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Week of November 7, 2011

Table of Contents

Delta Education

Introducing NSTA Radio—This Month's Topic: Next Generation Science Standards

NSTA is pleased to introduce the new NSTA Radio on the BAM Radio Network.

BAM Radio is the largest education radio network in the world offering programming from the nation's top education organizations and thought leaders. NSTA is the newest Network Partner with BAM Radio, and every month we will be hosting five- to seven-minute discussions on a range of topics with key leaders in science education.

This month on NSTA Radio, learn more about the NGSS with guest Stephen Pruitt and the upcoming New Orleans conference with Program Coordinator Jean May-Brett.

Tune in to the NSTA Radio on the BAM Network here.

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The Math-Science Death March

A New York Times article last week explores why up to 40 percent of college students planning to major in science and technology—and 60 percent of premed majors—are switching to other subjects or not getting any degree. 

In the November 4 article, journalist Christopher Drew writes, “The president and industry groups have called on colleges to graduate 10,000 more engineers a year and 100,000 new teachers with majors in STEM—science, technology, engineering and math. All the Sputnik-like urgency has put classrooms from kindergarten through 12th grade—the pipeline, as they call it—under a microscope. And there are encouraging signs, with surveys showing the number of college freshmen interested in majoring in a STEM field on the rise … But, it turns out, middle and high school students are having most of the fun, building their erector sets and dropping eggs into water to test the first law of motion. The excitement quickly fades as students brush up against the reality of what David E. Goldberg, an emeritus engineering professor, calls “the math-science death march.” Freshmen in college wade through a blizzard of calculus, physics and chemistry in lecture halls with hundreds of other students. And then many wash out.”

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Discover the DiscoverE Educator Awards

Full-time US or international educators in grades 6–12 who work closely with engineering programs, clubs and camps (4-H National Engineering Challenge, FIRST or other robotics clubs, Future City Competition, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, National Engineers Week, Project Lead the Way) or host engineers in their classes are invited to learn more about the DiscoverE Educator Awards, sponsored by the National Engineers Week Foundation and its partners with funding from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

A (short) application for the award is due by December 1. Teachers must be nominated by an engineer or a college/graduate level engineering student to be eligible. DiscoverE Educator winners will receive unrestricted cash awards, prizes and media recognition. Top winners will receive a trip to Washington, DC, for a recognition event on February 22, a $2,000 cash prize, a 3M digital projector, and a 3M gift pack of classroom supplies.

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Science Matters in New Orleans

Bring science to life for your students and children on Saturday, November 12, from 8:30 to 11 a.m. at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. NSTA is hosting a FREE community science event for science teachers, parents, children, and community members. At the Science Matters Community Event, held in conjunction with the NSTA New Orleans Area Conference on Science Education, participants will engage in exciting hands-on activities, live animal presentations, and demonstrations, manned by more than 30 local and national organizations with a vested interest in quality science education. Hooked on Science‘s Jason Lindsey, the keynote speaker for the event, will also make it rain toilet paper; shoot smoke rings out of a trash can; and create lightning. FREE Science Matters tote bags filled with cool giveaways will be distributed to the first 200 children (5–12 years old) who attend.

For those unable to come, please visit the Science Matters home page to view a live video feed during the event!

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From the NSTA Calendar: Earn a Certificate in Biotech Ed

Want to learn more about biotechnology? Johns Hopkins University will hold a free online information session to inform teachers about its graduate Certificate in Biotechnology Education Program. This 20-credit program provides a strong foundation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education and its applications in research laboratories and the biotechnology industry. The certificate is designed to strengthen the content knowledge and pedagogic techniques of science teachers of grades 7–12, as well as curriculum and instructional leaders, through inquiry-oriented approaches, and to develop ways to teach STEM and bioscience for direct transfer to the classroom.

During the session, taking place on November 17 at 7:00–8:30 p.m. Eastern Time, you’ll participate in an online Q&A about the program with the program faculty and admissions representatives. You’ll also find out how you can earn the certificate online or study on-site in Baltimore or Rockville, Maryland. For more details, and to RSVP online (deadline November 16), click here.

