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Week of September 4, 2007

Back to School With NSTA

As the new school year gets underway, NSTA is pleased to present our annual Back-to-School edition of NSTA Express.

In addition to the usual news you have come to expect from NSTA Express, this issue is also filled with special offers and resources you can use to start off the new school year, such as classroom materials, professional development opportunities, and more. You can even take advantage of special discounts on NSTA memberships.

So read on, and feel free to forward this special issue to colleagues and friends. Send an e-mail to nstaexpress@nsta.org, and let us know what you think of this special edition of NSTA Express and how we can make this e-newsletter an even better resource for you this year.

Table of Contents

National Science Foundation Back to School: Five Myths About Girls and Science

NSF’s Research on Gender in Science and Engineering (GSE) program has published five myths about girls and science:

  1. From the time they start school, most girls are less interested in science than boys are.
  2. Classroom interventions that work to increase girls' interest in STEM run the risk of turning off the boys.
  3. Science and math teachers are no longer biased toward their male students.
  4. When girls just aren't interested in science, parents can't do much to motivate them.
  5. At the college level, changing the STEM curriculum runs the risk of watering down important "sink or swim" coursework.

Read more, including the reality behind the myths, at NSF's website.

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NEA's Top 20 Back-to-School Resources

The National Education Association has a wealth of back-to-school resources including lesson ideas, ways to welcome students, setting up your classroom and meeting parents, and more.

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NSTA News Analysis: Back to School 2007

Hiring challenges, kids and their gadgets, out-of-pocket spending for supplies—catch up on these and other stories in our online news roundup. Read more.

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Check Out the Best Calendar You Could Ever Want

As you plan your fall schedule, don't forget to check out NSTA's online Calendar. NSTA compiles and makes available to all a free, searchable, comprehensive online calendar of happenings in the world of science and science education. You'll find grant and fellowship opportunities; summer professional development programs; courses, seminars, and workshops; awards and competitions; science events; online events; and more. And you can filter events by grade level, by category, and by region of the United States—plus events in Canada and around the world.

An added bonus—spread the word about your event to the science education community! Click on the "Submit an event" link, complete the brief online form, and hit “submit event.” Your information will appear online fast!

Upcoming events on the NSTA Calendar include

  • Hot Science, Cool Talks Online Lecture Series (begins September 14)
  • The ARMADA Project: Research and Mentoring Experiences for Teachers (applications available in September for this summer professional development program)
  • Humans in Space With STS 118: Online Teacher Training (through October 15)
  • Engineers Week Future City Competition for Students (deadline October 15)
  • 2007–2008 Plantingscience.org Program. This learning and research resource brings together students, plant scientists, and teachers from across the nation. Students engage in hands-on plant investigations, working with peers and scientist mentors to build collaborations and to improve their understanding of science.

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Nominations for NSTA Board of Directors and Council

Are you looking for a challenging leadership position that can have an impact on local, state, and national science education? Would you like to serve the association that serves you? We are currently accepting applications for the 2008 NSTA election.

Board of Director Offices to be filled in the 2008 election are:

President—Term of office: three-year commitment beginning June 2008 through May 2011 (Year 1 as President Elect; Year 2 as President; Year 3 as Retiring President)

Division Directors—Term of office: three-year commitment beginning June 2008 through May 2011:

  • Multicultural/Equity in Science Education
  • Preservice Teacher Preparation
  • Research in Science Education

Council Offices to be filled in the 2008 election are:

District Directors—Term of office: three-year commitment beginning June 2008 through May 2011:

  • District I
  • District VI
  • District VII
  • District XII
  • District XIII
  • District XVIII

Submission deadline is October 15, 2007. You can apply online or download an application at www.nsta.org/nominations.

