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Week of November 16, 2009

Table of Contents

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Nominate a Teacher for the 2010 Presidential Awards

The Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching is the highest award a K–12 math or science teacher may receive for outstanding teaching in the U.S. The President officially names up to 108 teachers annually. Awards alternate between elementary and secondary teachers—with elementary teachers eligible in 2010—and are given to teachers from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the outlying territories, and Department of Defense schools. The deadline for 2010 award nominations is May 1, 2010. For more information, please go to www.paemst.org.

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Race to the Top Begins

On November 12, Education Secretary Arne Duncan released the final application for the $4 billion Race to the Top Fund.

According to the Department of Education, “States must work to improve the quality of teaching and leadership, moving great teachers to the schools where they’re needed the most. Second, successful applicants will effectively demonstrate their state’s capacity to drive education reform.

The application stands firm on the commitment to four reforms (using college- and career-ready standards and assessments, building a workforce of highly effective educators, creating educational data systems to support student achievement, and turning around lowest-performing schools); key policies that support those reforms; and the requirement that states end firewalls between student achievement and teacher evaluation. Further, states will get competitive preference if they have a comprehensive STEM plan in place.”

The New York Times reports: “The Race to the Top program, which will reward some states undertaking bold school improvement initiatives with awards totaling $4 billion, retains politically volatile elements. Those include President Obama’s emphasis on charter schools, using standardized test scores in teacher evaluation and merit pay systems, and encouraging local districts to dismiss entire staffs of thousands of failing schools.”

For more information, visit the Department of Education website.

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NASA Invites Schools to Apply for Free Space Shuttle Artifacts

NASA invites eligible educational institutions, museums and other organizations to register, screen and request potential space shuttle artifacts. Included are small items such as astronaut helmets, gloves, and boots, and large items such as shuttle Motion Based Simulators and Crew Compartment Trainers.

NASA will retire the Space Shuttle Program at the end of 2010 and is eager to share the wonders of space exploration through donations to museum and library exhibitions. This is your opportunity to own and display Space Shuttle artifacts.

In order to receive an ID and password to access the web site, schools and universities must register using their IPED or NCES number. Information on registering and links to find the IPED and NCES numbers are available on the U.S. General Services Administration website.

The artifacts are free, but recipients must cover shipping and special handling fees.

For the latest information about NASA shuttle transition and artifacts, visit www.nasa.gov/transition. For more about NASA and agency programs, visit www.nasa.gov.

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From the NSTA Calendar: Just in Time for Flu Season …

On November 17, a free webinar will show teachers how to help young children understand the science of germs, viruses, and vaccines and how to prevent themselves and others from getting sick. During Helping Kids Understand Viruses and Vaccinations with Sid the Science Kid, health and early childhood education experts will share their knowledge. Hosted by PBS Teachers and Classroom 2.0, the event will also feature a special episode of the PBS series Sid the Science Kid that teachers can use in their classes. Learn more and register at the PBS website.

And make it a habit to visit the NSTA Calendar regularly for more science education events and opportunities.

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ChemMatters Debuts on YouTube

The American Chemical Society's (ACS) award-winning high school chemistry magazine ChemMatters is making its YouTube debut with its first video podcast. The podcast highlights the promises of nanotechnology, the science and technology of building very small machines that are as small as 1/50,000th the width of a human hair. It is available at www.bytesizescience.com and on the Bytesize Science podcast on iTunes.

Produced by the team behind ACS's award-winning Bytesize Science video podcast, the ChemMatters video serves as an entertaining and educational introduction to the fascinating world of nanotechnology. The episode explains how incredibly small materials could lead to tiny devices that bring medicine exactly where it needs to go in your body, powerful computers the size of a grain of sand and new sources of energy.

ChemMatters has been demystifying the chemistry in our everyday lives for over 25 years. Released quarterly, each issue contains readable articles about the chemistry used in everyday life, and is of interest to high school students and their teachers. New episodes of the ChemMatters video podcast will be available in early 2010.

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Science Matters in Phoenix!

Science Matters logoBring science to life for your students and children on Saturday, December 5, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Phoenix Convention Center. The National Science Teachers Association and ASSET/Eight Arizona Public Television are hosting a FREE community science event, featuring special guest Bill Nye, for elementary teachers, parents, school officials and community members. At the Science Matters Community Event—held in conjunction with the NSTA Phoenix Area Conference on Science Education and sponsored by the ExxonMobil Foundation, WGBH Boston, and PBS—participants will engage in exciting hands-on activities, such as building a watershed model and learning principles behind water flowing through watersheds, presented by a variety of science and education organizations. Attendees will also learn about NSTA’s newest initiative, Science Matters, a major public awareness and engagement campaign designed to rekindle a national sense of urgency and action among schools and families about the importance of science education and science literacy. FREE Science Matters tote bags filled with science novelty items and other cool giveaways* will be distributed to the first 150 people who attend. Visit www.nsta.org/sciencematters for more information about the Science Matters Community Event.

*One Science Matters bag per person. You must be at least 18 years old to receive a bag. Bags are for participants only.

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Learn more about NSTA e-newsletter sponsorships

And Don’t Forget…

Visit our member services web page to ensure that NSTA has your current contact information. And when the time comes to renew—select the "Autorenew" option!

Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off the price of the November featured book, NSTA Guide to Planning School Science Facilities, 2nd Edition.


Click on the logo above for more information and to register for these free 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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