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California State Board of Education Votes Against Proposal to Limit Amount of Hands-on Instruction in Future Textbooks

On Wednesday, March 10 the California State Board of Education voted down the textbook adoption criteria language recommended by the state’s Curriculum Commission that would have allowed no more than 20 to 25 percent of hands-on material in future K-8 science textbooks. Instead, the state board of education adopted new criteria language that says “the California Science Standards can be comprehensively taught from the submitted materials with hands-on activities composing at least 20 to 25 percent of the science instructional program.”

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) was instrumental in successfully working with the state education board to change potential textbook adoption language that could have had repercussions for science education nationwide. NSTA and National Academy of Sciences also submitted a letter to the California board outlining their concerns (http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/lettertocaliffromgerry.htm). For more information, go to http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/california_letter.htm and http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/ltr_to_commission.htm

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Week-long Celebration of Science Education Begins Today

Today marks the beginning of Excellence in Science, Technology, and Mathematics Education Week (ESTME), a week-long celebration of science and math education. It’s not too late to incorporate some of the ESTME Week teaching resources and activities into your classroom. The ESTME website http://www.estme.org offers a wealth of information, such as "the best of the best" in online science, math, and technology resources nationwide and interactive experiences. Don’t miss a webcast of a Capitol Hill version of the Exploratorium's popular "Iron Science Teacher" competition.

Also this week, on Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education will hold the first-ever Summit on Science as part of the Administration’s nationwide Math and Science Initiative. Top leaders in science and education, including Secretary of Education Rod Paige, will come together to discuss the importance of K-12 science education and showcase innovative science programs. And later this week, President Bush will announce the 2003 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching recipients.

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Science and Media at CNN, Evolution and State Science Standards, and Much More You Won’t Want to Miss—NSTA in Atlanta, April 1-4… Be There! 

Jam-packed with fabulous speakers, illuminating sessions and presentations, professional development opportunities, exhibitor displays and workshops, field trips and social events, NSTA’s “bricks and mortar” Science Store for browsing and buying the very best teaching resource books available… the 52nd NSTA convention in Atlanta, April 1-4 is simply the biggest and best science show you’ll find!  To browse the full convention agenda, go to http://www.nsta.org/conventiondetail&Meeting_Code=2004ATL.  There’s still time to take advantage of the convenience of online advance registration if you hurry!  And you can create your own personal schedule at http://www.nsta.org/pd/institute.aspxpersonal_sched.asp?meeting=2004ATL to get you started Don’t miss these important special events:

Science and the Media

How do the print and broadcast media influence how teachers, students, and the public receive, interpret, and understand science news?  NSTA has put together a lively panel of reporters and producers to explore a host of tough questions about how and what the news media covers regarding science:  April 2, 9-10 a.m., CNN Center. For more detail, click here: http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2004_03_15_extra.htm

Understanding the Importance of Evolution in the Classroom

Evolution is an essential component of biology, geology, and astronomy that students must understand if they are to be scientifically literate. Join this expert panel of educators and scientists as they discuss the importance of evolution in the science classroom: April 1, 12:30-1:30, one of our special “feature presentations.”  For more details, click here: http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2004_03_15_extra.htm

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Last Chance to Register for JASON Academy Spring Session

The Spring session of five-week JASON Academy online courses begins March 22, offering graduate credit in science as well as CEUs for grades 3-9 teachers. Courses offered at a special registration price of $150 include Structure of the Earth, Forces and Motion, and Chemistry Through Inquiry. NSTA members receive a special 10% on other Academy offerings for a fee of $202.50 per course. Also on the course list are Earth in the Solar System, Water Quality and more. Go to http://www.jason.org/academy for a list of courses and descriptions and to register, or call 888-527-6600, ext. 240.   

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It’s Here! NSTA and Children’s Book Council Release List of Top Science Trade Books for Students

NSTA, in conjunction with the Children’s Book Council (CBC), has released the annual list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12. The list represents the best science trade books published in 2003. Nearly 50 titles were selected for the list with 12 achieving Selectors’ Choice status.

Each entry in the list includes a brief description of the book; the name of the publisher and current price; and recommended reading levels, including Primary (K–2), Elementary (3–5), Intermediate (6–8), and Advanced (9–12). The list is arranged in seven topical categories: Archaeology, Anthropology, and Paleontology; Biography; Earth and Space Science; Environment and Ecology; Life Science; Physical Science; and Technology and Engineering.

The Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12 appears in the March issues of all NSTA journals. Not a member? Check it out online at http://www.nsta.org/ostbc.

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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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