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Be the Best Science Teacher You Can Be

Whether you’re a first time teacher, seasoned professional, principal or administrator, attending NSTA conferences provides the tools for success in the classroom and on the assessments. This fall we’ll be in Detroit October 18–20, Denver November 8–10, and Birmingham December 6–8. These conferences are professional development opportunities: symposia and institutes, renowned speakers to inspire you, sessions to engage and enlighten you, and workshops with great science ideas for your class.

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Symposia at NSTA Fall Conferences Offer Fresh Approaches to Science Teaching

NSTA's Denver Area Conference on Science Education (November 8–10) is hosting three NSTA Symposia. NASA will be presenting Inquiry in Science and Mathematics Education: Parents as Partners; NOAA, NASA, and NSF will jointly be presenting The Role of Polar Regions in Earth's Changing Climate System; and FDA will be presenting Teach Science Concepts and Inquiry with Food. These Standards-based, half-day learning experiences offer you the unique opportunity to learn from top scientists and education experts. You'll find out about the latest discoveries in science and practice the latest teaching techniques when you participate.

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Science Educators, Don't Just Scratch the Surface—Dig Into NSTA

When you make use of the information in NSTA Express, you're just scratching the surface of the many ways that NSTA membership can help you be the best science educator you can be. Science education is changing and you need to know how to teach to meet the new federal requirements and state standards and assessment practices. NSTA makes it easy for you to expand and enhance your knowledge and teaching skills, to make your voice heard on important state and national education issues, and to share your expertise with other members as part of a national community of committed educators.

Here's our annual Back to School special. You can join NSTA now through September 30 and get $10 off your individual regular* membership dues and receive a free book (Picture Perfect Science Lessons Vol. 1 for elementary teachers, Doing Good Science in Middle School, and Watershed Dynamics for high school teachers)

Click here to join thousands of educators who find NSTA teachers' resources unmatched. Take a look at what members enjoy.

*This offer valid only on new memberships. This offer cannot be combined with any other offer. This offer is only valid on individual, regular membership at the standard $74 rate, and not for any other category of membership, such as Student, New Teacher, or Retired.

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You (or Someone You Know) Should Be Recognized!

NSTA and its sponsors recognize and reward exemplary teachers (preK–College) and principals (middle level and high school) with cash, trips, workshops, science program materials, and more. These awards offer opportunities to receive professional and personal recognition and to share your school's science education success stories.

Don't miss the application deadline for NSTA's Awards: October 15, 2007. Applications for the SeaWorld Outstanding Environmental Educator Award has a November 30 deadline.

For more details about the awards or to download an application form, visit www.nsta.org/awards.

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Is There a Toyota TAPESTRY Grant in Your Future?

Toyota TAPESTRY Grants for Science Teachers is pleased to announce the 18th year of the program. The online application link is now available at the TAPESTRY website . Toyota TAPESTRY offers $550,000 in grants of up to $10,000 for middle and high school science teachers and elementary teachers who teach science in the classroom. In 2007 Toyota funded a total of 82 grant projects for innovative, community-based science projects. For further details, along with tips on applying, lists of winning projects and much more, visit the above website today!

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For a Limited Time: Free Access to SciLinks®

With the start of the school year, NSTA will make its innovative SciLinks® program available to NSTA Express subscribers for free for 30 days.

Participating teachers will be able to use both texts that have SciLinks as well as the SciLinks keyword search to fine-tune an internet search to a manageable number of vetted web pages. Submitting “simple machines” to a popular search engine, for example, yields 2.6 million possibilities; submitting the same keywords to SciLinks yields 18 web pages. Of these, five are selected just for teachers (lessons plans and activities), while the other pages can be useful to students (simulations, animations, and other interactive opportunities).

As an added bonus, all registered teachers and members can use the Assignment tool, which helps them create short quizzes for their students when they log in. When their registered students log in, they will see a link that reads “View your SciLinks Assignments.” Clicking on this link will reveal the web pages the teacher wants them to view and a list of questions the teacher wants them to answer.

