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Week of April 4, 2011

Table of Contents

Sponsored by:
American Society of Civil Engineers

Sponsored by:
Benchmark Education

Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy Selects Teachers Nationwide for National Academy

Congratulations to the 200 elementary school teachers from across the country who were selected last week to participate in the Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy. This year’s national academy will be held at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey.

The selection of the teachers from applications submitted at www.sendmyteacher.com marks the third year that teachers from all 50 states have been chosen to participate in the professional development program that began six years ago. An additional 400 teachers will be selected later this spring to attend programs in Houston and New Orleans.

The Academy is an intensive one-week, all-expense-paid professional development program designed to help teachers develop innovative math and science teaching skills. The participants were selected by a panel of educators from NSTA and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

For a complete list of teachers selected to attend the 2011 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy and to learn more about the program, visit www.sendmyteacher.com.

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2nd and 3rd Grade Combination Class from Louisiana Selected as the National Elementary Grand Prize Winner of Disney’s Planet Challenge

Congratulations to Ms. Breigh Rainey and Ms. Kristy Gilpin and their second and third grade combination Zachary Elementary School class for being selected as the national elementary grand prize winner of Disney’s Planet Challenge, an environmental and science competition for 3rd–8th grade classrooms.

Ms. Rainey’s and Ms. Gilpin’s class entitled their project “Zachary Elementary Wetland Warriors ― Fighting to Save Our Coast.” Spurred by concern over Louisiana’s eroding coastline and the threat to the wetlands ecosystem, the class built a school nursery, grew hundreds of grass plants and replanted them along the coastal beach area of Grand Isle. They are currently raising nearly 2,000 plants for next year’s 3rd grade classroom wetlands project. In addition, the students wrote and published books about the Louisiana Wetlands in an effort to educate the community. Money raised from the sale of those books will be used for wetland preservation. The Zachary students also secured a deal with local radio stations to broadcast their Coastal Roots podcast to help spread the word about their conservation efforts.

Winners were chosen by a judging committee composed of scientists, environmental experts, and educators including representatives from NSTA and WestEd K–12 Alliance. To learn more about the program or the 2011 elementary grand prize winners, visit www.disney.com/planetchallenge.

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Content Knowledge Building for the Elementary Teacher

If you’re looking for resources to help you teach your fifth graders a unit on cells, visit the Learning Center and check out a ready-made “collection” to build your content knowledge. Collections comprise materials and activities selected by topic and grade level for building your own individual course, including a nice mix of eleven resources noted below. Check them out.

  1. Under the Microscope, web seminar. Free
  2. Cell Structure and Function, 10-hour learning session. Fee-based
  3. Cells-the Basis of Life, 2-hour learning session. Free
  4. The Cellular Factory, 2-hour learning session. Free
  5. The Molecular Machinery of Life, 2-hour learning session. Free
  6. The Most Important Molecule, 2-hour learning session. Free
  7. Close, Closer, Closest, journal article. Fee-based
  8. Is it Living, book chapter. Fee-based
  9. Is it Made of Cells, book chapter. Fee-based
  10. How do Microscopes Work, journal article. Fee-based
  11. Science Shorts: Seeing What We Can’t See. Journal article

You’ll find lesson plans, simulations, student work samples, and self-assessment options. Take charge of your teaching and get the content you need. Make sure your students are well-prepared. Visit learningcenter.nsta.org to learn more and read the reviews of this collection.

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Science Fairs: Here to Stay, a Thing of the Past, or Something in Between?

Last week Politico reported that President Obama had visited his third student science fair in recent weeks and that perceptions about science fairs “had changed.” What do you think? How many science fairs have you done in the last three years, and are you doing a science fair this school year? Has the perception of science fairs changed? Let us know what you think: take the NSTA poll (only four questions). And, as always, thanks for your support!

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Engaging Students, Inspiring Creativity, Preparing for the Future–Microsoft's Innovative Education Forum, July 28–29

The Innovative Education Forum (IEF) is part of a worldwide program from Microsoft Partners in Learning. The program recognizes innovative educators and schools implementing 21st-century skills in the classroom and the school community with the goal of improving teaching and learning. The Innovative Education Forum seeks to showcase creative and inspiring examples of how educators and schools are using technology.

