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Week of October 10, 2011

Table of Contents

Siemens "We Can Change the World Challenge"

NSTA Legislative Update: STEM Education Bill Introduced in the Senate

Last week four senators introduced STEM legislation that may be part of the Senate’s reauthorized version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind). Read more in this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update.

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Register by October 21 to Win a Science Lab Makeover—$93,000 in Total Prizes

Is your school in need of a lab makeover? The deadline for applying to the Shell Science Lab Challenge for a chance to win a $20,000 lab makeover support package is October 21, 2011. Middle and high school science teachers (grades 6–12) who have found innovative ways to deliver quality science lab instruction utilizing limited laboratory resources and equipment are invited to share their approaches. Teachers submitting top entries will receive rich professional development opportunities and additional laboratory tools and resources for their schools. $93,000 in prizes will be awarded this year. Viable strategies submitted to the Challenge will be published in an online NSTA repository of science lab activities that can be delivered utilizing limited resources. We encourage applications from schools across the United States and in Canada, as well as urban schools and those with underserved populations. The Shell Science Lab Challenge is a program of NSTA.

To gain insight into completing your application, view the archive of the web seminar entitled, “Developing a Competitive Application for the Shell Science Lab Challenge.” For more information or to download an application, visit www.nsta.org/shellsciencelab.

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Science Matters Community Event

Bring science to life for your students and children on Saturday, October 29, from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the Connecticut Convention Center. The National Science Teachers Association is hosting a FREE community science event, sponsored by the ExxonMobil Foundation, for elementary teachers, parents, school officials, and other community members. Engage in exciting hands-on activities, live animal presentations, and demonstrations. You’ll hear from Hooked on Science® host Jason Lindsay, who will be giving the keynote address at the event.Science Matters tote bags filled with cool giveaways will be distributed to the first 100 children (5–12 years old) who attend. Visit www.nsta.org/sciencematters for more information or to learn how to register to attend the Science Matters Community Event.

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Win $10,000 Because You're the Best You Can Be

K–12 classroom science teachers might consider the Shell Science Teaching Award which recognizes one outstanding classroom science teacher (K–12) who has had a positive impact on his or her students, school, and community through exemplary classroom science teaching. The $10,000 prize also includes an all-expense paid trip to NSTA’s National Conference. Two additional finalists will also receive an all-expense paid trip to NSTA’s National Conference.

Download an application to apply.

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Join the Discussion on the Common Core State Standards

On Thursday, October 13, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU) will hold a public discussion/webcast in Washington, DC, on the Common Core State Standards and Teacher Preparation: The Role of Higher Education.

This event will be webcast live and recorded. If you would like to RSVP for the live webcast, please email Kacy Redd at smti@aplu.org. For more information, click here.

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From the NSTA Calendar: Real World Design Challenge

Your high school students can soar when they enter the Real World Design Challenge (RWDC). This annual aviation design competition is run by a public-private partnership seeking to sustainably increase the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce. They make it easy for teachers to get involved. Every participating teacher receives $1 million in professional engineering software, along with training, curriculum materials, and access to mentors. Teams of three to seven high school students use these resources to solve an engineering challenge currently faced by industry.

State champions win an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national finals. For that round, teachers will receive an additional challenge that builds on the state challenge, which teams will present in Washington in April.

Register your team by November 18 and learn more at the RWDC website.

For more opportunities to inspire your students and help them showcase their talents, visit the NSTA Calendar.

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Professional Development for Science Educators, New Orleans

NSTA’s Conference on Science Education, November 10–12, will bring thousands of science educators together for topnotch professional development. At every level, discipline, and grade band, teachers can build their skills and content knowledge, learn strategies to improve classroom performance, test their minds with new ideas, and network with peers and PD experts from across the country. Historically, past attendees’ favorite is Exhibit Hall with vendors sharing new products and great giveaways. See some of our noted presenters and workshops:

  • Keynote: Ted Danson—Actor, Activist, and Author of Oceana: Our Planet’s Endangered Oceans and What We Can Do to Save Them
  • Featured Panel: Next-Generation Science Education Standards—Stephen L. Pruitt (Vice President for Content, Research, and Development, Achieve, Inc; Francis Q. Eberle, Executive Director, National Science Teachers Association
  • The Physics of Supernova—Use analysis software, graphs, and basic physics gravitation and centripetal acceleration equations to determine if an object is a white dwarf or a neutron star. (High School–College)
  • SciOly Engineering Design Challenges (short course)—Science Olympiad offers a great way of integrating STEM in a competitive and challenging setting. Grades 6–9 (division B) and grades 9–12 (division C). Learn how to build a Science Olympiad team at your school, pertinent rules, and how Olympiad can foster engineering design, innovation, and discovery.
  • Climate Change: Global Connections and Sustainable Solutions—Hands-on lessons that demonstrate the interconnectedness between natural systems and human actions using carbon footprints, emissions trading, and energy policy. (Middle–High School)
  • Linking Science, Math, and Art Instruction (Elem–Middle Level)
  • Engaging Early Elementary Students in Full Science Inquiry (Elementary)
  • Let's Get Well Grounded—Multiple exemplary activities for the geology classroom (General)
  • Full-Day Programs—Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and Engineering

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

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New from NSTA Press®: Learning and Teaching Scientific Inquiry: Research and Applications

Science teacher educators, curriculum specialists, professional development facilitators, and K–8 teachers are bound to increase their understanding and confidence after a careful reading of this definitive volume. Touting a new perspective, the authors assert that scientific inquiry is best taught using models in science rather than focusing on the activities of scientists. Additional emphasis is placed on cognitive science research, providing invaluable insight on how students learn and how instructors should teach. Educators will find extensive examples, practice problems, activities, and lesson ideas that apply research findings to practical scenarios for the classroom. Order your copy today at www.nsta.org/store.

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NSTA Sets up Shop in Seattle in December

Join thousands of science educators at the Seattle, Dec. 8–10. A getaway for rigorous professional development designed by NSTA helps teachers build their skills, learn new content, strategize with the experts on classroom performance, and catch some inspiration for personal and professional growth. Take charge of your career and register by October 21 to save the most.

Build content knowledge with more than 400 workshops and presentations for PreK–college teachers; including:


  • Earth Shattering! Hands-On Earth Science Activities from the Department of Energy
  • Give Science a Voice! Digital Storytelling in the Science Classroom
  • Using Guided Language Acquisition Design to Impact Science for ELL Students
  • Our Solar System Through the Eyes of Scientists


  • The Reflective Assessment Technique: 15 Minutes to Improved Instruction
  • Teaching Science in the Context of Substance Abuse with FREE Online Web Adventures
  • Seven Billion and Counting: Lessons for Our Planet's Future


  • Evolution and Medicine: A New Approach to a Central Topic in High School Biology
  • NASA's Pi in the Sky: Meaningful Math in Your Astronomy Lessons
  • Meaningful Assessment in Science That Impacts Learning


  • Generating Data and Exploring Controversial Science Topics Using Social Media
  • Using Computer Models for Guided Inquiry: A Case Study of Biological and Physical Interactions in Estuaries
  • New Ways to Prepare Your Students Using 21st-Century STEM Initiatives—GO DIGITAL!

Full-day programs in biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering are being offered. Don’t miss a preconference workshop for elementary teachers interested in the Picture-Perfect program that is designed for integration of science into reading instruction. Field trips, networking, and the Exhibit Hall add lots of activities to choose from. Free wifi will be available in the convention center for the first time. Visit www.nsta.org/seattle for more information or to register.

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Professional development courses in your future?
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Take a look at these groups offering courses for science educators!

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