Prepare your students for the 21st-century workforce: Check out the other professional development opportunities posted to the NSTA Calendar.

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Meet Us in Seattle

We invite you to NSTA’s Conference on Science Education, Seattle, Dec. 8–10. Attend for new content, critical issue coverage, classroom strategies, new technology, and inspiration. For K–16 science teachers and administrators, this conference will heighten your enthusiasm for better teaching and learning and open doors to new ideas. Check out some of our scheduled plans below.


  • Supporting Students’ Integrated Understandings of Big Ideas and Scientific Practices Across Time by Joseph Krajcik (Director, Institute for Research in Mathematics and Science Education, Professor of Science Education, Michigan State University)
  • Connecting Community Experience and Science Learning by Eric J. Jolly (President, Science Museum of Minnesota)
  • Building Bridges Between In-School and Out-of-School STEM Learning, panel discussion moderated by Dennis Schatz, senior vice president for Strategic Programs at Pacific Science Center
  • STEM Education for All: A Quixotic Quest or Well Within Reach? Panel discussion moderated by Julia Novy-Hildesley, chief executive officer of Washington STEM. A reception will follow.

Elementary Highlights

  • Using Science as a Tool in Reading and Writing Instruction
  • A Framework and Tools to Make Tough Grades 3–5 Science Topics Approachable
  • Addressing Student Misconceptions of the Earth-Sun-Moon System: Seasons

Middle School Highlights

  • Technology Makes STEM Instruction Easy-integrate science, math, and engineering concepts
  • Forensics Science Can Turn Every Science into a Relevant Science
  • The Multilevel Classroom: Differentiation Strategies for Science
  • Seven Billion and Counting: Lessons for Our Planet's Future

High School and College Highlights

  • How to Move from Activity-based Science to STEM Project Based Learning, K-12 (ticketed)
  • Climate Data and Modeling
  • Evolution and Medicine: A New Approach to a Central Topic in High School Biology
  • Lost in Translation: Exploring Protein Synthesis with Interactive Physical Models

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

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Take-Home Chemistry: Low-Cost Activities to Extend Classroom Learning

For high school science teachers, homeschoolers, science coordinators, and informal science educators, this collection of 50 inquiry-based labs provides hands-on ways for students to learn science at home—safely. Author Michael Horton promises that students who conduct the labs in Take-Home Chemistry as supplements to classroom instruction will enhance higher-level thinking, improve process skills, and raise high-stakes test scores. Many of the exercises involve skills such as measuring, graphing, calculating, and extrapolating graphs, and cover topics such as moles, chromatography, chemical reactions, and titration. Each lab includes both a student page and a teacher page and provides an objective, a purpose, a materials list, notes, and post-lab questions, making Take-Home Chemistry a useful tool for improving how students learn chemistry.

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Lab Out Loud Podcast: Modeling Instruction in the Science Classroom

In episode 68, hosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler talk with Mark Schober about using Modeling Instruction in the science classroom. As president of the American Modeling Teacher's Association, Mark shares with LoL listeners a history of modeling, how it can be used in the classroom, and the belief that it is not just for physics courses.

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What If Prize for Space Educators is Launched

Do you use space to inspire young kids about science? Have you developed a lesson plan that students love? Take this opportunity to be recognized for your hard work and to share the space lessons that you have developed or adapted with teachers from all around the world. The What If competition is open to individuals in the United States and Canada who have written or adapted lesson plans that cover space science or space technology topics. The purpose of the competition is to recognize excellence and creativity in space science education and to produce useful, peer-reviewed, and freely available space science instructional materials for educators worldwide. There will be three prizes of $2000 each for the top lessons covering grades 6–8, 9–10, and 11–12 to be used toward a learning experience for the winner. Winners will be announced in early 2012. For more details about this competition please check What If Prize and the Teachers Without Borders websites.

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Science Kit


PBS Learning Media

NSTA Conference-Seattle

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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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