The U.S. Innovative Education Forum will be hosted on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, WA July 28-29. The theme this year is Engaging students. Inspiring creativity. Preparing for the future. It focuses on how educators and schools engage students to solve difficult problems while inspiring creativity and, ultimately, preparing students for the future.

Educators are encouraged to submit class projects as individuals or in collaboration with a colleague. School leaders are also encouraged to submit projects that highlight how technology is being used in innovative ways throughout the school community.

For more details on the event, go to www.microsoft.com/education/USIEF., where you can also download the application and watch a short video of past IEF participants. The deadline to apply is May 15, 2011. Microsoft will cover the travel costs for all educators selected to attend.

An informational webcast is scheduled for April 7 to learn more about the forum and ask questions. Register here. (This webcast will be recorded.)

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Join the Science and Children Team!

Science and Children, NSTA’s peer-reviewed journal for elementary teachers, is seeking manuscript reviewers. Reviewers are vital to the journal’s production. We rely on our review panel to evaluate submissions and help us craft them into the articles you see in each issue. You need not be an expert writer—what we need is your classroom and content expertise. Our online manuscript submission and review system allows you to indicate your comfort zone (e.g., assessment, physical science, inquiry skills, etc.), and we will assign you manuscripts accordingly. You can even let us know when you are too busy to review. Being a member of the review panel is a great professional development experience—not only do you get previews of the articles coming to S&C, you help create them! If you are interested in volunteering for this panel, please contact Editor Linda Froschauer at fro2@mac.com (include your CV).

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It's Baseball Season. What Makes a Curveball Curve?

Cardboard paper-towel tube (without the paper towels)
Ping pong ball

Throw a curve ball yourself. Place a ping pong ball inside the paper-towel tube so it’s at the end near your hand. Swing the tube to the side so the ball comes out the far end of the tube and travels across the room. It should curve dramatically. What is the ball doing as it exits the tube? It’s spinning rapidly because you’re causing the ball to roll along one side of the tube.

There’s more to understanding what makes a curveball curve. You can find out about the Bernoulli effect and the Magnus effect, the two different things that cause a ball to curve, in author Bill Robertson’s Answers to Science Questions. He’s the Stop Faking It Guy who makes science concepts understandable and entertaining. His eight Stop Faking It books are top sellers and favorites of K–8 teachers, homeschoolers and parents who want to boost their science know-how. Visit the Stop Faking It! page to check out all of Robertson’s titles.

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TIMSS Video Studies Now Available Online

The public-use lessons collected as part of the TIMSS video studies are now available for everyone on a new website, timssvideo.com. Users must register on the site to access the videos, but registration is free. In addition to the 53 full-length videos of eighth-grade mathematics and science lessons from seven countries, the site also provides full English-translation subtitles for each lesson, a searchable transcript, and a set of resources collected with each lesson such as scanned text materials and teacher commentaries. The site also includes a discussion forum where users can share ideas for how they are using the site and suggest new features that might be added in the future. The site is a project of UCLA and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Funding was provided by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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Learn with Montana State This Summer in Yellowstone or Online

Make this the summer you study in Yellowstone! Earn graduate credits while learning about wolves, elk, thermal biology, or plants of the northern Rockies. Montana State University's summer professional development courses take advantage of our Big Sky setting with field excursions to Yellowstone National Park, mining sites, and mountain ecosystems.

New courses include Predator & Prey Ecology: Wolves and Elk in Yellowstone National Park (BIOL 580); Chemistry of the Environment: Water, Air, and Earth (CHMY 591); and Night & Day Sky for Teachers (Physics 591).

Or, if you can't hit the road, earn graduate credits through MSU's high-quality online courses. Courses are offered in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Geology, Microbiology, Earth Science, Mathematics, and Education. Registration opens in early April, and NSTA members receive a 10% discount on select courses.

Courses can be taken individually or can lead to an online master's degree in science education (MSSE).

To view online and campus course descriptions and register, visit www.montana.edu/msse and click on Summer 2011 courses.

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American Association of Immunologists

Team Teaching Science-NSTA Press

NSTA Career Center

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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 April featured book, Inside-Out.

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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