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Week of August 13, 2007

Table of Contents

Research Universities Resistant to Proven Science Instruction Methods

A report in The Chronicle of Higher Education finds that research universities tend to be reluctant to change teaching methods and curriculum to improve science instruction. Even when proven methods are presented to faculty and administration, they tend to become bogged down for a variety of reasons including lack of funding, entrenched teaching styles, and an emphasis on research productivity over teaching. Read the Chronicle article.

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NSTA Legislative Update: Update on No Child Left Behind

On July 30, Representative George Miller (D-CA), Chair of the Education and Labor Committee, delivered a speech at the National Press Club on his committee’s plans to reauthorize (re-write) the No Child Left Behind Act. And last week, Representative Vernon Ehlers introduced the Improving Math and Science Teacher Quality Act, a bill aimed at strengthening the Math and Science Partnerships program. Read more in this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update.

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Opportunity for Science Educators Doing Environmental Work

Since 1993, the Anheuser-Busch Adventure Parks have recognized the outstanding efforts of K–12 students and teachers across the country who work at the grassroots level to protect and preserve the environment. The SeaWorld/Busch Gardens/Fujifilm Environmental Excellence Awards provides school and community groups with a monetary award, national recognition, and some well-deserved fun at one of the adventure parks. Eight winning groups are selected each year to win $10,000. One environmental educator/leader each year receives $5,000. The deadline for applications is November 30, 2007. For information about how you, your school, or a student group could win both money and recognition, visit the link above or call toll-free (877) 792-4332.

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Hakim’s New Story of Science: Einstein Adds a New Dimension Available Through NSTA

Co-published by the Smithsonian Institute and NSTA, Joy Hakim’s new book is the third in the Story of Science Series—Book 1 on Aristotle, Book 2 on Newton, and now Book 3 on Einstein. Like all of Hakim's books, this one is filled with more anecdotes, better historical context, and deeper insights into the real methods of science than any other textbook has ever offered to students at this level. And most importantly, it is a joy to read.

In a strict sense, this book should be seen as a foundational text for an integrated program of physical science—ideally at grade 9 or 10. The award-winning author said, “I’m convinced, and I hope to convince you, that science is not just for scientists. In the twentieth century, we compartmentalized knowledge; in the information age, that doesn’t make sense. Today, you can be a hermit on a mountain peak and still have access to the world’s learning. For scholarship to be so available, so democratic, is unprecedented in world history. To use that opportunity well, we all need to be generalists first. And no field of knowledge is as basic or as creative as science. . . that human quest to understand the universe underlies almost all other creativity.” The book will be available in the next few weeks from NSTA. Click here for more details.

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Leadership Strand at NSTA Birmingham Conference (December 6–8) Helps Administrators and Science Leads

Calling all science supervisors and school administrators! We’ve built a strand just for you. In the Leadership: Sharpening the Professional Edge strand, you can see scaffolded inquiry in action and bring this technique back to your teachers. You’ll learn ways to promote science inquiry when mentoring beginning teachers and enjoy a talk by Michael Kientschy (Superintendent of Schools, El Centro, CA) about Science and Literacy Connection: Myth or Reality? Check out a wide range of topics for your professional development.

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And Don’t Forget …

Membership Means You Belong! Join NSTA for these essential benefits that will enhance your marketability in the teaching profession and build your professional knowledge. Being a member of NSTA means you’re part of an international community of practitioners dedicated to improving science education.

The Deadline for Feedback on NSTA's New Position Statement, "Liability of Science Educators for Laboratory Safety," is Friday, August 17. To view and comment, go to and click on it to post a reply.

Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off of the August featured book, Science for English Language Learners.

Visit our member services web page to ensure that NSTA has your current contact information.

NSTA is offering more Web Seminars starting in October. Visit the website for more information about these upcoming professional development opportunities.

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Professional development courses in your future?
Online options give you a world of choice.
Take a look at these groups offering courses for science educators!

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