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Week of August 29, 2011

Table of Contents

Sally Ride Science

Send a Teacher Back to School

With the arrival of the first day of school, it seems like kids everywhere are busy buying supplies and savoring the last days of summer. It’s also back to school time for educators—start the school year off right by nominating a teacher for the 2012 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy at www.sendmyteacher.com. At the Academy, they’ll learn unique and interactive ways to inspire their students in math and science. The all-expenses-paid professional development program has hosted 3,000 teachers since 2005. Visit www.sendmyteacher.com and nominate a colleague or teacher in your life today. This free, weeklong professional development event is one not to miss. The deadline for applications is Oct. 31, 2011.

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Support Science Education; Ask Your Member of Congress to Support House Resolution 378

As the August Congressional recess comes to an end and the school year is beginning across the country, we are asking all NSTA Express readers to encourage members of the U.S. House of Representatives to cosponsor House Resolution 378. This resolution emphasizes the importance of STEM education to our country's future and urges the House to give "strong consideration" to the question of how best to integrate science, along with math and reading, into the K–12 school accountability system as Congress reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, otherwise known as No Child Left Behind.

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Empower Your Students to Help Change the World Through the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Program

Year 20 of the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision program—the world’s largest K–12 science and technology competition—officially kicked off last week. Applications for next year’s competition will be available online at exploravision.org beginning September 1 and are due February 1, 2012.

The ExploraVision program, sponsored by Toshiba and administered by NSTA, was created to help motivate young students to excel in science and technology. It challenges teams of 2–4 students to research scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for designing innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. Students on the four first-place ExploraVision winning teams will each receive a $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bond valued at maturity. Students on second-place teams will each receive a $5,000 bond valued at maturity. Canadian winners receive Canada bonds purchased for the equivalent issue price in Canadian dollars. The eight teams will also receive an expenses-paid trip with their families, mentor and coach to Washington, D.C., for a gala awards weekend in June 2012.

In an ExploraVision first, the teacher who submits the largest number of qualified student projects this year will receive a Toshiba tablet PC. Teachers can learn more about ExploraVision and how to use it as a tool in the classroom through a series of Web seminars at The NSTA Learning Center.  Join the first web seminar, “What is ExploraVision and How Can I Use It?” on Wednesday, September 21, 2011.

For more information, visit the competition website or e-mail exploravision@nsta.org. Follow ExploraVision on Twitter at @ToshibaInnovate or join the ExploraVision Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/ToshibaInnovation.

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Going Digital: What Do You Think?

In some classrooms, digital instructional resources are ubiquitous—from clicker systems tallying student responses to electronic white boards to digital probes to libraries of online resources. Other educators eschew technology for many reasons including budgetary considerations, structural limitations, network restrictions, or their own discomfort.

Take this survey and let us know what technology you use with your students.

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Travel Scholarships for Attendees at NSTA Fall Conferences

Teachers can apply for a Travel Scholarship, made possible by the generosity of Southwest Airlines, to any one of the 2011 NSTA Area Conferences on Science Education. This support can help you get to Hartford, October 27–29, New Orleans, November 10–12, or Seattle, December 8–10, this fall. A total of 27 round-trip airline tickets will be awarded to science educators attending the 2011 NSTA area conferences (nine to each conference). Take advantage of this opportunity by registering right away. September 2 is the deadline.

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. Along with your essay, include your name, which 2011 NSTA Area Conference you wish to attend, NSTA member status (member/nonmember), school, address, e-mail, and phone number.

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

The deadline is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 2, 2011.

Travel Scholarship recipients will be notified by Friday, September 16, 2011.

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Exemplary Professional Development for Science Educators

You’re invited to NSTA’s Area Conference on Science Education in Seattle, Dec. 8–10. With a wide range of exemplary PD options, teachers at all stages in their careers, in every grade band and discipline can take advantage of more than 400 workshops, seminars, and sessions to build skills and content knowledge for better classroom performance. Have a look at some of our offerings at this academic getaway:

  • Featured Speaker: Eric J. Jolly (President, Science Museum of Minnesota), known for his personal passion for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education and for working to identify solutions that address our country’s achievement gap, will present on Connecting Community Experience and Science Learning.
  • Featured Panel: STEM Education for All: A Quixotic Quest or Well Within Reach? Diverse voices will share compelling, personal messages and to explore whether our views about “STEM for all” are consistent with our daily actions.
  • Differentiation Strategies for Science, Middle-High School
  • Oobleck, Slime, and Playdough—Materials Engineering for the Elementary Classroom
  • Using Science as a Tool in Reading and Writing Instruction, Elem-Middle
  • Scaffolded Inquiry: Progressions in the Learning to Conduct Full Inquiry, Supervision/Administration
  • Climate Data and Modeling, High School
  • Ramps and Pathways: An Inquiry-based Approach to Physical Science in Early Childhood
  • Field trip to the premier Puget Sound Aviation High School, where there is a combination of the rigor of college-prep academics with hands-on/minds-on nature of technical and vocational education. (ticketed)
  • Picture-Perfect Science Workshop: full-day preconference (Wed., Dec. 7) event for elementary teachers interested in integrating science and reading instruction.

Visit www.nsta.org/seattle for more information or to register. October 31 is the earlybird deadline.

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Motivate Your Students with "Mastery Learning"

K–12 teachers in search of a new approach to achieving science comprehension for all students will appreciate Mastery Learning in the Science Classroom: Success for Every Student. Author Kelly Morgan presents a compelling case for implementing a mastery learning science classroom and then shows us how to do it. Using research-based student performance data, Morgan compiles impressive statistics that support her assertion, “Mastery learning results in improved student learning and motivation.” Showing challenges as well as benefits, this text covers a step-by-step implementation from the traditional classroom to a mastery classroom, along with sample worksheets, checklists, a teacher grading grid, and additional resources. Be the first in your school to delve into this method that imparts students with important self-monitoring skills and enables teachers to provide individual students with the type of instruction they require at the time when they require it. Order your copy today at www.nsta.org/store.

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Develop Your Students’ Energy Knowledge and Compete for Prizes

America’s Home Energy Education Challenge, sponsored by the Deptartment of Energy and the National Science Teachers Association, offers teachers and their students the opportunity to learn about energy, its use, and how energy conservation saves money and precious resources. Participating schools will compete for more than $200,000 in prizes distributed at the regional and national levels of the competition.

Home Energy Award, the first segment of the Challenge, inspires friendly competition among classes and schools. Teams from 11 regions of the U.S. compete for $102,000 in cash prize. The winning projects will be based on student participation rates, energy savings, and the overall creativity and quality of the participating local competition.

Students who are unable to monitor their individual home energy may participate in an optional activity of the Challenge that involves developing a home energy savings plan and a poster depicting that plan.  The winners of this optional program will be judged on their poster and their plan and compete for $48,000 in cash prizes.

The Energy Fitness Award, the second segment of the Challenge, focuses directly on individual and classroom knowledge about energy. This online component is a separate educational gaming activity. Students can participate at any time and can return to play multiple times. Each student who successfully completes the Energy Fitness Award quiz will receive an Energy Fitness Badge. Schools and/or classrooms with exemplary participation in this activity will earn additional prizes.

For more information, visit America's Home Energy Education challenge website: www.homeenergychallenge.org.

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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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