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Week of August 22, 2011

Table of Contents

Sally Ride Science

NSTA Awarded $3 Million Multiyear Grant from the Dow Chemical Company Foundation

NSTA is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $3 million grant from the Dow Chemical Company Foundation. The grant will be used to support the participation of 480 early-career science teachers from Louisiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Texas over a three-year period in the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy.

Intended for science educators entering their second or third year of teaching, the Academy is designed to help promote quality science teaching, enhance teacher confidence and classroom excellence and improve teacher content knowledge. The 480 teachers supported by the grant will be named Dow-NSTA Fellows and will receive year-long professional development that includes a host of science-related activities; online mentoring with trained mentors who teach in the same discipline; a comprehensive NSTA membership package; access to NSTA’s vast online Learning Center and electronic, web-based professional development events and opportunities. Additionally, each fellow will receive financial support to attend and participate in NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education

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Give Back to the Science Teaching Community—Join an NSTA Committee, Advisory Board, or Panel

We need your views and expertise—we’re looking for everyone from grade-level experts to retired teachers with time to mentor newbies, from curriculum experts to informal science educators, and from those of you who are comfortable looking at a spreadsheet to those of you who are avid journal readers. So if you’re a member, consider boosting your career by joining a committee, advisory board, or panel. The application and appointment process begins on August 22, 2011. To learn more about the various opportunities available, apply online, or download an application, please visit this NSTA web page.

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Free Professional Development Web Seminars

Throughout the academic year, please join us for a record number of web seminar programs!

  • August 24, 2011 – Electromagnetic Spectrum: Remote Sensing Ices on Mars
    • In this new program from NASA Explorer Schools (NES), teachers will learn how to use authentic mission data to investigate the composition and distribution of ices at the high latitude regions of Mars
  • August 30, 2011 – Meteorology: How Clouds Form
    • Teachers will learn about the relationships between air pressure, temperature, volume and cloud formation.
  • September 13, 2011 – The Science of Solar Power for Middle and High School Students.
    • Solar power presents a number of STEM applications that appeal to students and their interest in improving the environment.
  • September 14, 2011 – Interactive Visualization Tools for Climate
    • Interactive visualization tools give you and your students the opportunity to explore and interpret authentic climate data. Presenters will demonstrate interactive tools that generate graphs and visualizations of climate-related data.
  • September 21, 2011 – What is ExploraVision and How Can I Use It?
    • Presenters, including ExploraVision winning teachers, will give an overview of the ExploraVision competition and some tips and guidelines for a successful beginning.

Go to the web seminar home page to see the entire list, with many more to come!

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Back-to-School Special

Southwest.com graphicNeed a ride to the Hartford, New Orleans, or Seattle NSTA Area Conference on Science Education?

Teachers can apply for a Travel Scholarship, made possible by Southwest Airlines, to any one of the 2011 NSTA Area Conference on Science Education:

Hartford, October 27-29
New Orleans, November 10-12
Seattle, December 8-10

A total of 27 round trip airline tickets will be awarded to science educators attending the 2011 NSTA area conferences (nine to each conference).

To register to win, write a 150-word essay on what science content, teaching strategy, technique, or topic you are most interested in learning about at the conference and why. Include your name, which 2011 NSTA Area Conference you wish to attend, NSTA member status (member/non-member), school, address, e-mail, and phone number along with your essay.

E-mail your entry to swtravelscholarship@nsta.org.

The deadline is 5 pm on Friday, September 2, 2011. Travel Scholarship recipients will be notified on Friday, September 16, 2011.

This opportunity is available thanks to the generosity of Southwest Airlines!

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NSTA Heads to New Orleans in November

Join NSTA in New Orleans, November 10–12 for our second fall area conference on science education and laissez le bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)! Teachers in every discipline and from every grade band, K–16, will enjoy 400+ workshops, presentations, seminars, and sessions to choose from. Expand your knowledge in content development, assessment, inquiry, discipline-specific content, science education standards and more. Register by September 23 to save the most!

