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Week of July 12, 2010

Table of Contents

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NRC Releases Draft Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards

Science Educators Urged to Review and Comment on Draft by August 2

Today the National Research Council (NRC) Board on Science Education released a draft conceptual framework for new science education standards. The 190-page document lays the foundation for what core science ideas, cross-cutting concepts, and scientific practices all students need to succeed in science, and is the first major step in the development of the next generation of science standards. Science educators and other stakeholders have until August 2 to review and comment on the framework.

With funding from the Carnegie Corporation, a committee of experts developed the draft framework and is currently gathering feedback from a broad range of stakeholders. The revised framework will be released publicly later this winter. The framework will then be used as the basis for writing new science education standards, a process that will be led by Achieve.

NSTA, in collaboration with partners Achieve and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), has been providing advice to the project and is engaging members and constituents in the feedback process. In the coming weeks, NSTA is hosting focused feedback sessions to gather input from science educators to submit to the NRC.

All teachers can have input on this draft framework. Please forward this message to your science teacher colleagues or to listservs in your state or school. Take a moment NOW to review the draft framework document and answer the online questionnaire.

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MATHCOUNTS Winners Meet President Obama

As part of his efforts to focus more on science and math education, President Obama met with and congratulated the winners of the 2010 MATHCOUNTS competition late last month. The President praised the winners on their achievement and stressed how they should continue to develop their skills. This year’s winners competed in May at the Raytheon MATHCOUNTS National Competition in Orlando, Florida. Answering a range of mathematical questions and problems, the winners competed in school chapters and state competitions to be among the 224 national finalists. The winners ultimately beat out a pool of over 100,000 students overall. For more information on MATHCOUNTS and this year’s winners, go to mathcounts.org.

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Kansas City to Host Science Education Conference

NSTA is coming to Kansas City, Oct. 28–30, for the first regional Conference on Science Education of the fall season. Science teachers, administrators, curriculum developers, science coaches, and preservice teachers can expect top professional development from the experts. Workshops on practical issues, hands-on activities, assessment, inquiry, literacy, and more will provide the “meat and potatoes” for science educators. Add to the mix nationally known speakers, in-depth topical sessions devoted to your grade band, daylong programs and networking with your peers, and you’re looking at a comprehensive and fun getaway that will build your career portfolio.

Check out a few session titles:

  • Featured speaker Kenneth Wesson is an expert on the neuroscience of learning and methods for creating classrooms and learning environments that are “brain-considerate.”
  • Activities from Across the Earth System—Hands-on, inquiry-based activities spanning the five "spheres" of Earth system science. (Elem)
  • STEM in Action: The Bridge to the Real World—Get authentic science experiences through design projects, competitions, and live-data analysis to make relevant science connections to the real world. (Elem–12)
  • Incorporating Inquiry into Elementary and Middle School Physical Science—Explore characteristic physical properties of four similar-looking household liquids and, as a final challenge, identify four unknowns. (Elem–Middle)
  • Environmental Science in a World of Seven Billion—Connections between human population growth and a host of environmental challenges. Receive curriculum on CD-ROM. (Middle–High)
  • Modeling the Spectrum—(Middle–High)
  • Spark Timers, Glue, and Scissors to Study Motion—Cut and glue spark-timer tape to produce position-time and velocity-time graphs of uniform and accelerated motion and correlate to motion diagrams. (High–College)
  • Creating Effective Science Literacy Assessments (High)
  • Amazing Thing Cells Can Do (Middle–High)
  • Writing and Technology: An Update to the Science Notebook—(Elem, Middle/Supervision)
  • Exhibit Hall—Test and try out the newest products from top companies. Take away lots of giveaways.
  • Visit the Science Bookstore—Stop by to browse and peruse the new fall NSTA books hot off the press.

For more information, visit www.nsta.org/kansascity. Register before the earlybird deadline, Sep. 17.

