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Week of December 19, 2011

Table of Contents

NSTA-STEM Conference

New Resources from NSTA on the Framework for K–12 Science Education

NSTA Releases Reader’s Guide to the Framework for K–12 Science Education. Download it now for FREE!

Reader's Guide to Frameworks coverA Framework for K–12 Science Education provides a broad set of learning expectations for students as they study science and engineering throughout the K–12 years. Released by the National Research Council (NRC) in July, the Framework guides the writers of the forthcoming Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS); will influence curriculum, assessment, and teacher professional development decisions for years to come; and ultimately will help inspire new generations of science and engineering professionals and scientifically literate citizens.

NSTA has released a handy Reader’s Guide that unpacks the three key dimensions of the Framework—allowing teachers, administrators, curriculum developers, university professors and others to more easily grasp how the soon-to-be-released Next Generation Science Standards will differ from the current standards. Authored by Harold Pratt, a former NSTA president, career science coordinator, and NRC senior program officer during the development of the National Science Education Standards (NSES), the Reader’s Guide offers the following for each chapter of the Framework:

  • An overview with a brief synopsis of key ideas
  • An analysis of what is similar to and what is different from the NSES
  • A suggested action to help readers understand and start preparing for the NGSS

The NSTA Reader’s Guide to the Framework for K–12 Science Education is an important companion to the Framework and will help science educators as they prepare to incorporate the upcoming standards into their teaching of science and engineering. Visit the NSTA Science Store to download a FREE copy, or visit www.nsta.org/ngss for a link to the Guide along with up-to-date information on work surrounding the Next Generation Science Standards. The Reader’s Guide also will be inserted in the January editions of all NSTA journals.

NSTA Journal Series Helps Science Educators Prepare for Next Generation Science Standards by Better Understanding the Framework

NSTA is dedicated to helping science educators prepare for the Next Generation Science Standards. Adding to our host of resources is a special journal series exploring important dimensions of the Framework. Every month, NSTA’s member journals—Science and Children, Science Scope, The Science Teacher, and the Journal of College Science Teaching—will carry a specifically themed article focused on helping science educators better understand the foundation on which new standards will be built. December’s article, Scientific and Engineering Practices in K–12 Classrooms: Understanding A Framework for K–12 Science Education (PDF), is written by Rodger Bybee, executive director emeritus of Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) and Life Sciences Design Team Lead for the NRC Framework study committee. Bybee presents the science and engineering practices from the Framework and addresses such questions as “Why practices and why not inquiry?” and “Why science and engineering?” Next month’s article explores the core ideas of engineering and technology.

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Google Science Fair Returns

In January 2012, Google will launch the second annual Google Science Fair. The Google Science Fair is an international competition which encourages students between the ages of 13 to 18 to be curious, ask questions, and perform science experiments to answer those questions. In partnership with CERN, National Geographic, LEGO and Scientific American, Google invites these students to post their science projects online so that they may compete for prizes, scholarships and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Interested students and teachers should visit www.google.com/sciencefair to register to be notified when the competition opens.

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Win a Yearlong PD Scholarship to the New Science Teacher Academy—Register Now

For new secondary science teachers, those first years of teaching often are stressful and anxiety-ridden. Research indicates new teachers’ performance and confidence is enhanced with professional development, engagement with like-minded peers, and solid mentoring. To that end, NSTA and sponsoring corporations established the New Science Teacher Academy, a program that fills those needs. Middle and high school science teachers in their second or third year of teaching are invited to apply to participate in the Academy. More than 200 teacher applicants will win a scholarship for the 2011-2012 Academy program. “Fellows” in the Academy will enjoy the following:

  • Membership in NSTA with full benefits
  • Access to facilitated, web-based curriculum devoted to content and classroom pedagogy
  • One-on-one e-mentoring, specific to the Fellow’s discipline and grade band
  • All expenses paid to NSTA’s National Conference (lodging, airfare, meals, and registration included)
  • Attendance at a PD Institute or Research Conference

Visit www.nsta.org/academy to learn more or apply. The deadline is July 1, 2012.

