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Americans continue to be horrified by the mounting devastation and human tragedy caused by Hurricane Katrina. Many charities and the federal government have begun what is being called the largest relief effort in U.S. history to stricken areas of the Gulf Coast. According to news reports, “the American Red Cross called its plan to house and feed tens of thousands of people the biggest response to a single natural disaster in the organization’s 124-year history.”
Everyone’s help is urgently needed. If you would like to volunteer or make a contribution to help disaster victims, visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency web site, which provides phone numbers and internet links to key charities and organizations, at http://www.fema.gov/news/newsrelease.fema?id=18473.
Science teachers around the country are helping students understand the background causes of the enormous tragedy of Hurricane Katrina by leading class discussions and exploring lessons about how and why hurricanes occur. To support teachers in this endeavor, NSTA is making the following online resources available free for the next several weeks. We hope you find them of value as you help your students understand natural disasters.
“While scientific literacy has doubled over the past two decades, only 20 to 25 percent of Americans are ‘scientifically savvy and alert.’ Most of the rest don’t have a clue,” says Jon D. Miller, the subject of an August 30 New York Times article for his work over the last 30 years surveying how much Americans know about science. “At a time when science permeates debates on everything from global warming to stem cell research,” says Miller, “people’s inability to understand basic scientific concepts undermines their ability to take part in the democratic process.” American adults in general do not understand what molecules are, fewer than a third can identify DNA as a key to heredity, only about 10% know what radiation is, and one adult in five thinks the Sun revolves around the earth, says the Times. To read the entire article, visit http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/30/science/30profile.html.
Research indicates that ongoing classroom assessment can have a positive influence on instruction. Participants in the day long Assessment Techniques for the Elementary Classroom Professional Development Institute (PDI) on October 20 during NSTA’s Hartford Convention will select from elementary sessions for grades K-2 or 3-5, and learn from presenters selected for expertise in assessment and inquiry. The keynote address “If We Finish Our Work on Time, I Promise We Can Have an Assessment,” will be delivered by Catherine Valentino, author and consultant. Breakout sessions will be led by notable authors and science education leaders, including Karen Ostlund, Judith Lederman, Doug Llewellyn, Mike Hibbard, and Ralph Yulo. The field editors of NSTA’s Science Scope, Inez Liftig, and Science and Children, Chris Ohana, will also conduct breakout sessions. Dr. Norm Lederman of the Illinois Institute of Technology will present a closer look at “The Various Flavors of Inquiry” during the sponsored luncheon. For descriptions of both PDI sessions, and to register, visit http://www.nsta.org/conventionbrowse2/&Meeting_Code=2005HAR&type=Prof.+Dev.+Institute. For complete agendas and general information on Hartford event, and NSTA’s other fall conventions in Chicago and Nashville, go to http://www.nsta.org/conventions.
NSTA is partnering with Vision Service Plan (VSP), the nation’s largest provider of eye care health insurance coverage, to offer a unique new award for K–12 science teachers. The VSP “Vision of Science” Award will recognize one classroom science teacher who has developed creative and innovative science lessons that encourage students to learn and understand eye health and vision. The winning teacher of the “Vision of Science” Award will receive $2,500, which includes travel expenses to attend the NSTA National Convention in Anaheim, April 6-9, 2006. The winning teacher’s school will also receive a $3,000 check to be used to further the study, teaching, and learning about eye vision and health. To download an application for this new award, go to http://www.nsta.org/vsp.
In addition to this award, there are plenty more opportunities to win a 2006 NSTA Teacher Award. Nominate one of your colleagues—or yourself—for one of 15 different programs that recognize and reward excellence among K–12 educators, professors, and principals. Check out all the 2006 Teacher Awards at http://www.nsta.org/awardscomp/&program_type=teacher. You can also request an application by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 703-312-9217. Deadline for applications is October 15, 2005.
Just off the press is the first of nine new fall titles from NSTA Press—Exemplary Science in Grades 5-8: Standards-Based Success Stories. Nearly a decade after the release of the National Science Education Standards, how have educators used the goals to plan content, improve teaching, and assess real learning? This collection of 15 essays provides the answers to this question at the middle school level. Educators in grades 5–8 describe real-life programs they’ve developed to fulfill the Standards’ More Emphasis guidelines.
To browse the book and purchase, visit http://store.nsta.org/showItem.asp?product=PB192X2.
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