New Orleans highlights:

  • Presentation: A Framework for K–12 Educationwill explore the Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas released by the National Research Council that identifies the key scientific ideas and practices all students should learn by the end of high school.
  • Ted Danson, Actor, Activist, and Author of Oceana: Our Planet’s Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them
  • The Next Step in Engaging Early Elementary Students in Full Science Inquiry
  • Using Interactive Science Notebooks in the Middle School Classroom
  • Writing in Science: The Effective Use of Argument (High)
  • STEM in Action—I’m Ready for the Real World! (Middle/High)
  • Bargain Bag Science for Elementary School Teachers: Cheap and Easy Science Ideas
  • Physics in High School—More Necessary Today Than Ever
  • Field Trip - LIGO Science Education Center: Inspiring Science -  A behind the scenes look at how LIGO hopes to detect ripples in space-time caused by colliding black holes and neutron stars; tour an instrument with 4 km long arms under a vacuum that’s better than outer space; and explore 5,000 square feet of science center exhibits.

Visit www.nsta.org/conferences for more information and to register.

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Approach STEM Experiments with Confidence

A comprehensive resource for teachers and students, the STEM Student Research Handbook outlines the various stages of large-scale STEM research projects, enabling teachers to coach their students through the entire process. This handbook provides enough detail to embolden all teachers—even those who have never designed an experiment on their own—to support student-researchers through the entire process of conducting experiments. Early chapters help students design and implement their research projects. Later chapters help them correctly interpret their data. Finally, the last chapters enable students to effectively communicate their results by writing and documenting a STEM research paper. Included are student handouts, checklists, presentation observation sheets, and sample assessment rubrics. Pre-order your copy today at www.nsta.org/store.

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From the NSTA Calendar: Funds for Teaching Biotechnology

GetBiotechSmart.com’s Excellence in Biotechnology Education Grants not only help teachers acquire materials and equipment for biotechnology education, but they also will pay for two national winners to attend NSTA’s upcoming National Conference in Indianapolis!

To apply for these grants, teachers must develop innovative project ideas that enhance students’ understanding of biotechnology. Two grants of $5,000 each will be awarded to a middle school and a high school science teacher residing in the United States and U.S. territories. In addition, two applicants will receive Finalist awards for $2,500, and up to four applicants will receive an Honorable Mention award for $1,000.

Each national teacher-winner ($5,000 awardee) will receive an all-expense-paid trip to the 2012 NSTA National Conference in Indianapolis, March 29–April 1. There the winning teachers will be honored at a dinner and presented with a plaque. The grant winners also will staff a booth where they’ll share about how they incorporate biotech curriculum in their classroom and how the grant will (or did) help them do so.

Visit GetBiotechSmart.com to learn more. Applications are due by September 30.

We’ve heard how teachers are spending out of their own pockets to buy classroom supplies and equipment. That’s why the NSTA Calendar has information about grants and awards that can help put some money back in your pocket.

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Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Release Annual Poll on Attitudes Toward Public Schools

More than 70 percent of Americans say they have trust and confidence in the men and women who are teaching in public schools, and 69 percent give public school teachers in their community a grade of an A or B (compared to only 50 percent in 1984) according to the 2011 Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK)/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools. The poll—conducted annually since 1969—also found:

  • Nearly one in two Americans believes that teacher unions hurt public education.
  • Sixty-seven percent said they would like to have a child of theirs choose a public-school teaching career.
  • 76 percent believe we should be actively recruiting our high-achieving high school students to consider teaching as a career.
  • Forty-one percent of Americans would give the president a letter grade of an A or a B for his support of public schools.
  • 70 percent favor the President’s support for charter schools.

Poll respondents also believe teacher salaries should be based on multiple factors,
including advanced degrees, experience, and the principal’s evaluations of the teacher.
Students’ scores on standardized tests were rated as least important. Similarly, Americans
believe that school districts should use multiple factors to determine which teachers
should be laid off first, rather than basing it primarily on seniority (last hired, first fired).

Read the poll highlights (PDF)

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NASA Explores Schools Live Video Chat: How Clouds Affect Our Weather and Climate

NASA Explorer Schools, or NES, invites educators and students in grades 8–12 from across the U.S. and Departments of Defense and State schools to participate in a special live video webchat. This chat will feature Lin Chambers, a physical scientist with the Climate Science Branch at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. Chambers will answer student questions about clouds, how they form, why they are important to our atmosphere and how they affect our weather and climate.

This one-hour video webchat starts at 2 p.m. EDT on Aug. 24, 2011.

You do not need to be a participant of the NASA Explorer Schools project to participate in the chat.

To learn more about NES, please visit the explorerschools.nasa.gov website.

For more information about this NES live video chat, visit this NASA web page.

If you have any questions about the webcast, please contact John Entwistle at NASA-Explorer-Schools@mail.nasa.gov.

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Lego Education-Creativity Contest

Earth Science Puzzles sponsorship

Designing Effective Science Instruction sponsorship

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 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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