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Week of July 4, 2011

Table of Contents

NSTA Board Adopts New Position Statement: Quality Science Education and 21st-Century Skills

The NSTA Board of Directors voted to adopt a new position statement acknowledging the value of 21st-century skills within the context of science education. The statement advocates for the science education community to support 21st-century skills consistent with best practices across a science education system and notes that “exemplary science education can offer a rich context for developing many 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and information literacy.”

NSTA wishes to thank the panel of science educators who developed the draft and the members who reviewed the document and submitted feedback. To view the statement, click here. To view all NSTA position statements, click here.

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News Roundup: Bad Economic News on the Horizon and News from the STEM Education Coalition

Last week the Center on Education Policy released a report describing the fiscal condition of school districts for school year 2010–11 and the anticipated condition for school year 2011–12. After surveying a nationally representative sample of over 450 school districts, survey results indicate that in order to compensate for lost funding, districts are cutting staff—including teachers—and services and are slowing the progress on education reform. The report, Strained Schools Face Bleak Future: Districts Foresee Budget Cuts, Teacher Layoffs, and a Slowing of Education Reform Efforts, is posted on the CEP website and can be downloaded free of charge.

Also last week the STEM Education Coalition (which is chaired by NSTA) released their ideas for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Read the blog post by Education Week’s Erik Robelen. For more information on the STEM Education Coalition, visit www.stemedcoalition.org.

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Join Our Discussion on Hard to Teach Science Concepts, Grades 3–5

Looking for a lively discussion this summer? Join us for a book club/discussion group centered on the NSTA Press publication Hard to Teach Science Concepts: Grades 3–5. This engaging book addresses student preconceptions (we know readers will have lots to say on that one!), targeted lessons, appropriate strategies, and Standards-based teaching. The discussion of Chapter One begins today, July 5, and we’ll focus on subsequent chapters on Tuesdays throughout the summer. Click here to see the schedule.

To join, go to the NSTA Learning Center, and if you’re not already registered, sign up. You do NOT have to be an NSTA member to register. Once there, in addition to participating in the discussion, you’ll have access to the many resources available either free or at a minimal cost.

To join the discussion, in the NSTA Learning Center, look for the golden menu bar at the top, and look for the “Discussion Forums” box. Double click on it, and then select the box with red writing that says “visit THE FORUMS.” Select the Elementary Forum, and then select the “Hard to Teach Science Concepts” option. To become part of the book study group, click on “Saying Hello” and introduce yourself. The discussion will be hosted by expert educators Caryn Meirs and Kathy Renfrew. We welcome elementary teachers and other interested parties to join us!

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From the NSTA Calendar: Insects and Spiders and Arthropods, Oh, My!

As you enjoy these summer days and observe the insects outdoors, perhaps you will recall—or develop—an idea for a K–12 science project involving insects, spiders, or related arthropods. If you do, the Entomological Foundation invites you to submit that idea as an entry in its Science Project Contest, which seeks to identify the top five to 10 science project ideas for learning about entomology. The foundation especially wants to hear from educators and entomology student clubs about their project ideas.

Creators of the winning projects will each receive a $100 check and have their project idea published on the foundation’s website. Submissions are due on September 16, 2011. For more information, visit www.entfdn.org/scienceprojectcontest.htm.

Have other ideas worth sharing? Check the NSTA Calendar for awards programs and competitions that reward you for what you know.

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Liven Up Your Life Science Lessons with Uncovering Student Ideas in Life Science, Volume 1: 25 New Formative Assessment Probes

Author Page Keeley continues her popular formula of using formative assessment probes to uncover and address the preconceptions that students bring to the classroom. In this first book devoted exclusively to life science in grades K–12, Keeley covers the topics of life and its diversity; structure and function; life processes; ecosystems and change; reproduction, life cycles, and heredity; and human biology. Order this bestseller today!

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Get Connected with NSTA's New Social Media Dashboard—We Think You'll "Like" It!

Have you been to NSTA's new social media hub? It not, click here to find out what you're missing.

It's called the Social Networking Dashboard, and you can get to it by clicking on the red "Social Networking" tab on the left side of the NSTA home page. You'll see the latest wall posts at Facebook, an auto-updated Twitter stream, the latest discussions in the NSTA Learning Center, and recent posts from the NSTA Blog. You'll also find links to NSTA's list server archive as well as to LinkedIn and YouTube.

We welcome your participation in any or all of these channels. Even if you don't know a tweet from a chat, you can click through and see what your colleagues are talking about.

And did you know NSTA is "breaking the rules"? NSTA’s work in online social and professional networking has been cited as part of a cover story of the July 2011 edition of Associations Now, the leading journal for association professionals. Learn how NSTA and three other associations have changed the way they work to engage their communities online.

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Designing Effective Science Instruction-NSTA Press

Yet More Everyday Science Mysteries-NSTA Press

Teaching of Science: 21st Century Perspectives-NSTA Press

Learn more about NSTA e-newsletter sponsorships

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!

Interact with your fellow NSTA members on the list server. Join one list or join them all!
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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 July featured book, Answers to Science Questions From the Stop Faking It! Guy.

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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