap things up! Those interested in submitting a grant proposal are encouraged to participate. For more information about the web seminar or to register for the event, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

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It's Time to Make Your 2011 Professional Development Resolution

As 2010 comes to a close, resolve to get personal and professional development in 2011. Build your experiences in science education at NSTA’s National Conference in San Francisco. Scheduled for March 10–13, two thousand sessions are yours to choose from. Hands-on workshops, seminars, and symposia will increase your content knowledge, performance strategies, and techniques in the classroom. Nationally known presenters will inspire and inform. Thousands of your peers will share ideas, experiences, and challenges. Invest in yourself, your career, and your future. Register before Jan. 14 to save the most.

  • Featured Presentation: Deeply Digital Science Teaching—Chad Dorsey (President and CEO, The Concord Consortium).
  • Giving Elementary Science Teachers the Confidence, Skills, and Experience to Teach Chemistry—Lesson plans, strategies, and rubrics are the take-aways.
  • Shaping Children's Views of Science by Doing and Knowing About Inquiry—Research-based techniques. (Elementary)
  • Linking Assessment to Teaching: Ideas and Evidence. (Middle School)
  • From Cells to Sea Ice: Analyzing Data from Digital Images. (Middle–High)
  • Developing Literacy and Addressing Content Standards Through Issue-oriented Science. (Middle–High)
  • Variation, Selection, and Time—Natural selection. (Middle–High)
  • Hands-On Learning Activities for AP Biology. (High School)
  • NASA Brings You Newton's Laws of Motion—20 hands-on investigations. (Middle–High)
  • Featured Presentation: Inside and Outside of the Science Classroom: Exploring the Challenges in the Next Decade—Gerry Wheeler (Emeritus Executive Director, NSTA)
  • Featured Presentation: Dr. Art’s Planet Earth Show—Art Sussman (Senior Project Director, WestEd)
  • Exhibit Hall—Test and try cutting-edge products from companies across the nation. Bring an extra tote for freebies.
  • Field trips (ticketed) for real discovery: USS Pampanito, Lawrence Hall of Science, the Match Science Nucleus, Wes Gordon Fossil Hall, the Tech Museum, RAFT, and more.

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From the NSTA Calendar: A Fellowship to Help You Inspire Young Researchers

Society for Science & the Public (SSP), a nonprofit membership organization, is dedicated to the achievement of young researchers, as well as to engaging the public in science. The SSP Fellows program, with support from Intel, provides teachers financial and training resources to help them enable “a broad representation of our brightest students to fully explore their intelligence and creativity and apply them to finding solutions for our greatest medical, technological, and environmental challenges,” says SSP President Elizabeth Marincola.

Fellows guide students to produce high-quality project-based research such as is selected for SSP’s premiere science competition, the Intel Science Talent Search. Last year, one SSP Fellow who teaches in a small, rural school in Oklahoma inspired her students to build the school’s first robot. Their work earned them a partial scholarship of $1,700, and with SSP support, they had sufficient funds to attend Botball, an educational robotics program.

The 2011 SSP Fellows will each receive $8,500, which is renewable annually for up to four years, as well as training and resources to start a high-quality scientific research program in their schools. The training includes a one-week, all-expenses-paid trip to attend the SSP Fellows Institute in Washington, D.C., worth two graduate credits. Click here for more information and to apply for a 2011 SSP Fellowship by January 17, 2011.

Visit the NSTA Calendar to find other opportunities to help you support and inspire your students.

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Applications for the U.S. Department of Education's Teaching Ambassador Fellowship Now Available Online

Teaching Ambassadors are outstanding teachers who have a record of leadership, strong communication skills, and policy insight who work for one year for the U.S. Department of Education, either full-time in Washington, D.C., or part-time in their home states. The Teaching Ambassador Fellowship supports the Department's mission by enabling a cadre of teachers from across the country to learn more about and contribute their classroom expertise to the national dialogue and in turn facilitate discussions with educators across the country. More information about the program and application is available at www.ed.gov/programs/teacherfellowship. Application deadline: January 17, 2011.

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Lab Out Loud Episode 55: Science Comedian Brian Malow

This week, hosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler talk to Brian Malow, a science comedian and video correspondent for Time magazine's website. Malow talks to Lab Out Loud about science, comedy, and communicating science.

Lab Out Loud will return in 2011 on January 10.

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Gone Snowboardin'

NSTA Express is taking a little winter break. Happy holidays—see you in 2011!

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Sponsored by:

Tried and True-NSTA Press

Teaching of Science: 21st Century Perspectives-NSTA Press

Uncovering Student Ideas in Physical Science-NSTA Press

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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!

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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