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The Premier Conference on Science Education in 2012, Indianapolis

We invite all science educators to consider an academic spring getaway in Indiana, March 29–April 1. Science teachers in every discipline and grade band, K–16, and administrators are welcome. NSTA's top-notch professional development will be offered, providing techniques and strategies for improving performance in the classroom, new resources and lesson plans, content for building subject knowledge, Next Generation Standards, and the latest on issues important to educators today. More than 1600 sessions will be available including field trips, short courses, workshops, professional development institutes, and symposia. Join us.

Some highlights:

  • Next Generation Science Education Standards—Stephen Pruitt, VP, Achieve, Inc., and Frances Eberle, NSTA Executive Director. Featured presentation on progress on development of National Science Standards
  • David Macaulay, best-selling author and illustrator, will present “Ingenuity: A Work in Progress”
  • Using WALL-E, an Animated Film, as an Effective Classroom Educational Resource (Short Course)
  • “Forensic Science Education: Multidisciplinary Science, Bringing Critical Thinking, Interactive Learning, and Creativity to the Classroom,” Dr. Jay Siegel, Professor of Forensic and Investigative Sciences, Indiana University–Purdue
  • Authentic STEM for the Youngest Scientists
  • Thinking Green with Dr. Seuss (Short Course)
  • The Art of Science and the Framework for Science Education, Dr. Jeff Goldstein, Director, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
  • How Do You Know What They Know? Assessing Understanding
  • NASA’s Ready-to-Go Solar Science and Solar Energy Activities for the K–5 Classroom
  • Teaching Sustainability: The STEM Way
  • Google Me This: How to Make Collaboration Work in a Wiki World
  • Digitizing the Learning Experience and Taking IT Mobile
  • Podcasting and Blogging for Students and Teachers in Science
  • Teaching Nutrition Science and the Food Label, FDA Symposium
  • Stem Cells and Cell Therapies, Lydia Villa-Komaroff, an internationally recognized molecular biologist, will present.

Visit www.nsta.org/indianapolis for more information or to register. The earlybird deadline is February 3.

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From the NSTA Calendar: Start the New Year With a Grant

If you’re a K–12 educator who teaches students or members of your community about meteorology, you can start the new year off right by applying for a National Weather Association (NWA) Sol Hirsch Education Fund Grant. Each year, the NWA awards up to seven grants of $750 to help educators purchase scientific materials and equipment for the classroom, school, or community; establish or enhance school or community meteorology education programs; or attend accredited meteorology-related courses, workshops, or conferences. Grants are awarded based on need, impact of the funding, and the proposal’s likelihood of success.

The application period will begin in January and run through June 1. For more information and to apply, visit www.nwas.org/grants/solhirsch.php.

Need funding for other classroom projects or school programs? Bookmark the NSTA Calendar and visit it next year to find more grant and fellowship opportunities.

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The Latest from Lab Out Loud: "Hack Your Bio Class"

For the last episode of 2011, hosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler talk with journalist and author Marcus Wohlsen. Wohlsen is a science writer for the Associated Press who has received abundant praise for his recent book Biopunk: DIY Scientists Hack the Software of Life. Listen to Lab Out Loud as Wohlsen talks about his book, the underground community of "biopunks," and how you might hack your biology curriculum.

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AMNH Online Courses Still Available for Spring: Blended Workshops for IB Teachers

Sign up by New Years and get $50 off an online graduate course from Seminars on Science and the American Museum of Natural History. From genetics to climate change to relativity, there is a course to fit your needs and interests! All courses are six-weeks long and co-taught by a research scientist and experienced educator. Register online at learn.amnh.org.

IB Teachers MYP and PYP Teachers: Join us this spring for blended workshops that culminate in a three-day onsite experience at AMNH in New York City. Explore Science in the PYP, or work with colleagues on MYP Interdisciplinary curriculum, all while using the extraordinary resources of the Museum to support your learning goals. For more information and to register, visit learn.amnh.org/ib.

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Happy Holidays to All Our Faithful Readers!

NSTA Express will not be published the week of December 26.
See you in the New Year!

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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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