NSTA Express
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Table of Contents

President Bush Ignites Firestorm With Comments About Intelligent Design

President Bush ignited a media firestorm last week when he voiced his support for “Intelligent Design.” When asked by reporters whether he believed both evolution and intelligent design should be taught in schools, Bush replied that he did “so that people can understand what the debate is about.” The response from the scientific and education communities was immediate and fierce. Statements by NSTA, the American Physical Society (APS), American Geophysical Union (AGU), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Americans United for the Separation of Church and State (AU), American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS), and others helped to shape the controversy for millions nationwide. A statement was also issued by the National Congress on Science Education (NCSE), which is comprised of representatives from NSTA Chapters and Associated Groups.

In a statement released on August 3, NSTA indicated that it was “stunned and disappointed” that President Bush is endorsing intelligent design—effectively opening the door for nonscientific ideas to be taught in the nation’s K-12 science classrooms.

"It is simply not fair to present pseudoscience to students in the science classroom," said NSTA President Mike Padilla. "Nonscientific viewpoints have little value in increasing students' knowledge of the natural world."

To read the NSTA statement, go to http://www.nsta.org/pressroom&news_story_ID=50794. To read statements issued by other organizations, go to the following links:

APS: http://www.aps.org/media/pressreleases/080405.cfm

AGU: http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0528.html

AFT: http://www.aft.org/presscenter/releases/2005/080405.htm

AU: http://www.au.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7497&news_iv_ctrl=1241&abbr=pr

AIBS: http://www.aibs.org/position-statements/050805_aibs_criticizes_.html

To view the statement by the NCSE, visit http://science.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2005_08_08_ncse.htm.

NSTA also contributed to numerous news articles, including the cover story in this week's issue of TIME magazine. To read a few of the many news articles generated from Bush’s comments, go to the NSTA News Digest at http://www.nsta.org/main/news/stories/education_story.php?news_story_ID=50796.

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NRC Study Critical of High School Science Labs

The quality of science laboratory experiences is poor for most U.S. high school students, says a new National Science Foundation-funded report from the National Research Council (NRC), but educators can improve these experiences by following four key principles of effective instruction which include:

• Design science lab experiences with clear learning outcomes in mind.
• Thoughtfully sequence lab experiences into science instruction.
• Integrate learning science content and learning about the processes of science.
• Incorporate ongoing student reflection and discussion.

To read the USA Today article, which includes conclusions from the NRC report and quotes from NSTA Executive Director Gerry Wheeler and High School Division Director Steven Long, go to http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2005-08-08-schoollabs_x.htm.

To read the press release on the report and to find more information on ordering copies of America's Lab Report: Investigations in High School Science go to: http://www4.nationalacademies.org/news.nsf/isbn/0309096715?OpenDocument.

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Headline Science: And Now There Are 10 Planets; Selected SciLinks Give You Instant Information for Classroom Use

The discovery of what appears to be a 10th planet in the Earth’s solar system made headlines around the world last week. To read the Los Angeles Times article on the as-yet unnamed planet, visit http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-sci-planet30jul30,1,2911500.story?ctrack=1&cset=true (free registration required). For the NASA report, visit
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/universe/solarsystem/newplanet-072905.html.

Using SciLinks, NSTA’s teacher-approved internet service, we’ve identified several grade-specific websites and resources to save you hours of web-searching time. If bringing interesting science news into your classroom is part of your teaching strategy, visit the links below for a wealth of information on our planets.

Grades K-4: http://www.scilinks.org/retrieve_outside.asp?sl=63823447142110881055

Grades 5-8: http://www.scilinks.org/retrieve_outside.asp?sl=63823447145510881055

Grades 9-12: http://www.scilinks.org/retrieve_outside.asp?sl=63823447149910881055

Headline Science is a new NSTA Express feature that will bring you timely and valuable online resources and materials you can use to examine breaking scientific news with your students. The SciLinks offered above are normally available to NSTA members only, but they are available here for a brief period of time. Look for Headline Science whenever important scientific news makes the headlines.

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Give Your New Science Teachers the Support They Need to Succeed, with Reduced Rate NSTA Memberships

Whether you’re a mentor, administrator, or department head in charge of your school’s or district’s new teacher orientation, an NSTA New Teacher Membership is an important way to support your new science teachers in a successful first school year. For less than half the cost of regular individual membership, your new teacher will receive all member benefits including a subscription to the award-winning, grade-specific member journal of choice, and NSTA Reports, our quick-read newspaper.

