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Table of Contents

Winners Announced for Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program
JASON Opens New Online Courses: Teaching Science Safely, Endangered Ecosystems, and Pre-K–3 Science
NPR Launches Living on Earth Series on Environmental Research
National Business Group Issues Report on K–12 Math and Science
Education Week Looks at Challenges, Need for Safe Science Classrooms

Winners Announced for Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program

The 2003 Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program, among the largest invention competitions in the world, has selected 36 top-prize winners from more than 8,000 second through eighth graders nationwide. The program, now in its seventh year, is sponsored by Sears—through its Craftsman tools brand—and NSTA. The Craftsman/NSTA Young Inventors Awards Program annually invites children to invent a new tool or re-think an existing one.

To view the full list of winners, click on http://www.nsta.org/pressroom&news_story_ID=48296

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JASON Opens New Online Courses: Teaching Science Safely, Endangered Ecosystems, and Pre-K–3 Science

Starting June 23, the JASON Academy will offer four new online courses, including

  • Teaching Science Safely in the Elementary School and
  • Teaching Science Safely in the Middle School.

These online safety courses lead teachers and administrators to investigate best practices in classroom and school safety and discuss criteria for making important decisions in the selection of methods and materials. The legal implications of classroom practice are also addressed.

  • Rainforest—Endangered Ecosystems. This course examines the nature of rainforests and their role in the biosphere, focusing on the flora, fauna, and human populations that inhabit them and how they interact with one another and the abiotic factors of the ecosystem. The critical importance of rainforests in terms of medicine, food, lumber, clean air, watersheds, gene pools, and biodiversity are also examined.
  • Science and Young Children. This course engages participants in reviewing and trying out activities for pre-kindergarten through third grade in Earth, life, and physical sciences and in comparing science concepts along the pre-K–12 developmental continuum. Strategies for instruction, assessment, and classroom management are presented.

The five-week courses enable participants to earn graduate credit and CEUs. For more information about these as well as the 12 current courses, click on www.jason.org/academy.  Teachers may register online or by calling toll-free 888-527-6600.

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NPR Launches Living on Earth Series on Environmental Research

Last week National Public Radio launched a new program that will include a series of special reports over the next 36 months on cutting-edge research connected with many environmental issues. The series, titled Living on Earth, is funded with a $1.1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The program will examine serious environmental issues within communities and provide listeners with a scientific view of how researchers develop theories, structure their inquiries, monitor ongoing processes, and analyze the expected and unexpected results of research. Topics for the series include the effects of lead exposure, global warming, and biodiversity. The show airs on 300 National Public Radio stations; for more information and local programming airtimes, click on http://www.loe.org/index.php.  

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National Business Group Issues Report on K–12 Math and Science

The Committee for Economic Development (CED) released a report last week that outlines suggestions for the improvement of math and science education through partnerships among school districts, higher education institutions, and businesses. The report, Learning for the Future: Changing the Culture of Math and Science Education to Ensure a Competitive Workforce, asserts that the improvements CED recommends for math and science education would create a "more scientifically proficient citizenry" and "widen the pipeline of scientists and engineers who drive innovation." To learn more about the report, click here: http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2003_05_12_extra.htm

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Education Week Looks at Challenges, Need for Safe Science Classrooms

The April 30 issue of Education Week examines the challenges of ensuring safety in the nation's science classrooms. Writer David Hoff looks at the unfortunate results of laboratory experiments gone wrong, and he brings attention to the need for proper equipment, adequate space, and sufficient training for teachers. The writer quotes many safety experts, including Sandra West, co-editor of the NSTA Guide to School Science Facilities, and Ken Roy, chair of NSTA's Science Safety Advisory Board. To read the article, visit  http://www.edweek.org/ew/newstory.cfm?slug=33labsafety.h22.

NSTA has a number of resources to help K–12 teachers ensure safe practices in the science classroom. For NSTA's position paper on Safety and School Science Instruction, go to http://www.nsta.org/159&psid=32.  Check out the many publications from NSTA Press® on safety, including Exploring Safely: A Guide for Elementary Teachers (http://store.nsta.org/showItem.asp?product=PB166X1); Safety in the Elementary Science Classroom (http://store.nsta.org/showItem.asp?product=PB030X2); Inquiring Safely: A Guide for Middle School Teachers (http://store.nsta.org/showItem.asp?product=PB166X2); and NSTA Guide to School Science Facilities (http://store.nsta.org/showItem.asp?product=PB149X1). NSTA journals regularly include information on the issue of safety (see http://www.nsta.org/journals ), and Science Scope now includes a regular safety column (refer to http://www.nsta.org/122/#journal ). Don't forget, NSTA members can also search our online journal archives for articles on science safety.  For details on the newest online JASON Academy course on teaching science safely, see item above.

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Hope you found this Monday’s edition of NSTA Express an interesting, quick read and a worthwhile update on the latest news and information from the National Science Teachers Association. Our goal is to save you time by delivering information each week in short "news bites," so if you'd like to know more, simply select the headline quick link. NSTA continues to create resources and improve services for science educators. If you're not already a member, we invite you to join the crowd by going to www.nsta.org/whyjoin

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