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Week of May 9, 2011

Table of Contents

Sponsored by:
Chemical Heritage Foundation

NSELA Summer Leadership Institute

The National Science Education Leadership Association’s (NSELA) 2011 Summer Leadership Institute will be held June 26–30 in Johnson City, Tennessee at the state-of-the-arts Millennium Center. The Institute will focus on core knowledge and science practices that enrich understanding about:

  1. Bringing math and science together in K-12 classrooms through data modeling
  2. Making thinking visible through talk and argumentation
  3. Making thinking visible through representations
  4. Applying institute content to your context through Professional Learning Communities

A team of highly qualified educators will facilitate institute experiences.

  1. Richard Duschl focuses on innovative and collaborative research and development activities in STEM education.
  2. Richard Lehrer adds expertise in the design of classroom learning environments that support the practices of modeling and coordinated development of model-based reasoning in science and mathematics.
  3. Leona Schauble shares knowledge about the development of scientific thinking, modeling approaches to science and mathematics, and professional development.
  4. Doug Clark adds expertise on students' learning processes as they study core science concepts in digital environments and computer games with a specific focus on representations, conceptual change, collaboration, and argumentation.
Sponsored by:
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics ad

Registration costs for the SLI include the institute experiences from the Sunday kick-off dinner through mid-day Thursday, all breakfasts and lunches and two evening meals, a copy of Ready, Set, Science and all workshop materials.

Registration costs:

Early Bird Registration (until May 20)
Member $465   Nonmember $510, includes 1 yr. membership

Regular Registration (May 21- June 20)
Member $495   Nonmember $540, includes 1 yr. membership

On-site Registration
Member $520   Nonmember $565, includes 1 yr. membership

You can register securely online by credit card or check.

Registering with a purchase order: If the check does not accompany the PO there is a $25 processing fee. Please send POs to

2260 Thumb Butte Road
Prescott AZ  86305

or e-mail them to judyhamilton51@gmail.com

Questions? Call 928-420-3774.

See the NSELA website for room reservation information.

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Slow Off the Mark: Elementary School Teachers and the Crisis in STEM Education

A new report from the Center for American Progress focuses on the current status of elementary science and math instruction and provides recommendations that stakeholders can consider to reform teacher training policies.

From the report:

The way we select and train our elementary school teachers is completely incompatible with our stated goals related to STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math] careers, economic growth, and innovation. Not only are many elementary school teachers ill-prepared to teach mathematics and science effectively, but current policies favoring elementary grade teaching candidates with little appetite for mathematics and science is tantamount to an anti-STEM initiative … Everyone seems to agree that we have a problem—that our country’s economic future depends, at least in part, on raising our kindergarten-through-12th grade students’ math and science achievement so that they can eventually progress into STEM careers. Where we are deficient, however, is in the will to reorient our education system toward a greater focus on high-quality math and science instruction in the early years.

The report recommends that Congress, state legislatures, and state boards of education reform their teacher training policies to:

  • Increase the selectivity of programs that prepare teachers for elementary grades
  • Implement teacher compensation policies, including performance-based pay, that make elementary teaching more attractive to college graduates and career changes with strong STEM backgrounds
  • Include more mathematics and science content and pedagogy in schools of education
  • Require candidates to pass the mathematics and science subsections of licensure exams
  • Explore innovative staffing models that extend the reach of elementary level teachers with an affinity for mathematics and science and demonstrated effectiveness in teaching them.

The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just, and free America that ensures opportunity for all.

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What Do You Think of the BraiNSTArters?

Every issue of your member newspaper NSTA Reports contains a science-themed crossword puzzle called BraiNSTArter. We’d like to know what you think of them. This quick poll shouldn’t take more than a minute to complete. Thanks for your feedback!

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Lab Out Loud Looks at the Science Olympiad

In their final show of the season, hosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler talk with Dr. Gerard J. Putz (President of Science Olympiad) and Jennifer Kopach (Marketing Director) about the Science Olympiad National Tournament to be hosted on May 20–21 by the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Listen and learn how Science Olympiad has changed and continues to be one of the premiere science competitions in the nation. Interested in starting a Science Olympiad team in your school? Get suggestions from the pros.

