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Week of August 27, 2012

Table of Contents

NSTA Conference-Louisville

NSTA Journals Go Digital

NSTA is now supplying digital versions of the print journals our members have come to love. Same great content, but now NSTA members can read it on the computer as well as the Kindle Fire, Android tablet/phone, or iPad/iPhone. Our journal apps are all available via Google and Amazon. At this time, Science Scope and the Journal of College Science Teaching are available via iTunes, and apps are pending for Science and Children and The Science Teacher . For more information, please go to our digital journals page. Questions? e-mail us at digitaljournals@nsta.org.

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Free NSTA Web Seminars This Fall Will Focus on NRC Framework Practices of Science

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), expected out next year, will be based on A Framework for K–12 Science Education, released in 2011 by the National Research Council (NRC). The Framework describes the major science practices, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas that all students should be familiar with by the end of high school and incorporates a larger role for technology and engineering in science education.

Starting September 11, 2012, and continuing through December, NSTA will be presenting a series of eight FREE web seminars on the practices described in the Framework for K–12 Science Education. Each web seminar will run from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time and will focus on a particular practice outlined in the Framework including:

These webinars and will provide teachers with information on:

  • The key elements of the practice;
  • How the practice is part of the broader set of practices that work together (and how no practice is taught in isolation);
  • How the practice can be used in combination with disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts to form performance expectations; and
  • What the use of the practice really looks like in the classroom.

WHO SHOULD ATTEND? The web seminars are offered free of charge and are designed so that participants can participate in just one or all eight sessions. The primary audience is middle level and high school teachers, science coordinators, supervisors, state science supervisors, but the web seminars should be valuable for anyone interested in the Framework and NGSS.

“The Framework for K–12 Science Education (and the Next Generation Science Standards) is expected to improve instruction and classroom practices, and bring about a transformative change in the teaching and learning of science.” says Gerald Wheeler, NSTA Interim Executive Director. “At these webinars teachers can learn more about these practices now in advance of the release of NGSS and begin incorporating them into instruction to provide students the skill sets they need to be successful in learning any content.”

Learn more about the NGSS Web seminar Series »

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Report Roundup: College and Career Readiness and PDK/Gallup Poll of Public Attitudes toward the Public Schools

ACT Reports on College and Career Readiness for Class of 2012

The annual ACT 2012 Condition of College and Career Readiness reports little change in college readiness in English, mathematics, reading and science for the 2012 cohort of tested students (over half [52 percent] of all 2012 high school graduates), but more students are prepared specifically in the subject areas of math and science.

According to ACT, the percentages of graduates who met or surpassed the ACT benchmarks in mathematics and science each rose for the third straight year in 2012 with 46 percent of ACT-tested graduates achieving the benchmark in math, and 31 percent achieving the benchmark in science. College readiness levels in English and reading, although still higher than those in math and science, have been relatively flat over the past five years with 67 percent of tested graduates meeting the benchmark in English and 52 percent meeting the benchmark in reading.

Using the ACT College Readiness Benchmarks and ACT® test scores, the Condition of College & Career Readiness reports provide national and state snapshots of college readiness of the graduating seniors of the class of 2012 who took the ACT in high school. Read more »

PDK/Gallup Poll of Public Attitudes toward the Public Schools

“Deep and important divisions are roiling America in this election year, and education is not immune to those divides,” begins the 44th annual PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes toward the Public Schools … But this year, as in the last few years, lack of funding was by far the most common single response Americans cited as the biggest challenge facing schools in their communities.”

Highlights from the report:

  • Three of four Americans believe the common core standards will provide more consistency in the quality of education between school districts and states.
  • This year, as in past years, almost half of Americans give the schools in their community either an A or B then assigned a grade of C to the nation’s schools.
  • Balancing the federal budget is more important than improving the quality of education. Sixty percent of Americans believe balancing the federal budget is more important, even though they said funding is the biggest problem facing public schools.
  • Parents want more control over failing schools. Seventy percent of Americans favor giving parents whose children attend a failing school the option to mount a petition drive requesting that the teachers and principal be removed.

PDK, a global association of education professionals, has conducted this poll with Gallup annually since 1969. See the one-pager on the poll (PDF) and read more at www.pdkpoll.org.

