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Week of December 12, 2011

Table of Contents

Siemens "We Can Change the World Challenge"

Science Scores All Over the Map, Says Change the Equation

Last week Change the Equation (CTEq) released an analysis of how states define proficiency on 8th grade science tests. The report finds that states have radically different targets for what their 8th graders should know and be able to do and that “proficiency may have more to do with where you live than what you have learned.”

The analysis, done in conjunction with the American Institutes for Research, compared the passing scores 37 states set on their 2009 8th-grade science tests against the 2009 NAEP in science. Researchers took each state's passing score and mapped it onto the 300-point NAEP scale, allowing them to equate states' standards for "basic," "proficient," and "advanced" with scores on the NAEP scale. CTEq found that 15 of the 37 states set the bar for proficiency below NAEP’s threshold for Basic. Only four states set the bar near or above NAEP’s cutoff for Proficient.

Change the Equation is a network of more than 100 CEOs that works to create widespread literacy in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

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Is Your E-mail Address Current?

In January, balloting will take place for open positions in NSTA’s leadership. All members are reminded to check their current e-mail address on file with NSTA and make sure it is up-to-date in our system by December 16. You can check your e-mail address here.

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What's Your Take on Science Education in the US?

Share your views on No Child Left Behind and professional development opportunities by taking the second part of NSTA’s 2011 State of Science Education Survey. In 2009, educators shared concerns about a lack of professional development opportunities in the sciences. Have things changed? Let us know!

The survey will only take a few minutes of your time and it will help NSTA obtain very valuable information on a host of issues important to science education and educators.

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Science Rocks: Indianapolis 2012

NSTA’s annual National Conference on Science Education will be held in Indianapolis, March 29–April 1, 2012. To share in the discussion on the most critical issues for educators today, science teachers and administrators from across the nation are invited to attend. Consider the importance of the new Standards, STEM, climate change, technology, and energy issues. Or your interest may be focused on hands-on classroom techniques and strategies that raise student performance and literacy. Presentations, content-based symposia, and workshops on hundreds of topics you care about will provide learning opportunities specific to your needs. Have a look at just a few highlights:

  • Tim Samaras, Severe-Storms Researcher and National Geographic Emerging Explorer, presenting “The Science Behind Chasing Tornadoes”
  • Leland Melvin, past NFL wide receiver, astronaut, and current national advisor on STEM education, presenting “Inspiring the Next Generation of STEM Leaders”
  • “Integrating Science and Literacy: A Journey, Not a Destination”-3 hour workshop to learn how to integrate trade books into science instruction. (9 authors will work with small groups of attendees).
  • Panelists Stephen L. Pruitt, VP, Achieve, Inc. and Francis Eberle, NSTA Executive Director, discussing “Next Generation Science Education Standards”
  • Elementary Extravaganza-Collect resources (make and take) to use in the classroom tomorrow.
  • Professional Development Institutes (fee-based)—Choose from 11 in-depth, full-day programs, many with follow-on pathway sessions, e.g., “Conceptual Flow: Bridging the Gap Between Standards, Instructional Materials, and Student Learning. (WestEd)

Count on more than 400 companies in the Exhibit Hall that will share and show new products, field trips to local sites of interest, i.e. Indiana State Police Forensic Lab, networking with your peers, and a preconference event, “Science Rocks,” to meet prominent scientists in the STEM fields. Visit www.nsta.org/indianapolis often for updates.

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Predict, Observe, Explain: Activities Enhancing Scientific Understanding

In Predict, Observe, Explain, middle and high school science teachers, preservice, novice and experienced alike may want to incorporate a teaching method that helps students understand—and even enjoy—science and learning. The powerful Predict, Observe, Explain (POE) strategy, field-tested by hundreds of teachers, is designed to foster student inquiry and challenge existing conceptions that students bring to the classroom.

The 15 chapters cover topics such as force and motion, temperature and heat, light, chemical change, and life processes in plants. Lessons include worksheets, scientific explanations of the concepts being studied, summaries of student responses during the field tests, synopses of research findings, and lists of necessary materials. Visit NSTA’s science store to download a free chapter or buy a book.

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Approaches, Tools, and Processes for STEM Instruction

The STEM approach to education is designed to revolutionize the teaching of subject areas such as mathematics and science by incorporating technology and engineering into regular curriculum by creating a “meta-discipline.”

STEM Education attempts to transform the typical teacher-centered classroom by encouraging a curriculum that is driven by problem-solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and require students to actively engage a situation in order to find its solution.

Join the discussion in Atlantic City, New Jersey, May 17–19 at NSTA’s first STEM Forum and Expo. Learn about STEM best practices, content, and integration processes critical to the training of our elementary and middle school educators who will need to radically increase student literacy in STEM subjects to compete in our rapidly changing, technology-charged world. This event is for K–8 teachers, high school and college educators knowledgeable about what skillsets secondary and college level students need to be successful in STEM course work and careers, and administrators who must educate their teaching staff about STEM. Registration and a welcoming reception will be held in the Exhibit Hall on Wednesday, May 16, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m..

Featured speaker Kenneth Wesson, known nationally for his expertise in neuroscience, will speak on “brain-considerate” learning environments in the context of STEM.

Dr. Mary Ellen Weber, a NASA Astronaut for ten years, a the veteran of two Space Shuttle flights, and currently Vice President for Government Affairs and Policy at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, will present "To Boldly Go: The Unbounded Opportunities in Science and Math."

Visit www.nsta.org/stemforum often for updates.

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Montana State Launches Online Environmental Science Master's Degree

Montana State University has launched an online master's degree in Land Resources and Environmental Sciences. The 30-credit M.S. degree is designed for working professionals interested in understanding and/or managing landscapes at multiple scales. The inter-disciplinary degree is customizable to each student's interests and can include advanced coursework in areas such as environmental risk assessment, water quality, plant ecology, ecosystem ecology, invasive species, remote sensing and many other topics. Academic advisors and LRES faculty are available to help potential students design a program of interest.

The LRES master's program, which is designed to be completed in about two years, is now accepting applications for students who will enter in Fall 2012. Visit the LRES website.

Several other online graduate courses are offered by MSU in Spring 2012, including topics in Earth Science, Microbiology, Physics and others. MSU also offers five fully online graduate certificates in Science Teaching. Visit the NTEN website.

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Science Kit

NSTA Indianapolis Conference-Professional Development Institutes

NSTA STEM forum and expo

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 December featured book, Tried and True.

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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