New teacher members will have access to a dedicated area on the NSTA website just for them, and to the archives of all NSTA member journals to search and download useful articles and content from current and past issues. They can join any of 10 electronic listservs to post questions and gain knowledge from experienced science educators who gather online to share insights and information. NSTA members can also use relevant, trustworthy SciLinks internet resources for quick, easy access to the best web content available. And of course, members receive 20% discounts on highly regarded NSTA Press books, and up to 40% discounts on NSTA convention and educational programs…all for only $32 per teacher for 12 months.

To learn more, visit http://www.nsta.org/memnewteacher or contact NSTA Member Services at membership@nsta.org or 800-722-6782. Give your teachers the resources to strengthen their skills and build a rewarding career with an NSTA New Teacher Membership…or forward this message to all the new science teachers on your list.

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Back-to-School Approaches, and so do NSTA Press Fall Books…Take a Sneak Peek—and Pre-orderNine Important New Resources!

The new fall 2005 NSTA Recommends catalog will be in the mail shortly, but in the meantime, we’re pleased to introduce our exciting new titles for fall 2005—exclusively to readers of NSTA Express in advance of their September/October publication dates, but available to order right now through our online Science Store at http://store.nsta.org/showMultipleItems.asp?category=62.

Leading the list is the seventh addition to our perennially popular Stop Faking It! Finally Understanding Science So You Can Teach It series by Bill Robertson. And this one strays into new but neighboring territory: Math, with the goal of helping you understand math conceptually by focusing on the reasoning behind the rules.

Giving you the tools you need to help you determine just what your students know (or don’t) so you can adjust your teaching, is Uncovering Student Ideas in Science: 25 Formative Assessment Probes.

Self-explanatory and very timely is Science for English Language Learners: K-12 Classroom Strategies, so you can blend science and language teaching in the classroom.

For middle school teachers, activities for students featuring a lively scientists’ eye view of how evolution works in Virus and the Whale: Exploring Evolution in Creatures Small and Large.

Create a research-based teaching plan that works in your environment with Teaching With Purpose: Closing the Research-Practice Gap.

And for the "pfun" stuff, there’s Quantoons, blending physics problems with quirky and captivating illustrations from the former Quantum magazine—58 brain-teasers for physics "pfans".

For teachers of the very youngest future scientists in preK-2, Start Young! Early Childhood Science Activities are easy-to-do and designed for exactly that age group.

Exemplary Science in Grades 5-8 is book three in the four-book Exemplary Science series and looks at the Standards through essays by teachers and other middle school experts.

Teaching Science in the 21st Century examines today’s pressing public policy concerns and provides a blueprint for developing continually improving science programs.

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Assessment Techniques for the Elementary Classroom PD Institutes Highlight Hartford Convention (Oct. 20-22)

Two professional development institutes will bring participants “knowledge of the complexities and range of purposes of assessments” to help “bridge the gap between what students should know and the development of instruction that leads to conceptual understanding.” Separate 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. sessions on October 20 for K-2 teachers and teachers of grades 3-5 ensure that content is targeted to the specific needs of these groups. Space is limited and these events are available by preregistration only at
http://www.nsta.org/conventionbrowse2/&Meeting_Code=2005HAR&type=Prof.+Dev.+Institute. Participants must also be registered for the Hartford Convention, and the separate professional development institute fee includes continental breakfast and lunch.

If you’re interested in attending Hartford, Chicago (November 10-12) or Nashville (December 1-3), you can browse all the sessions, events, field trips, short courses and more, in the fall conventions advance program NOW—before it hits your mailbox--at http://science.nsta.org/2005_area_advance_program.

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And Don't Forget... 
  • There’s still time to give us your feedback on the challenges you face this fall…take the current NSTA Express poll at http://science.nsta.org/survey_fall_challenges and watch for the results in an upcoming edition.
  • Speaking of back-to-school, if block scheduling is on your to-do list, check out the August NSTA Press book special: Block Scheduling, at 30% discount when you purchase it online.
  • To receive the latest NSTA book catalog for your specific grade level, visit http://ecommerce.nsta.org/catalog_signup.
  • Want more information about membership in NSTA? Complete the quick online Inquiry Form at http://ecommerce.nsta.org/sendmeinfo, and we’ll be in touch.

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