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Science Education in the News

Science education was part of two major current events making headlines last week.

U.S. Schools Find Lessons in Tsunami—An article in the January 12 issue of Education Week focused on how teachers are helping students understand the devastating tsunami. The article highlighted the response we received from all of you—our NSTA Express readers—about your classroom activities; it also included quotes from several science teachers and NSTA Executive Director Gerald Wheeler, who said that “Teachers have essentially moved their curriculum around to make lessons centered around this [the tsunami].” To read the Education Week story, go to http://www.educationweek.org (Free registration is required).

Disclaimers on Evolution Killed in Cobb County, GA—In a January 14th article, the Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) reported that U.S. district judge Clarence Cooper declared unconstitutional the evolution disclaimers placed inside science textbooks by the Cobb County school system and ordered the stickers removed. In official court documents, Cooper writes “the Court believes that an informed, reasonable observer would interpret the Sticker to convey a message of endorsement of religion. That is, the Sticker sends a message to those who oppose evolution for religious reasons that they are favored members of the political community, while the Sticker sends a message to those who believe in evolution that they are political outsiders.” To read the AJC article, go to http://www.ajc.com/metro/content/metro/cobb/0105/14evolution.html (Free registration is required). For updates on the Cobb County case and for information and resources on the teaching of evolution, go to the National Center for Science Education at http://www.ncseweb.org.

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Second Science and Literacy Conference Scheduled During Dallas Convention

NSTA will again present Linking Science and Literacy in the Classroom during the 2005 national convention in Dallas on Saturday, April 2. The conference will disseminate scientifically based research findings from projects in the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) portfolio investigating the roles of literacy in science learning. The conference for K-8 science educators will be a repeat of the first “standing room only” event attended by almost 400 last November in Seattle.

Science teachers, administrators, and others who register for the Dallas conference will learn about criteria for selecting appropriate science literature; the roles that writing plays in the teaching and learning of science; the creation of a school culture that supports integrating literacy and science; research on students’ science learning in a literature-rich environment; strategies for helping second language learners; and practical issues related to implementation, assessment, and professional development.

Teachers and administrators (principals and/or science supervisors) are encouraged to attend as a school team. Attendance is limited to 375, so participants are urged to enroll early online. For more information on goals and outcomes, agenda, pricing, location, and to register, go to http://www.nsta.org/conventionsupport&record_id=101&Meeting_Code=2005DAL. Full information on the 53rd Annual NSTA Convention to be held March 31-April 3 is available at http://www.nsta.org/conventiondetail&Meeting_Code=2005DAL.

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New Guide Helps Educators Integrate 21st Century Skills into K-12 Science Education

NSTA and the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, a public-private organization focusing on skills necessary for student success in the 21st Century, have worked collaboratively to release a Science Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Literacy Map. The map demonstrates how educators can develop science lessons that combine 21st century–learning skills, such as information and communication skills, with 21st century tools, such as the Internet and multi–media production tools. It guides K-12 educators through a wide range of learning skill examples, as emphasized in the Partnership’s report, Learning for the 21st Century, and cites specific student outcomes demonstrating ICT Literacy success for grades 4, 8, and 12. The map is the fourth in a series of ICT Literacy Maps. To view and download a copy of the map, go to http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/matrices/default.asp.

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Innovations in Science and Math Education: Chicago Math & Science Initiative

Every few weeks in NSTA Express we feature a promising new (or not so new) idea, strategy, and/or innovative program in science and math education that we think merits the attention of almost 200,000 NSTA Express readers. This column is an interactive endeavor, so send your ideas of a large-scale, innovative program in science and math education to jodi_p@nsta.org. This week learn more about how an urban school district is working with teachers, parents, and key decision makers to strengthen their mathematics and science programs. Visit Chicago Math & Science Initiative at http://cmsi.cps.k12.il.us.

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FDA and NSTA Offer Summer Professional Development Events for Middle, High School Science Educators

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (http://www.foodsafety.gov/~fsg/teach.html)and NSTA will present a professional development program in Food Science this summer in two separate, week-long sessions for middle school (July 10-16) and high school (July 24-30) science teachers in Washington, D.C. Consistent with the National Science Education Standards, the programs will offer multidimensional, sustained professional development, including content updates by food science specialists; visits to government/industry facilities; presentations by government and industry leaders; hands-on practice with new curriculum materials; and exchange of teaching and learning strategies. Travel, lodging, and meal expenses will be paid for science educators selected to participate in the two programs. Deadline for applications is March 18. For additional information and to apply, go to http://www.nsta.org/fda, or e-mail cneville@nsta.org.

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