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"Eaglecam" Broadcasts Development of Baby Eaglet and its Family

Alcoa's community in Davenport, Iowa, recently welcomed a pair of bald eagles and their seven-foot nest at the company's 400-acre facility. To the surprise and delight of all, the pair—known as Liberty and Justice—hatched an eaglet this spring. Alcoa, through a live “Eaglecam” set up earlier this year, invites teachers around the country to access and observe live video of this family developing inside a truly unique eco-system. Nearly 200,000 visitors from across the globe have tuned in to witness the development of an American icon, and now anxiously await the biggest milestone yet—its first flight—expected to take place late May or early June.

Teachers from Davenport to Dubai can use the Eaglecam as a hands-on tool to supplement projects on the environment, Earth science and more. For example, students can write about their Eaglecam observations as part of a real-time visual learning experience, as well as researching and tracking important stages in the eaglet’s growth.

In addition to the Eaglecam, Alcoa launched a public contest to name the eaglet before its first flight. Interested teachers and students can visit the Alcoa Bald Eagle page to see updates on the eaglet and cast their vote on its name through May 12.

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Chemistry to Dye For

In this week's Chemistry Now video, learn about a chance discovery that makes what once were rare and expensive colors reserved for the well-to-do cheaper to obtain and more effective. Also access lesson plans to create natural dyes and to explore pH using household products.

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Cost-Free Professional Development for New Science Teachers

Take advantage of the New Science Teacher Academy program for second- and third-year science teachers. Participants have access to resource-filled, professional development and mentoring to boost teacher confidence, improve classroom excellence, and promote better content knowledge. Those selected are rewarded with approximately $6,500 in quality PD over the course of a year. Fellows in the Academy become instant members of NSTA and enjoy all the benefits of membership. They are able to access online learning experiences including web seminars that are facilitated by nationally known experts in science education. Along with complimentary registration to NSTA’s National Conference, the Fellows enjoy free air travel, lodging, and meals. Meeting other Fellows from across the nation, attending conference sessions, a high-quality Institute or Research Conference, socials, and hands-on practical workshops are a part of this terrific program. Mentoring from more experienced teachers in their discipline and grade band provides a forum for discussion and assistance during the challenging first years.

“The program reinforced many teaching practices, however, participating in the inquiry made a huge improvement in the implementation of new ideas. I am grateful for the experience, and I am thankful for the NSTA.”—2010 Fellow in the Academy

It’s an opportunity not to miss. Visit www.nsta.org/academy to learn more and to download an application. The deadline is July 1, 2011.

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Embrace Your Surroundings with Schoolyard Science

Science teachers will appreciate 101 practical and inexpensive activities intended to help students develop their observation and inquiry skills, as well as an appreciation for the natural environment. The wide-ranging activities, adaptable to any grade level, cover chapter topics such as lower and complex plants, gardens, insects and other invertebrates, vertebrates, energy, how animals work, and Earth science. The activities have been tested successfully in K–12 classrooms, youth camp programs, and science education classes in teacher preparation programs. For each activity, the authors note any non-schoolyard materials that are needed as well as relevant Standards covered, making this book a handy starting point for teachers who want to inspire students to appreciate learning in their own schoolyard. Order your copy today.

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No Child Left Behind, Coming Soon?!

Love it or hate it, we expect that federal policymakers will soon be crafting a new No Child Left Behind law that will continue to have an impact on the science classroom. Learn more about what's ahead for No Child Left Behind, hear from Administration officials on the President's STEM initiatives, and much more at the K–12 STEM Policy Conference, this July 12–13.

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ISTE in Philly

The word is out. The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is having their annual conference in Philadelphia, June 26–29. Science teachers, faculty, curriculum specialists, administrators, and technology coordinators will comprise a strong percentage of those attending this conference, so join the crowd. This year, NSTA is providing a full-day program, an Innovative Learning Technologies strand within the Digital Age Teaching and Learning theme. Planned is a panel session, a series of lectures, and a poster session. The panel session and lectures will take place on June 28, starting at 10:30 a.m.

A strong list of highly regarded presenters will participate: Dr. Al Byers, NSTA; Dr. Lisa Dawley, Boise State University; Dr. Chris Dede, Harvard University; Dr. Greg Jones, University of North Texas; and Flavio Mendez, NSTA. Those interested in learning more details should visit the NSTA Learning Center. To register for the conference, visit the ISTE website.

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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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