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Week of October 24, 2011

Table of Contents


NSTA Conference New Orleans

Senate Committee Approves Bill to Rewrite No Child Left Behind

Last week the Senate education committee approved their bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Read about this and more in the NSTA Legislative Update.

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U.S. Department of Education Announces New Green Ribbon School Award Program

The Department of Education, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality have announced the creation of a Green Ribbon School competition.

Modeled on the prestigious Blue Ribbon awards, Green Ribbon awards will recognize public and private elementary, middle, and high schools that demonstrate high achievement toward (1) ensuring that graduates are environmentally literate, (2) eliminating their environmental footprint and improving learning conditions, and (3) creating a net positive health impact on students/staff. 

Schools can only be nominated by their Chief State School Officer (CSSO). To learn more on how to get your school involved and about the award criteria and nomination process, go to www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools or www.fundee.org.

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Take Charge of Your Professional Development

NSTA’s Conference on Science Education in Seattle, Dec. 8–10, will open the doors early for a preconference, full-day program (Dec. 7) just for elementary school teachers. The Picture-Perfect workshop, led by best-selling authors of NSTA's Picture Perfect Science Lessons series, will teach how to integrate science with reading instruction. Other full-day programs in biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering offer a wide range of options for those teachers looking for discipline-specific seminars. Teachers and administrators can choose from over 400 sessions to build their skills and improve performance in the classroom. So join thousands of educators at the northwest conference located in beautiful Seattle. Here are a few highlights:

Elementary

  • An Inquiry-based Approach to Physical Science in Early Childhood
  • A Framework and Tools to Make Tough Grades 3–5 Science Topics Approachable
  • Addressing Student Misconceptions of the Earth-Sun-Moon System: Seasons

Middle

  • Solids, Liquids, and Gases: The Kinetic-molecular Theory of Matter
  • Invention Tasks That Promote Proportional Reasoning Skills in Physics and Physical Science
  • Creating a Cohesive Lesson to Meet the Needs of All Learners
  • Technology Makes STEM Instruction Easy

High School and College

  • Exploring DNA Structure/Function with Interactive Physical Models
  • Invention Tasks That Promote Proportional Reasoning Skills in Physics and Physical Science
  • NASA's Evidence for Dark Matter
  • Dive In with Physical Models: Impact of Water on Protein Structure

Administrators

  • Scaffolded Inquiry: Progressions in the Learning to Conduct Full Inquiry
  • Next Generation Science Standards—Panel discussion with Achieve’s Stephen Pruitt and NSTA’s Executive Director, Francis Eberle
  • Supporting Students’ Integrated Understandings of Big Ideas and Scientific Practices Across Time—Joseph Krajcik (Director, Institute for Research in Mathematics and Science Education, Michigan State)

Take advantage of top-notch learning, check out the Exhibit Hall with new products, take time for offsite field trips, and nurture your passion for science education. Visit www.nsta.org/seattle to register.

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EPA Announces the 2011 Presidential Innovation Award Program for Environmental Educators

In mid-October, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Deputy Administrator Bob Perciasepe announced the 2011 Presidential Innovation Award for Environmental Educators Program. The program, which will be implemented through a partnership between the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and EPA, recognizes outstanding K–12 teachers who employ innovative approaches to environmental education and use the environment as a context for learning for their students.

Two teachers from each EPA region will be selected to receive the award. Recipients will receive a commemorative plaque and an award of $2000, to be used to further their professional development in environmental education. Additionally, the local education agency employing each teacher will receive an award of $2000 to further the recipient’s environmental educational activities and programs. EPA and CEQ will announce the inaugural award winners in the spring of 2012.

For more information on eligibility requirements and selection criteria or to submit an online application, please visit www.epa.gov/education/teacheraward. The application deadline is December 30, 2011.

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Professional Development Conference Aims to Inform Science Educators

NSTA’s Conference on Science Education in New Orleans, Nov. 10–12, will open the doors early for a preconference, full-day program (Nov. 8) just for elementary school teachers. The Picture-Perfect workshop, led by best-selling authors of NSTA's Picture Perfect Science Lessons series, will teach how to integrate science with reading instruction. Other full day programs in biology, chemistry, physics, and engineering offer a wide range of options for those teachers looking for discipline-specific seminars. K–16 science teachers and administrators can choose from over 400 sessions to build their skills and improve performance in the classroom. So join thousands of educators at the conference located in beautiful New Orleans. Take in the southern charm and take home some knowledge. Here are a few highlights:


Elementary

  • An Inquiry-based Approach to Physical Science in Early Childhood
  • A Framework and Tools to Make Tough Grades 3–5 Science Topics Approachable
  • Engage Students' Brains Through Hands-On Activities

Middle

  • The Internet Science and Technology Fair: Connecting through CF STEM Connect
  • STEM Research Made Visible!
  • Food Chains—Using Field Surveys That Give Real Numbers

High School and College

  • Exploring DNA Structure/Function with Interactive Physical Models
  • NASA's High Energy Vision—Chandra and the X-ray Universe
  • Metacognition and Formative Assessment in the Chemistry Classroom
  • A Tasty Lesson: Using Taste and Smell to Teach Cell Basics

Take advantage of top-notch learning, check out the Exhibit Hall with new products, take time for offsite field trips, and nurture your passion for science education. Visit www.nsta.org/neworleans to register.

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From the NSTA Calendar: Q&A with Astronaut Thomas Jones

A veteran of four space flights, astronaut Thomas Jones has logged more than 52 days (1,272 hours) in space, including three spacewalks totaling more than 19 hours. You and your students can ask him questions about space and space exploration during the Challenger Center for Space Science Education’s free live interactive webcast on October 25 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time. The interview is part of a series of interactive webcasts celebrating the 25th anniversary of Challenger Center's educational programs.

No registration is required for the webcast. You can submit questions at http://www.challenger.org/25 or by e-mail to 25@challenger.org—or use the instant message feature during the live webcast. (Adobe Flash Player is required to participate and view the webcast.) 

For more information about this webcast and future webcasts in the Challenger Center’s Earth to Astronaut series, visit webcast.challenger.org. The website also has an archive of past webcasts in the series.

Connect your students with the people who “do science.” Visit the NSTA Calendar to find out when other role models will be interviewed.

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Lab Out Loud Podcast: Take a Field Trip … In Your Classroom

In episode 67, hosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler talk with Jamie Loizzo about zipTrips™. A zipTrip is an electronic, interactive field trip that connects students across the country to scientists at Purdue University. Through the experience, students are able to observe real-life science laboratories, research, and science careers. Listen to the interview and take your kids on a zipTrip!

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Wards Science

ESRI

Learning and Teaching Scientific Inquiry

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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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