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Week of August 15, 2011

Table of Contents

Sally Ride Science

Challenge Your Students to Become Energy Efficient

U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Dr. Francis Eberle, executive director of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), today announced the kick-off of registration for a nationwide competition to help teach students about energy usage and conservation in the home. America’s Home Energy Education Challenge (AHEEC) will engage students in elementary and middle schools across the nation to make smarter energy choices at home that reduce U.S. reliance on fossil fuels and put money back in their parents’ pockets. This initiative will help educate America’s youth about the benefits of energy efficiency, motivate students to play an active role in how their families use energy, and help families across the country conserve energy and reduce their costs.

“This exciting competition is designed to inspire the next generation of energy leaders to take simple and affordable steps today that will save money and get them thinking about energy issues at an early age,” said Energy Secretary Chu. “Educating students about energy efficiency today will help them tackle our nation’s energy challenges in the future.”

“Teachers are always looking for fresh new ways to motivate their students in science,” said NSTA Executive Director Dr. Francis Eberle. “America’s Home Energy Education Challenge is an excellent way to spark the imagination of students, while inspiring them to pursue degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

Official registration for the Challenge begins today and ends October 7, 2011. Students, teachers and principals are encouraged to register to participate at HomeEnergyChallenge.org. Participation in America’s Home Energy Education Challenge will be broken into two parts, the Home Energy Challenge and the Energy Fitness Award. Each is designed to encourage students to learn about science and home energy savings. Visit the website for more details and updates or view the press release to learn more.

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Register Now for Fall Online Courses from the American Museum of Natural History

Seminars on Science connects classroom teachers with scientists engaged in current, real-world research. Each course is authored by leading scientists in their fields and is then co-taught by an experienced researcher affiliated with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). Courses include Earth: Inside and Out; Water: Environmental Science; The Ocean System; Genetics, Genomics, Genethics; Evolution; and more.

All courses run for six weeks and are fully online. Each participant receives a CD of course resources suitable for classroom use. Affordable graduate credit is available for all courses (see website for details).

Please see the website for the full course listing. Free sample resources for each course—including essays, videos, and interactive simulations—are available online. Fall sessions run September 5–October 16 AND October 24–December 4.  Registration closes August 24. Register early for a $50 discount!  For more information and to register, go to learn.amnh.org or call 800-649-6715.

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Student Teaching Across the Nation

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) has released a report measuring student teaching programs nationwide.

Student Teaching in the United States examines policies and practices at 134 universities and colleges to answer questions like, “Who is mentoring our future teachers?” “Do student teachers receive the feedback they need to improve?” “Does the experience sufficiently replicate the experience of being a teacher?”

In addition to providing a national snapshot of student teaching today and overall ratings of each of the 134 institutions studied, the report includes specific examples of exemplary student teaching practices and recommendations on how all programs can improve.

NCTQ and U.S. News and World Report have teamed up to do a review of more than 1,000 of the nation’s 1,400 teacher preparation programs. The initiative promises to “find the programs that are doing the best job in preparing tomorrow’s educators, those that need to improve and those that need to be radically restructured.” NCTQ's National Review of Teacher Prep is slated for release in fall 2012. NCTQ will publish reviews of teacher prep annually.

Learn more about Student Teaching in the United States.

Learn more about the National Review of Teacher Preparation Programs.

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From the NSTA Calendar: 'PhUn' With Physiology

In November, you can have “PhUn” with your students during Physiology Understanding (PhUn) Week, the American Physiological Society’s (APS) annual outreach event. During PhUn Week, APS member physiologists across the nation collaborate with teachers to plan lessons and events and visit local classrooms. Start planning now for PhUn Week by finding an APS member physiologist at your local university, college, or research institution by early September.

Visit the PhUn for Teachers website to request help in finding an APS member physiologist near you, and explore the rest of the PhUn Week program website. Resources and classroom activities were developed by teacher fellows in the national APS Frontiers in Physiology Fellowship Professional Development Program for middle and high school science teachers.

For more information or to find a local APS member, e-mail APS K–12 Education Programs Coordinator Mel Limson.

Find out about other fall science events by visiting the NSTA Calendar.

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Conference on Science Education, Hartford, First PD Event This Fall

Professional development is not a luxury in this age of employment uncertainty. Teachers need to hone their skills, build their classroom techniques, and learn new strategies that help students succeed. NSTA offers the best PD for science educators across the nation. In Hartford, CT, Oct. 27–29, our Conference on Science Education has scheduled more than 400 sessions, workshops, presentations, and programs for teachers in every science discipline and at every stage in their career. Check out some of the planned sessions:

Chemistry Day, Biology Day, Engineering Day, and Physics Day

Building Tomorrow’s Workforce: Integrating science, math, engineering, and technology, Grades 4–9, 8:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m., fee-based

Leveling the Playing Field in STEM, Elem, Informal

Teaching for Conceptual Change, Page Keeley, Richard Konicek, Elem–College level

Facilitating Early Childhood Education with Project Learning Tree: effective hands-on activities to introduce science concepts to young children using PLT’s curriculum. PreK–Middle

Solids, Liquids, and Gases: The Kinetic-Molecular Theory of Matter, Middle

Using Data to Solve “Earth Science Puzzles”: Middle–High School

Your Source of Energy: Exploring the Fuels That Power Your State: Middle–High

Cross-Pollination: Using Science to Develop Similar Skills in Reading and Mathematics

Green Your School! Integrating Science with Service Learning: Learn how teachers and students can link science content with service learning to identify and research environmental science issues, explore solutions, and implement change. Elem–High

Helping High School Students Write Their Own Scientific Experiments

Drop the Lecture and Let the Students Pick Up the Learning in Environmental Science: Using a game of chance to simulate island biogeography, an “Olympic” committee to judge water quality, and a biogeochemical cycle group challenge to demonstrate environmental science, High

In addition to the sessions, there are networking activities, socials, field trips, and the ever-popular Exhibit Hall. Bring an extra tote for all the giveaways. Visit www.nsta.org for more details and to register.

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Go Back to School with NSTA on Your Side

Why do 57,000 of your colleagues in science education cherish their NSTA membership? Because they know that NSTA is their single stop to access the best resources, tools, and networking available to help them become the very best science educator they can be—creative, innovative, confident, exceptional educators who lead our students to science learning success year after year.
From award-winning journals appropriate to your grade band to books on pedagogy and science content, NSTA offers a wide range of services in support of science educators.

Online newsletters bring current news trends, tips and techniques for the classroom, and dates and descriptions of face-to-face seminars and institutes specific to your needs.

We provide webinars, podcasts, social networking, online content development, and myriad activities of interest to science educators, rounding out a comprehensive portfolio for those who want professional development.

To gain access to these and other important professional benefits, join online now—and join your fellow science educators at NSTA (virtually or face-to-face). Visit www.nsta.org for the latest in PD resources.

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Uncovering Student Ideas in Science-NSTA Press

Stop Faking It-Force and Motion Companion

Hard to Teach Science Concepts

Learn more about NSTA e-newsletter sponsorships

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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 August featured book, Girls in Science.

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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