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From the NSTA Calendar: Satellite Educators Association Conference

Travel to California State University, Los Angeles, to join educators interested in discovering ways to use satellites and related technologies in the classroom. You’ll learn how to help students appreciate and understand the complex interrelationships among science, technology, individuals, societies, and the environment. And you’ll find out how to develop and apply inquiry and technology skills to study authentic questions and problems.

Continuing education credit is available during the conference, which will take place August 12–14. Register by July 30 at www.sated.org.

Visit the NSTA online calendar for more science education opportunities.

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Professional Learning Communities Institute

If you are a science teacher leader, department chair, administrator, and/or a team of science teachers, you might consider an NSTA Institute on developing professional learning communities (PLCs). This collaborative and hands-on event will teach you all you need to know to put a PLC together in your school or district.

Scheduled for Oct. 7–9 in Bloomington, Minnesota, where the fall weather is crisp and clear and the season provides a stunning vista of changing leaves, educators will enjoy a combination of plenary and break-out sessions covering what the different models are, key features, how you can implement, what tools and strategies will support science learning, how to manage assessment in a PLC environment, and more. PLC experts Susan Mundry, Kathy Stiles, and Kathryn DiRanna will provide leadership and facilitate. For more information, visit the PLC Institute’s web page.

Dates to remember in your planning process:

NSTA Area Conference, Kansas City, Oct. 28–30, 2010
NSTA Area Conference, Baltimore, Nov. 11–13, 2010
NSTA Area Conference, Nashville, Dec. 2–4, 2010
NSTA National Conference in San Francisco, Mar. 10–13, 2011

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NSTA Waives Registration Fee for the National Congress on Science Education

NSTA has waived the registration fee for everyone attending the National Congress on Science Education (NCSE). This national conversation on science education, which is organized by science leaders and for science leaders, comprises one voting delegate from each of NSTA’s Chapters and Associated Groups. For the past ten years, the Congress has provided an opportunity for chapters and associated groups, the NSTA Council, the NSTA Board of Directors, and NSTA staff to collaboratively address issues and work toward strategies that will support our mission, “to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.”

NSTA knows budgets are tight and also knows the value of learning and collaborating with peers. With the registration fee waived, every Chapter and Associated Group is urged to participate. For more information, please click here.

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More Chemistry Basics: Stop Faking It

Overwhelmed by orbitals? Terrified of thermodynamics? Agitated by acids and bases? Have no fear! This follow-up to the award-winning Chemistry Basics will clear up your chemistry woes. Invaluable for teachers, parents, and home-school providers looking for greater confidence in the chemistry content they teach, this title covers the fundamentals, introduces additional concepts and expands on many previously discussed ideas. Author Bill Robertson’s uses humor, easy-to-follow activities, and a direct approach, allowing educators to brush-up on chemistry and carry their enthusiasm straight to the classroom. Join thousands of educators who have used this best-selling series to teach with great confidence and assurance. Order your copy today.

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University of Massachusetts Amherst's Science Education Online (SEO) Leads to M.Ed. or Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study

Offered by School of Education and College of Natural Sciences

Fall 2010 courses include:

MOTION, FORCES AND ENERGY
Introduction to a fundamental area of physics through hands-on inquiry: the nature of motion, what affects it, how it is measured. Examine Newton's laws including gravity, how forces produce acceleration, and the nature of energy—potential and kinetic—and how it relates to motion and forces. Concentrate on how to analyze physical situations and solve basic equations of motion. For middle-school science teachers.

INVESTIGATING SCIENCE CLASSROOMS
Fosters meaningful discussions about the nature and practice of elementary and middle school science education and enables teachers to identify elements of inquiry, conduct investigations, and implement scientific inquiry in their classrooms. Teachers conduct several scientific investigations to experience the inquiry process.

For more information, visit the University of Massachusetts website or contact Dr. Kathleen Davis, kdavis@educ.umass.edu.

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Professional development courses in your future?
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Take a look at these groups offering courses for science educators!

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