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Week of October 17, 2011

Table of Contents

Delta Education

STEM Legislation Part of Senate Bill to Overhaul No Child Left Behind

As expected, Senate leaders last week released the draft of a massive bill to revise and reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, also known as No Child Left Behind. The ESEA draft includes Senator Merkley’s bill (introduced October 6) to improve STEM education. It is anticipated that the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee will begin consideration of ESEA sometime this week. Read more about ESEA and STEM, and how you can help support this effort in the Senate, in this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update.

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NSTA Web Seminar: Making the Transition to Scientific and Engineering Practices: Visiting the Potential of the Next Generation Science Standards

Join us on October 25, 6:30–8:00 pm (Eastern), for a web seminar exploring science and engineering practices, one of three major dimensions of the National Research Council report, A Framework for K–12 Science Education. The Framework serves as the foundation for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) now in development and scheduled for release late next year.

What are these practices? What are the similarities and differences between science practices and engineering practices? Why practices and not inquiry? What do these practices mean for science teaching? These questions, as well as next steps for science educators to prepare for NGSS will be addressed by Dr. Brian Reiser, Professor of Learning Sciences in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, a member of the NRC committee that authored the Framework for K–12 Science and a member of the oversight group for the publication Ready Set Science; Francis Eberle, NSTA Executive Director; and Harold Pratt, Past NSTA President and science education consultant.

To register, go to the NSTA Learning Center.

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Nominate Your Best 3rd–5th Grade Teacher for the 2012 Mickleson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy by Oct. 31

Applications are due for the 2012 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy by the end of the month. This valuable program helps teachers learn new ways to inspire their students in math and science. Visit www.SendMyTeacher.com for more information.

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Compete for $300K in Prizes in the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge

The premier national environmental, sustainability competition for grades K–12 is now open. Register today and encourage teams of your students to create solutions to environmental problems and to learn about science and conservation while gaining 21st century skills. A wealth of free digital tools is available through the program to help integrate the Challenge into your curriculum. At stake is more than $300K in prizes including scholarships, adventure trips, and even a chance to present at the United Nations. To win big and save the planet, visit www.wecanchange.com.

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Join Us in New Orleans

There is still time to save on registration for the New Orleans Conference on Science Education, November 10–12. Come for NSTA’s excellent professional development (over 400 sessions) and stay for the beauty and culture of New Orleans. Experience the rich history of the city and its inviting museums, theaters, plantations, and parks. Take educational field trips to LIGO Science Education Center, St. Charles Parish Wetland Watchers Park, Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge, Audubon Insectarium, and more. Full-day programs in biology, physics, chemistry, and engineering will be offered along with a preconference program for elementary teachers to tackle integration of science into reading instruction.

Check out a sampling of grade-specific sessions:


  • Engage Students’ Brains Through Hands-On Activities
  • The Next Step in Engaging Early Elementary Students in Full Science Inquiry
  • Technology and the Interactive Notebook
  • A Framework and Tools to Make Tough Grades 3–5 Science Topics Approachable
  • STEM Research Made Visible!
  • Atomic Cookies and Other Culinary Science


  • Science Inquiry Projects at the Middle Level
  • Flights of Innovation: Readying Middle Schoolers for STEM Careers
  • Creating a Cohesive Lesson to Meet the Needs of All Learners
  • Leveling the Playing Field in STEM
  • Make It, Use It, and Take It Back to Your Classroom
  • I See What You Mean! Developing Visual Literacy
  • Cross-Pollination: Using Science to Develop Similar Skills in Reading and Mathematics


  • Writing in Science: The Effective Use of Argument
  • Physics in High School—More Necessary Today Than Ever Before
  • Teach Science Content and Inspire STEM Careers with FREE Online Web Adventures
  • Authentic Assessments, and Lots of 'em
  • Differentiated Science Inquiry
  • Bridging the Gap Between Teacher and Scientist

Don’t forget to visit our exhibit hall, jam-packed with the latest science products, free samples, handouts, and lesson plans.

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

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Congratulations to the 2011 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy Fellows

NSTA New Science Teacher Academy logoNSTA, in collaboration with The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, Amgen Foundation; Astellas Pharma US, Inc.; and the American Honda Foundation, announced the 220 middle and secondary science teachers from across the country who will take part as Fellows in the 2011 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy.

For this academic year, The Dow Chemical Company Foundation, the primary sponsor of the program, will fund the participation of 160 science teachers as Dow–NSTA Fellows. The Amgen Foundation will support 39 science teachers as Amgen–NSTA Fellows, and Astellas will support 14 science teachers primarily from the Chicago area as Astellas–NSTA Fellows. The Honda Foundation will support seven middle school science teachers as Honda–NSTA Fellows.

Representing 34 states and the District of Columbia, the 2011 fellows will receive a comprehensive NSTA membership package, online mentoring with trained mentors who teach in the same discipline, and the opportunity to participate in a variety of web-based professional development activities, including web seminars. In addition, each Fellow will receive financial support to attend and participate in NSTA’s 2012 National Conference on Science Education in Indianapolis.

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Register Now for a FREE Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Seminar

ExploraVision logoRegister now for the October 18 Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision web seminar, “Why Didn’t I Win In ExploraVision?” This web seminar, the second in a new series of web seminars being offered through the NSTA Learning Center, will focus on how you can help your students win in ExploraVision, the world’s largest K–12 science and technology competition.

Join Arthur Eisenkraft, the lead judge and co-creator of ExploraVision, and Nancy McIntyre, a former ExploraVision winning coach, as they provide tips on the basic components of ExploraVision projects, the various ways you and your students can submit, and some pointers on how you can help your students produce higher-quality projects.

Prospective ExploraVision coaches of grades K–12 are encouraged to participate. All participants will receive a certificate of participation as well as a one-year subscription to SciGuides. Don’t delay, register now!

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New from NSTA Press®: Science the "Write" Way

Writing skills are high on the list of real-world requirements for students and teachers. Every scientific discipline needs professionals who can ably describe their proposed studies for funding consideration, record observations and results, provide written experimental protocols for their peers, and share their findings with the community. This useful compendium for grades K through 8 outlines the process and the methods for teaching science writing lessons and offers practical assessments. Lab reports, science journals, field guides, interactive science notebooks, blogs, and even creative nonfiction and environmental poetry are covered. Order your copy today at www.nsta.org/store.

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Lab Out Loud Podcast: "But Are They Really Learning?"

In episode 66, hosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler discuss teaching techniques with Frank Noschese. Frank is a high school physics teacher at John Jay High School in Cross River, NY; he has recently been known for his criticism of the Khan Academy. Frank talks about blogging, active student engagement, flipped classrooms, psuedoteaching, and the Khan Academy. Join the conversation and leave your comments.

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SK Science Kit

NSTA Press-Science the Write Way

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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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