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Week of August 16, 2010

Table of Contents

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NSTA Unveils Strategic Goals 2010

NSTA Strategic Goals 2010 artToday, the National Science Teachers Association unveiled its Strategic Goals 2010 document online. NSTA Strategic Goals 2010 is a comprehensive plan to help guide the association’s efforts for the next five years. A yearlong, multiphase project developed to reflect the changes in science education, Strategic Goals 2010 is the successor to Strategy 2005.

On Tuesday, October 12, at 6:30 p.m. ET, members of the Strategic Goals 2010 Task Force will be leading a special interactive web seminar about the document and the future direction of the association. NSTA members and those with a vested interest in NSTA are encouraged to participate.

In this web seminar, members of the task force will explain the background, purpose, and development process of the new 2010 strategic goals. Discussion of each of the four goals will describe how each addresses current issues in science education and how NSTA’s current and future initiatives will achieve these goals. There will also be a question-and-answer session in which members of the task force will answer any questions that you may have about the document.

To submit questions to be answered during the question-and-answer portion of the web seminar, send an e-mail to strategicgoals2010@nsta.org. Please include your name, where you are from, and your question in the body of the e-mail. For more information about the web seminar or to register for the event, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

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NSTA Legislative Update: President Signs $10 Billion Education Jobs Bill into Law

States and districts will soon be receiving $10 billion to avert teacher lay offs this fall or bring back teachers already laid off from their jobs, thanks to the EduJobs bill that President Obama signed into law last week. And 49 recipients (from a whopping pool of 1,700 applicants) got word they are in line to receive one of the first Department of Education Investing in Innovation (i3) Grants.

Read more in this issue of NSTA Legislative Update.

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NSTA Career Center sponsorship

2010 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge Winners Visit Yellowstone National Park

Last month, the middle school grand prize and second place winners of the 2010 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge, took a five-day adventure trip to Yellowstone National Park. Team “No1Idling” from Novi Middle School in Novi, Michigan, and Team “Drug Disposal Informants” from West Branch Middle School in West Branch, Iowa, were joined by Jeff Corwin, wildlife biologist and Emmy-winning host of The Jeff Corwin Experience; Philippe Cousteau, grandson of Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Discovery Education’s Chief Spokesperson for Environmental Education; and officials from NSTA, the Siemens Foundation, and Discovery Education. While in Yellowstone the winning teams went fly fishing and toured some of the park’s most famous sites, including the Roosevelt Arch and Old Faithful. The Discovery Adventure trip to Yellowstone National Park was part of the middle level winners’ comprehensive prize package.

The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge encourages elementary, middle and high school students to develop plans to initiate environmental change in their schools and communities. For more information about the Challenge, visit www.wecanchange.com.

2010 Siemens middle shool winners
2010 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge middle school grand prize and second place winners (left to right): Gabby Salemink, Megan Tadlock, Kara Fountain, Jeff Corwin, Yash Sathe, and Allison Kusick.

2010 Siemens We Can Change the World presenters
(Left to right): Thomas N. McCausland, Chairman of the Board, Siemens Foundation; Jeniffer Harper-Taylor, President, Siemens Foundation; Jeff Corwin, Wildlife Biologist and Emmy-winning host of The Jeff Corwin Experience; Eric Crossley, Director, Science Education Competitions, NSTA; Mary Rollins, Vice President, Corporate Education Sponsorships, Discovery Education.

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Registration Open for NASA Explorer School Project

The NASA Explorer Schools (NES) project is NASA's classroom-based gateway for middle school (grades 4–8) and high school (grades 9–12) classrooms. NES provides free teaching and learning resources that promote student engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. The project provides opportunities for teachers and students to participate in NASA's mission of research and discovery through inquiry-based experiences directly related to the work of NASA scientists and engineers.

Throughout the school year, the NES Virtual Campus website will serve as a portal to dynamic learning experiences, allowing students to examine real-world problems and challenges based on NASA research and exploration. Classroom activities are coupled with special events featuring interactions with NASA's scientific and technical workforce, so students learn firsthand about mission highlights, new technologies, and research findings.