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NSTA Symposium on the Monarch Butterfly for Science Educators

Take advantage of the exceptional opportunity to view the latest IMAX film, Flight of the Butterflies, and engage in classroom activities focused on the monarchs’ amazing migration across North America, as well as their habitats and life cycle. Sponsored by the Maryland Science Center, University of Minnesota, and National Science Foundation, this symposium scheduled for October 19, 2012, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. is offered to attendees of NSTA’s Conference on Science Education in Louisville, Kentucky (Oct. 18–20). Science educators will hear from experts in the field of monarch study about how they and their students can become involved in citizen science projects to help the monarchs. Educational materials will be provided for classroom use, a drawing for door prizes will take place, breakfast will be served, and each participant will receive a $75 stipend for attendance. Visit www.nsta.org/louisvillelouisville for more information and to register for the conference (required) and the symposium ($47 in advance; $54 onsite).

Sponsored by Maryland Science Center, University of Minnesota, and National Science Foundation.

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Share your Science Experiment with a National Audience

As part of an ongoing effort to promote results from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) science report cards and scientific academic achievement in the United States, the National Assessment Governing Board, an independent, bipartisan organization that oversees NAEP ( also known as The Nation’s Report Card) is seeking brief, informal videos about a hands-on or interactive project, activity, or experiment that brought science to life for your class. Learn more »

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Science Educators are Invited to Attend NSTA's First 2012 Regional Conference on Science Education in Louisville, Kentucky

Scheduled for October 18–20, attendees can look forward to topnotch professional development, full-day programs, networking, inspirational speakers, and field trips to local science-related destinations. Consider adding to your teaching portfolio of skills and knowledge by attending hands-on workshops, sharing in discussions about your issues—NGSS, STEM, integration, assessment, literacy, and learning new strategies to build performance in the classroom. There are nearly 400 sessions for you to choose from. Check out some featured events below.

  • Engineering-enhanced Science, Inquiry, and Problem Solving—Christine M. Cunningham (Founder and Director, Engineering is Elementary; and Vice President, Museum of Science, Boston)
  • Product Design and Robots Applied to Health Care Problems: A Recipe for Joy and Passion for K–12 Science and Engineering Education?—Michelle J. Johnson (Associate Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Medical College of Wisconsin)
  • Field Trip: Falls of the Ohio—One of the most unusual natural resources in the U.S. (Fee-based)
  • Teaching Science Outdoors Through Research, Design, and Technology—Short Course, (Fee-based)
  • Picture-Perfect Science Lessons: Using Children's Books to Guide Inquiry, 3–6
  • Put the "E" in STEM Using Lessons You May Already Have: Real-World Applications to Science Are Everywhere (Elementary)
  • Inquiring About Systems and Sustainability: Engaging Lessons for the Primary Grades (Informal)
  • Neuroscience for Your Biology Classroom (Middle–High School)
  • Making Magnetism Visible—AAPT’s illustrative, motivating demonstrations and activities with handouts (Middle–High School, Informal)
  • Our Changing Planet—18 free online activities and videos about changes in the Earth system (Middle–High)
  • NASA's HIAD Program: Engineering Design in Action (Middle–High)
  • STEM—Now or Never!—Using technology in the classroom makes STEM instruction the best means to integrate science, math, and engineering instruction (Middle–High)

Visit www.nsta.org/louisville for complete information and to register. The earlybird deadline is Sep. 7.

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#1 Resource for New Science Teachers

If you're a new science teacher this year, then Rise and Shine: A Practical Guide for the Beginning Science Teacher can be your trusted guidebook to starting the school year off on the right foot. Full of helpful advice, the book includes chapters on creating an environment for learning, safety, teaching strategies, assessment, working with parents, finding support, and more. It provides a support system that new science teachers can turn to in their first days, months, and years in the classroom.  If you need a mentor—or if you are a mentor or instructor who wants to support new science teachers—this book is for you.

Download the chapter "The First Week of School" for tips on topics from motivating students to lesson planning and time management.

Member Price: $26.36 | Nonmember Price: $32.95

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New Course with Wildlife Conservation Society's Online Teacher Academy for Fall 2012

The Wildlife Conservation Society’s Online Teacher Academy is offering a new course at a special rate of $50 (a $225 savings!). Our Changing Planet: Climate Change and Wildlife Connections offers an opportunity for you to learn about one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time: climate change.  Based on cutting edge science from our WCS field experts, explore the science of climate change and how it relates to wildlife. Access free resources that will help you bring this topic to your students.

This Fall course runs entirely online for six weeks, from October 19 to December 9, 2012:

Graduate credits are available for a reasonable additional fee (see “Registration Details” on www.wcs.org/elearning for more information).

Register at pd.wcs.org! Questions? E-mail teacherinfo@wcs.org or call +1-718-220-5136.

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STEM Student Research Handbook-NSTA Press

Everyday Engineering-NSTA Press

Front Page Science

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Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off the price of the August featured book, Climate Change From Pole to Pole: Biology Investigations.

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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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