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Week of January 3, 2011

Table of Contents

Sponsored by:
Delta Education

Sponsored by:
USA Today-STEM Career National Competition

Congress Passes America Competes

A week before Christmas and with just days left in the 111th Congress, the lame duck Senate approved their version of the America Competes Act, and then sent their bill to the House of Representatives which also approved the legislation by a decisive vote. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law shortly.

Read more in this NSTA Express Legislative Update.

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NSTA's Shell Science Lab Challenge to Award $20,000 Lab Makeover

NSTA’s Shell Science Lab Challenge, a competition for middle and high school teachers, will provide needed science laboratory equipment to schools across the country. Schools will compete for up to $93,000 in prizes, including a grand prize school science lab makeover support package valued at $20,000. The program is giving special attention to urban schools and underrepresented groups; schools in rural areas and those with limited laboratory resources are also encouraged to apply.

Educators who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences in schools with little or no lab equipment are asked to illustrate and submit their strategies to the Challenge. Entries will be judged on the basis of several criteria, including uniqueness, creativity, and ability to be replicated. Eighteen winners, including the grand prize winner, will be receive donated science lab equipment or gift certificates, a cash grant to purchase additional science lab tools and resources, a $300 gift certificate to the NSTA Science Store, memberships to the NSTA and the NSTA Learning Center, and support to attend NSTA conferences. All entries will be put into an online library to create a repository of strategies and ideas that teachers looking for exciting ways to create quality labs for their students can access and use.

For more information or to download an application, visit shellsciencelab.nsta.org. The deadline for entries is February 2, 2011.

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Reminder: Apply Now for the Toyota TAPESTRY Grant

The deadline to submit applications for the Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers program is fast approaching. Science educators with innovative project ideas that enhance science education in their school and/or school district are encouraged to apply. The program is open to middle and high school science teachers and elementary teachers who teach some science in the classroom.

Fifty large grants totaling $500,000 will be awarded this academic year. Individual science teachers or a team of up to five can submit proposals in the category of environmental science education. Subcategories from which applicants may choose include: biotic (all living factors) and abiotic (all nonliving factors such as pollution, oil, energy, human interventions, water, soil, air, temperature, etc.).

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. Nonrecipients will be notified in June 2011.

Don’t delay, apply now! Visit the TAPESTRY website for complete details.

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Nominate an Innovative High School Science Teacher

Calling all U.S. high school science department chairs and administrators: It’s time to nominate teachers for the 2011 AAAS Leadership in Science Education Prize for High School Teachers. The $1,000 prize honors a high school science teacher who has advanced science education by developing and implementing an effective strategy, activity, or program.  The winner will also receive a complimentary one-year institutional subscription to Science magazine and will be invited to attend and make a brief presentation at the annual Shanghai International Forum on Science Literacy of Pre-college Students as a guest of the Shanghai Association for Science and Technology.

To access prize details, nomination forms, and application forms, click here. For more information, contact Barbara Goldstein. Deadline: May 27, 2011.

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From the NSTA Calendar: Polar Science Live

PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) will offer PolarConnect live online presentations throughout January, beginning on Thursday, January 6. These free National Science Foundation-funded events (registration required) connect you and your students to scientists working in Antarctica and allow you to observe their work and ask them questions. And each PolarConnect event is archived for downloading and viewing afterward.

PolarConnect events are open to all grade levels, K–college. Click here for the schedule, for more information, and to register.

Warm up your classroom this winter with events from the NSTA Calendar.

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Getting the Most Out of NSDL Science Literacy Maps

Digitized versions of the progression-of-understanding maps published in Project 2061’s Atlas of Science Literacy have become a popular feature for searching and accessing teaching resources in the various collections of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). Now, with a new grant from the National Science Foundation, Project 2061 will be working with various NSDL entities to help increase and improve the use of the NSDL Science Literacy Maps as tools for understanding how K–12 students make progress in their science learning and the implications for selecting and using NSDL resources.

Beginning in January 2011, the two-year $510,000 grant will enable Project 2061 to conduct face-to-face workshops at national and regional science education conferences to help NSDL users understand and take advantage of all of the features of the Science Literacy Maps. A set of just-in-time online learning tools will also be developed and embedded in the maps themselves and made accessible through the NSDL Pathways that serve as the major portals to collections of NSDL resources for K–12 science educators. Ultimately, the goal of this new effort is to help educators gain a better understanding of the K–12 conceptual and cognitive framework that is presented in the NSDL Science Literacy Maps and to help them make better selections and use of the digital resources that are linked to the maps.

In addition to the new grant, Project 2061 is also funded by the NSDL program to build the capacity of digital library developers to determine how well their resources address K–12 science content standards. See the August 2010 issue of Project 2061 Connections for an update on that work.

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NSTA's Conference on Science Education—San Francisco 2011

Ring in the new year with updated content knowledge, new teaching strategies, and the latest in best practices. Reserve your spot at the premier event for science teachers scheduled for March 10–13 in exciting San Francisco. Save the most when you register by January 14, the earlybird deadline. Check out what NSTA has in store for you!

Conference Strands:

Don’t miss out on nearly 2000 concurrent sessions available for every grade band and discipline K–12. Hear from top notch science experts including Dr. Jeff Goldstein, director of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, and former astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. In addition celebrate science with terrific field trips to the Exploratorium, The Tech museum, and the Chabot Space & Science Center. Visit www.nsta.org/sanfrancisco for more information or to register.

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Teaching of Science: 21st—Century Perspectives

Renowned educator Rodger Bybee’s The Teaching of Science: 21st-Century Perspectives is the perfect vehicle to help science teachers, administrators, curriculum developers, and science teacher educators reflect on basic issues in science education today and in the coming years. He contends that for educators to learn how best to teach science, they must first identify why they teach and what is important to teach. Bybee addresses topics such as contemporary challenges in science education, curriculum and instruction, inquiry in science teaching, and the development of 21st-century skills. This book will challenge science educators’ current views and provide them with new perspectives for teaching.

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What are University of Massachusetts Amherst Students Saying About Science Education Online?

"One might think that since electricity and magnetism are such hands-on topics, distance learning would not dovetail with them. I found the opposite to be true. The texts, materials, web sites, and discussions work better than I thought possible. I'm amazed by the quality and the rigor of the online courses in this program. They are set up like I try to set up my classroom, you have to work hard, but if you do the work you can be successful."

"Trying experiments, reviewing great web sites and texts, opportunities for reflection, discussions with enthusiastic teachers, supportive and informative professors—it's all been great, and seems over too soon."

"Distance learning has been beneficial because it has given me the ability to do the work on my own, come up with my own ideas and make my own mistakes, giving me the experience I feel is needed to be a better teacher (one of my goals)."

Contact Dr. Kathleen Davis
School of Education
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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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 January featured book, Science Teaching as a Profession.

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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