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Week of November 21, 2011

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Epson America

NSTA Cyber Monday Savings

NSTA onlineBeginning at 9:00 a.m. ET on Monday, November 28, for one day only, a regular individual NSTA membership (normally $75) will be offered online for 33% off, or just $50! We’ve heard from so many former NSTA members that they’d love to re-join if only dues were more affordable—and we listened! So while you’re cyber-shopping for your family and friends, treat yourself to all the benefits of full NSTA membership and save $25 on dues—33%! Whether you’re renewing your membership, re-joining some time after an earlier membership lapsed, or starting out with a brand-new membership, click here for your Cyber Monday countdown clock and then, starting at 9:00 a.m. ET on Monday, 11/28/2011, a link will appear that will take you to your savings page. This offer is valid only online and will expire in just 24 hours, at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, so remind yourself on Cyber Monday to join/renew and save!

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Compete for $300K in Prizes in the Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge

This environmental, sustainability competition for grades K–12 encourages teams of students to create solutions to environmental problems in their schools, communities, and districts while learning about science and conservation. Using the fundamentals of project-based scientific inquiry, students are given the tools to identify an ecological problem, research it, and determine how their green solution can be replicated by other communities that face similar challenges. They’ll learn. They’ll take action. And their ideas might just change the world.

Access is available to a wealth of free digital tools to help integrate the Challenge into your curriculum. More than $300K in prizes including scholarships, adventure trips, and even a chance to present at the United Nations will be awarded. To win big and save the planet, visit www.wecanchange.com to find out more. The Challenge is open through March 15, 2012.

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New Opportunity to Plan Student Experiments Aboard the ISS

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, in partnership with NanoRacks,
is inviting communities across the U.S. to participate in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 2 to the International Space Station (ISS).

Each participating community will be provided all launch services to fly a real microgravity research mini-laboratory on the ISS from September 28 to November 12, 2012, and a kit for assembly of their mini-lab. An eight-week experiment design competition in the community, held in the spring of 2012, will allow teams of students in grades 5–12 to design real microgravity experiments vying for their community’s reserved mini-lab slot on the ISS.

Interested in getting your school/community involved? Visit the SSEP web page. For more information, or contact ssep@ncesse.org or call 301-395-0770.

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FREE Fall Web Seminars—Save the Dates

Add these FREE, 90-minute web seminars to the last months of your 2011 calendar. For building content knowledge in a wide range of subjects, these interactive online events are led by renowned science education experts and provide opportunities to ask questions, share ideas, and join discussions. Each seminar runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET and will be presented using a new platform, Blackboard Collaborate, with expanded user-friendly features. A short training section will lead off each web seminar.

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National STEM Video Game Challenge Now Open to Students and K–12 Teachers

The annual National STEM Video Game Challenge for both students and K–12 teachers is now open for entries. The annual competition, held by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media in partnership with sponsors AMD Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting/PBS KIDS Ready To Learn Initiative, Entertainment Software Association, and Xbox 360, is accepting submissions of original video game concepts and designs from students and educators in four categories at www.stemchallenge.org.

“The National STEM Video Game Challenge will channel the potential of a new generation of game creators to develop innovative tools for learning,” said H. Melvin Ming, President and CEO, Sesame Workshop. Entries can be created using any game-making platform including, but not limited to, written concepts, Gamestar Mechanic, Microsoft’s Kodu Game Lab, GameMaker, and Scratch.

The Middle School and High School Category winners will each receive AMD-based laptops, game design software packages, and other tools to support their skill development. Each winner’s youth-sponsoring organization will receive cash prizes and educational software (there will be a total of $80,000 in prizes for youth and youth-sponsoring organizations). A prize pool of $30,000 will be awarded to the Collegiate Category winners and a prize pool of $40,000 to winners in the Educator Category.

The National STEM Video Game Challenge will accept entries through March 12, 2012. Complete guidelines and details on how to enter are available at www.stemchallenge.org.

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Seattle Conference on Science Education—a December Getaway

If you haven’t registered for NSTA’s Conference on Science Education in Seattle, Dec. 8–10, for the best professional development an educator could want, there’s still time. K–16 science educators will be thrilled with the range of workshops, seminars, presentations, and the Exhibit Hall (always a favorite). Bring an extra tote for giveaways, lesson plans, and resources for the classroom. Don’t miss Saturday’s “Science Matters” event with hands-on activities for Seattle residents and their children.

Hear why teachers and administrators attend NSTA conferences:

  • “To gain ideas to better help my students; find other possible resources to assist students; build student independence”
  • “To improve my teaching strategies”
  • “To keep informed on the Next Generation Standards”
  • “STEM learning strategies”
  • “My students won First Place in the K–2 Division 'We Can Change the World' contest. My prize from the contest was a year's membership in NSTA, paid conference registration and hotel costs during the conference. It was an outstanding experience in so many ways.”
  • “Learn new ways to teach/reach my students with fun innovative ideas that enhance learning”
  • “Getting method/technique updates and seeing newest technology available”

What about the conferences you have attended was most useful?

  • “The hands-on workshops where I was able to try out each of the experiments so I would know how to do them in the classroom.”
  • “Each session I went to was useful because my subject content knowledge and skills were increased.”
  • “Networking and talking to the exhibitors about new products and techniques”
  • “I loved the field trips and the featured speaker, Dr. Morrow who presented on brain research.”
  • “Inquiry approach to the solar system workshop by NASA”
  • “Some great technology applications, sessions with complete lesson plans.”

For your convenience, on-site registration is also available.

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NSTA Press Favorite: Developing Visual Literacy in Science, K–8

More than 50 percent of science lessons in today’s elementary textbooks use visual information to help demonstrate concepts. With Developing Visual Literacy in Science, K–8, educators can help their students develop skills in interpreting photographs, charts, diagrams, figures, labels, and graphic symbols. These skills are called visual literacy skills. Visual literacy in science is especially relevant for students who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. In addition, a growing body of research concludes that visual literacy is critical for all citizens to communicate in our highly complex world. The authors, who are experienced science educators, provide teachers with a developmental path to move learners—and even the teachers themselves—on the road to successfully “making meaning” from visual texts.

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Lab Out Loud Episode 69: Success with Science

Have you ever wanted your students to conduct scientific research? Lab Out Loud's guest this week has some insights for you. Hosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler talk with Shiv Gaglani, a second-place winner in the Intel Science awards in 2006, who is now working to spur interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) among students. Gaglani talks about his book (and website) "Success with Science," shares tips on how to engage your students in scientific research, and discusses the importance of STEM in our economy.

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Sargent Welch

Science The Write Way-NSTA Press

NSTA Conference-Seattle

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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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