Teachers have the opportunity to participate in professional development experiences delivered through NES Virtual Campus technology to support effective classroom implementation of NES resources. At the end of the year, NES will recognize its best teachers and schools with NASA experiences such as field center training, research opportunities, and flights aboard a reduced-gravity aircraft.

All participants must be U.S. citizens. Each must be an administrator, aide, curriculum specialist, educator, guidance counselor, media specialist, resource teacher, or student teacher in a state- or nationally accredited K–12 education institution in the United States or a U.S territory.

For more information and to schedule an orientation session, visit the NASA website.

Questions about the new NASA Explorer Schools project should be directed to nasa-explorer-schools@mail.nasa.gov.

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Professional Learning Communities Institute

The professional learning community is seen as a powerful staff development approach and a potent strategy for school change and improvement. It can mean any number of things, such as extending classroom practice into the community; bringing community personnel into the school to enhance the curriculum and learning tasks for students; or engaging students, teachers, and administrators simultaneously in learning, to suggest just a few. If you’re interested in professional development in this area, consider a fall getaway sponsored by NSTA.

Our Professional Learning Communities Institute, scheduled for Oct. 7–9 in Bloomington, Minnesota, offers groups of educators the opportunity to learn about PLCs and implement this approach in their own school, district, or state. Designed for science teacher leaders, department chairs, administrators, and teams of science teachers, the Institute will be led by three experienced educators, Susan Mundry, Catherine Stiles, and Karen Cerwin. A book, edited by Mundry and Stiles, Professional Learning Communities for Science Teaching: Lessons from Research and Practice, will be a part of the Institute materials provided for each attendee. For more details and registration information, visit the PLC Institute web page.

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Kansas City, Here We Come

Science teachers and administrators who want to build job security should consider how professional development helps improve techniques and strategies that impact performance in the classroom. Science educators from every grade band and every discipline are invited to meet in Kansas City, Missouri, Oct. 28–30, for NSTA’s Conference on Science Education. Thousands of professionals will take workshops, seminars, and discipline-specific full-day and half-day programs (physics, chemistry, biology) to build content knowledge and tackle issues such as inquiry, literacy, and assessment to name just a few. Hundreds of sessions are available on a wide range of topics. The skills you learn and the opportunity to expand your network can give your career a boost. And it’s lots of fun, too.

Check out some of the sessions we have planned.

  • Award-winning featured speaker Dr. Jeff Goldstein, director of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education will present on building conceptual understanding by empowering students to own the process of inquiry, to embrace the simple magic of a question like “I wonder what’s under that rock?”
  • Field trip—Visit the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center to experience the natural world hands-on and learn how buildings and landscapes can work in harmony with nature. (Ticketed)
  • Climate Change: Classroom Tools to Explore the Past, Present, and Future (Middle–High School)
  • Finding New Levels of Achievement Through Standards-based Grading (Middle–High)
  • Introducing Chemistry with An Inconvenient Truth (Middle–High)
  • Process-oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) in High School Chemistry and Biology Classrooms (Short Course—ticketed) (High School)
  • What's at the heart of Science teaching? Inquiry, evidence, and thinking (Elementary)
  • Activities from Across the Earth System (Elem–High)
  • Engineering Modeling—Using scale models of airplanes, students learn the applications of scaling using ratios and proportions. (Elem–High)
  • Inquiry Investigations™ Forensics Science Curriculum Module and Kits (Grades 7–10)

More sessions than you can count, an Exhibit Hall with product vendors who love “giveaways,” inspiration from the experts, and making new friends are just a few more reasons you might want to come to Kansas City. Visit www.nsta.org/kansascity to register. The earlybird date is Sept. 17.

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We Want to Hear from You

With summer more than half over and teachers gearing up for a new school year, NSTA is curious to learn what having you been doing during your summer break. Whether it’s working in a lab or attending professional development workshops to gain new skills and knowledge to take back to the classroom in the fall, we want to hear from you. E-mail us your stories at pubinfo@nsta.org. Please include your name and where you are from in the body of the e-mail. Feel free to send pictures to accompany your story.

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


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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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