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Week of January 31, 2011

Table of Contents

Sponsored by:
NSTA Conference in San Francisco Banner

Sponsored by:
USA Today-STEM Career National Competition

Take the NSTA Survey on the President's Plans for STEM Education

Both education and STEM education were prominently mentioned during President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 25. During the speech, the President vowed to prepare 100,000 more STEM teachers over the next ten years with a $100 million investment designed to prepare undergraduates pursuing STEM careers to become teachers and to increase research on how to best recruit, prepare, and retain the best STEM teachers. Four STEM students and a STEM CEO were guests of First Lady Michelle Obama, and were on hand (and on camera) when the President said “We need to teach our kids that it’s not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair; that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.” During the speech he also called on Congress to reauthorize No Child Left Behind, stating “Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that is more flexible and focused on what’s best for our kids.”

In his State of the Union address, President Obama stated:

Over the next ten years, with so many Baby Boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

Do you agree that preparing new teachers in STEM should be a key focus for the Obama Administration? Take our very brief survey and let us know!

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Kick Off Your PD Experience with In-Depth Institutes at the San Francisco Conference

For science educators who are interested in expanding their expertise, NSTA supports you with topnotch offerings from leading professional development firms. The following seven, daylong institutes will be held on a range of critical topics and include follow-on pathway sessions for further exploration throughout the conference. Two separate daylong institutes are also in depth learning opportunities. NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education, March 10–13, provides this preconference day (Mar. 9) for comprehensive programs that feature highly valued pedagogy. These are ticketed events and require conference registration.

Full-Day Institutes with Follow-on Pathway Sessions

  1. Using Mathematical Representations to Talk About, Model, and Explain Scientific Phenomena (TERC), upper elementary and middle school
  2. Inquiring Into Inquiry: Creating an Inquiry-based Classroom (BSCS), elem, middle, and high
  3. Deepening Science Thinking and Reasoning Through Discussion and Writing in K–5 Inquiry-based Science (EDC), elementary
  4. Science in Context: Helping Students Develop 21st Century Skills Through Issue-oriented Science (SEPUP), middle and high school
  5. Going with the Conceptual Flow: Bridging the Gap Between Your State Standards, Curriculum Materials, and Student Learning (WestEd), elem, middle, and high
  6. Improving Student Learning through Formative Assessment (LHS), elem and middle
  7. Science for English Language Learners: Adaptations for Inquiry Science Teaching While Building Language Skills (ELL/Crowther), elem, middle, and high

Full-Day Institutes without Pathway Sessions

  1. Learning Progressions: Moving Up in the World of Educational Effectiveness (Arthur Eisenkraft), elem, middle, and high
  2. Designing Effective Science Instruction: Developing Student Understanding through Classroom Inquiry, Discourse and Sense-Making (McREL), elem, middle, and high

Visit the San Francisco PDI pages to view details.

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Sponsored by:
NSTA Career Center

Historic Opportunity for Your District: Student Experiments Aboard Final Space Shuttle Flight

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE) announces a truly remarkable opportunity for your school district on the final flight of Space Shuttle Atlantis (STS-135)—the historic final flight of the U.S. Space Shuttle program.

This is an opportunity for your school district to be part of a high-visibility, keystone U.S. national STEM education program of the highest caliber, and capable of garnering significant media coverage.

NCESSE is now inviting school districts across the U.S. to be part of the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). SSEP was designed as a keystone national STEM education initiative to engage and inspire America’s next generation of scientists and engineers through immersion in real science. NCESSE believes that “student as scientist” represents the very best in science education.

Each participating school district will be provided an experiment slot in a real microgravity research mini-laboratory flying on Space Shuttle Atlantis. The NCESSE Center will then guide your district through an experiment design competition within the grade 5–12 range, which you can open up to as many as 3,200 students. Or you could opt for participation by a single middle or high school. Your student teams then design real experiments vying for your reserved slot on this historic flight, with designs constrained by mini-laboratory operation and the need to pass a real NASA Flight Safety Review.

If interested, visit the SSEP website for a full description of the program, and links to profiles of communities currently participating, and descriptions of the experiments selected for flight on Shuttle Endeavour.

All participating communities must be aboard by March 15, 2011.

Cell: 301-395-0770

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A Getaway to Learn, A Destination to Delight

Professional development can enhance both teacher and student performance. Take advantage of the best in PD at NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education, March 10–13, in San Francisco. Workshops, seminars, and presentations offer K–16 science educators rich learning opportunities in a setting where passion for science runs deep. Science institutions such as the Exploratorium are field trip destinations, and its executive director, Dr. Dennis M. Bartels, will present on “The Total STEM Learning Ecology.” Take a walking tour of the Exhibit Hall to test cutting edge products and collect giveaways from more than 400 companies. Bring your family and explore beautiful San Francisco.

Here’s a sampling of some of our sessions:

  • Developing Literacy and Addressing Content Standards Through Issue-oriented Science (Middle–High)
  • Highly Effective Science Education: Integrating Science and Emerging Educational Technology in the Science Classroom—Full-day research-based conference, ticketed.
  • Elementary Science Discussions: The Art of Whole Group Talk
  • Looking at Student Work: Where to Focus/What to Do (Elementary)
  • Field Trip (ticketed):Lessons from the Field for the Earth Science Classroom—Be a “Geo-detective” in this hands-on field workshop in the Marin Headlands.
  • Eating Your Way Through the Earth Science Standards (Elem-Middle)
  • Earth as a System: Seasons and the Seas (Middle)
  • Field Trip (ticketed): Tour of Bio-Rad Laboratories—How do you develop a science education product? Bio-Rad ranks among the top five life science companies in the world. (High–College)
  • Engaging Students with Hands-On Nanotechnology Laboratory Activities (General)
  • Engaging Students in Biology Through Real-World Connections (Middle–High)
  • Beyond Social Networking: Building Digital Learning Communities by Contrasting Site Data (General)
  • Alternative Energy and Transportation: Hydrogen Fuel Cell and Other Bus Technologies (High)
  • How to Engage and Assess Students Within Online 3-D Virtual Environments (Middle–College)

For more information or to register, visit www.nsta.org/sanfrancisco. Save by registering before the advance deadline, February 4.

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NRC Releases Report on Online Games and Science

Are a lot (most) of your students online playing computer games? Do you wonder if, and how, these games help them to learn science? The Board on Science Education (BOSE) at the National Research Council new report, Learning Science: Computer Games, Simulations, and Education, can help.

According to BOSE:

Games and simulations have potential to advance multiple science learning goals, including motivation, conceptual understanding, science process skills and understanding of the nature of science, scientific argumentation, and identification with science and science learning. Most studies of simulations have focused on conceptual understanding, providing promising evidence that well-designed simulations can advance this science learning goal. There is moderate evidence that they can motivate students’ interest in learning science and less evidence related to other science learning goals. Evidence of the effectiveness of games in supporting science learning is emerging, but remains inconclusive.

To learn more, go to the National Academies Press website.

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Discovery Education

Picture Perfect Science-NSTA Press

Designing Effective Science Instruction-NSTA Press

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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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