Like what you see and want continued access? Become an NSTA member and enjoy SciLinks all year. Since its debut five years ago, SciLinks has had 152,310 teachers and 625,758 students register for free to use the site, and countless more access it as “Guests.”

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Mark Your Calendar for Boston's Professional Development Institutes

As you prepare for the new school year, make sure an NSTA Professional Development Institute is part of your professional development plan for 2007-08.

NSTA Professional Development Institutes are structured opportunities offered at our national conferences for educators. Learn from prominent experts in these training sessions. The first component of the PDI features a one-day preconference topical immersion. During the conference you can extend your knowledge and understanding by listening to presentations and participating in workshops aligned with the PDI topics.

At the 2008 national conference in Boston (March 27–30), NSTA is offering ten PDIs that are based on research findings on the key support teachers, administrators and professional development providers need in order to be effective. The topics will be:

  1. Inquiring Into Inquiry
  2. Taking Science Investigations Outside the Classroom
  3. Designing Effective Science Lessons: Research Into Practice
  4. The Essence of Leadership From Perspective to Practice: Developing Leadership Capacity to Sustain Change
  5. Coaching as a Pathway to Reflective Practice in Science
  6. Issue-Oriented Science: Teaching Science and the Science Habits of Mind in the Context of Social and Political Issues
  7. Building a Community of Reflective Practice
  8. Professional Development for Science Teachers: Designing, Implementing, and Sustaining
  9. Realize the Promise of Technology With Open Software and Activities
  10. Engineering Challenges That Can Help Students Learn Physical Science Concepts

The preconference portion will take place on Wednesday, March 26, 2008.

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NSTA New Science Teacher Academy

If you are a new science teacher in middle or high school, you still have time to apply for the Associate Fellowship in the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy. The Academy is designed to encourage and support new middle and high school science educators in their first few years of teaching. Co-founded by the Amgen Foundation, this innovative professional development program aims to

  • Strengthen quality science teaching,
  • Enhance teacher confidence and classroom excellence,
  • Improve teacher content knowledge.

The Academy supports 200 science teachers across the nation this year.

The New Science Teacher Academy has two tiers of participation in : NSTA Fellows and NSTA Associate Fellows. Both Fellowships include a yearlong immersion in a host of science-related activities and professional development opportunities. A comprehensive NSTA membership package and an NSTA-funded trip to attend the association's national conference are among the wide array of learning experiences available to participants. NSTA Fellows will also receive online mentoring with trained mentors who teach in the same discipline. Through the support of the Amgen Foundation, the selected candidates will be named Amgen–NSTA Fellows and Amgen–NSTA Associate Fellows. A selection committee comprised of NSTA leaders will choose the participants for the 2007–2008 Academy.

For more details, visit the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy website.

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NSTA Offers New Online Short Course: Force and Motion

NSTA is pleased to announce a new online short course that will combine asynchronous learning with web seminars to help you master any science content.

Our first short course is Force and Motion. The first “class” will be held on October 3. As a participant you will meet live online with a content expert, Dr. Matt Bobrowsky, and other educators on five Wednesdays to ask questions and have discussions about force and motion. You will also be able to work on your own time with self-paced materials to boost your knowledge of the topic.

For more details and to register visit the NSTA Learning Center.

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Did Sputnik Launch Your Dreams—or Your Career?

In anticipation of the 50th anniversary of Sputnik’s launch on October 4, Weekend America , a weekly two-hour public radio program, is producing a feature about the technological and cultural impact of the event that propelled the Cold War into the Space Age.

Soviet advances in space spurred massive investment of American intellectual and physical capital in science and engineering. To help explore the repercussions of this, American Public Media is looking to science teachers, scientists, and others whose lives were influenced by Sputnik and the subsequent “race for space.” They would like you to share your memories of the satellite, describe its past and present significance, or tell them about the impact it had on careers, science, or ways of thinking about the world and its future.

To help with the story, respond here. Please respond before September 10.

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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.

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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