Preparing for the Public Draft of the Next Generation Science Standards
In a process managed by Achieve, Inc., a nonprofit education reform organization, 26 states are currently leading the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The standards will undergo multiple reviews, including two public drafts. The first public draft is expected soon and NSTA encourages science educators to actively participate in the review process by taking the time to study and provide input on this important document when it becomes available. NSTA suggests educators form study groups with colleagues to have focused discussions about the document. A study group is an excellent means to become familiar with the NGSS in preparation for implementation decisions and plans when the final document is released in late 2012 or early 2013. In-depth discussions among peers will also prove valuable in providing informed feedback to Achieve on the draft. Now is the time to start planning and organizing a study group. Click here to download the NSTA guide that includes sample agendas, a facilitator guide, and suggested questions.
It’s also important for science educators to have a thorough understanding of the foundation for the new standards. The NGSS is based on A Framework for K–12 Science Education, released by the National Research Council and available online at www.nap.edu. NSTA Press® is also selling the publication with a discount for members. NSTA has produced a number of resources to help science educators better understand the framework and its dimensions, including The NSTA Reader’s Guide to a Framework for K–12 Science Education and a number of articles published in NSTA member journals. These resources are available online. NSTA Press also has assembled the Guide and the journal articles into one useful publication, The NSTA Reader’s Guide to A Framework for K–12 Science Education, Expanded Edition.
Stay tuned to NSTA Express for news about the draft standards document when it is released for public review.
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Build Your Content Knowledge in Physical Science and Earth/Space Science
The Solar System
Eager to learn beyond your Earthly boundaries? Join us for the new NSTA Online Short Course: The Solar System. Member price: $304.59 | Nonmember price: $344.11
Confounded by kinetic and potential energy? Intimidated by thermal energy and heat? Mystified by the concepts of conduction, convection, and radiation? Register for this course to learn more. Member price: $325.76 | Nonmember price: $370.75
Force and Motion
Intimidated by inertia? Frightened by forces? Mystified by Newton's Laws of Motion? You are not alone. Force and Motion is the perfect course to improve your content knowledge. Member price: $325.76 | Nonmember price: $370.75
Why is left right and right left in the mirror? Baffled by the basics of reflection and refraction? Wondering just how the eye works? If you have trouble teaching concepts about light that you don’t fully grasp yourself, the new NSTA Online Short Course: Light will help. Member price: $328.55 | Nonmember price: $373.25
Graduate credit is $250.00 a credit hour for a total of $500.00 for the two graduate credits. There is also a $40 registration fee for those wanting the graduate credit.
See individual course pages for scheduling details. The deadline for course registration for Solar System is June 4, 2012; Energy is June 19, 2012; and the deadline for registration for Force and Motion and Light courses is July 9, 2012.
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Preparing to Teach Across the STEM Disciplines?
Consider attending NSTA’s first STEM Forum & Expo, May 17–19 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. With more than 350 practical workshops offered, teachers and administrators are guaranteed to find a range of activities that will help support the integration of STEM subjects into classrooms, schools, and districts. In addition to these sessions, two exciting keynote speakers will speak on selected topics related to STEM. Check out these renowned speakers at the expo:
Kenneth Wesson, educational consultant, will present “The STEM Hologram: Several Disciplines: One Interdependent Picture” and explain why STEM should be delivered in learning contexts where disciplinary interdependence is highlighted for young learners.
Dr. Mary Ellen Weber, former NASA astronaut, will present “To Boldly Go: The Unbounded Opportunities in Science and Math.” Drawing from her own diverse experiences and career, Dr. Weber will share her perspectives and insights on choosing a STEM education, as well as the majesty and inspiration of spaceflight.
Register here and browse the conference scheduler to find more than 350 sessions to choose from.
Disney's Planet Challenge Grand Prize Winners Celebrate
Disney's Planet Challenge (DPC), a project-based learning environmental competition for classrooms across the United States, teaches kids about science and conservation while empowering them to make a positive impact on their communities and planet. That impact was noted and rewarded last week when Disney celebrated two grand prize winning projects from an elementary and middle school classroom, along with their respective teachers, with a trip to Walt Disney World.
The fifth grade elementary class from Brickett Elementary in Lynn, Massachusetts, won on their project, “Think Before You Idle,” attempting to decrease needless vehicle idling by educating the community and encouraging community members to change their habits. Teacher Eileen Cole, who attended the celebration in Walt Disney World had this to say about her students and the project, “The success of this project has shown them [my students] that not only can we change and help our environment, but we can take what we have in front of us and with hard work, perseverance and help from our community learn lessons that will last a lifetime.”
Seventh graders in Christa McAuliffe School, PS No. 28, Jersey City, New Jersey, and their two teachers, Jennifer Mulewski and Robert O’Donnell, took the grand prize for “Project Reservoir” where the goal was to transform the Jersey City Reservoir into a state-designated environmental learning center and to increase awareness of the reservoir, encouraging the community to become invested in its survival, revitalization, and success.
Their teachers shared, “This project has provided our young Challengers with the platform to experience real life science exploration and community advocacy. Project Reservoir allowed our students to see the real world application of their learning, giving meaning and purpose to their classroom activities.”
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Summer PD Opportunities for Science Educators
The National Science Education Leadership Association (NSELA) and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) invite you to attend a Summer Leadership Institute, June 24–28, 2012, in Austin, Texas. This immersive experience will bring together scores of individual science educators, teams (leaders and teachers), and administrators to explore the K–12 Framework and draft Next Generation Science Standards. They will determine key features of each, noting comparisons, contrasts and shifts in focus. Participants will identify the "next steps," develop a deep understanding of supporting research for reform, engage in the use of models and vignettes to demonstrate the practice of science, and apply new knowledge to their own unique professional environment. Visit www.nsta.org/pd/nsela for more information.
The Urban Science Education Leadership Academy for 2012 will meet in Austin, Texas, July 15–20, for their annual Institute. The objective is to “Develop Elementary and Middle School Leaders in Urban Districts to Improve Teaching and Learning of Science.” Teams of educators (one district science coordinator, one building administrator-principal/assistant principal, and three teachers) are invited. Along with empowering presenters—Anne Tweed, author of Designing Effective Science Instruction, and Larry Bell, author of 12 Powerful Words That Increase Test Scores and Help Close the Achievement Gap—the Institute will provide a substantive program for attendees intended to enhance leadership skills to lead science improvement. Visit the USEL Academy web page for details and information about scholarship opportunities.
For new secondary science teachers, those first years of teaching often are stressful and anxiety-ridden. Research indicates new teachers’ performance and confidence is enhanced with professional development, engagement with like-minded peers, and solid professional mentoring. To that end, NSTA and sponsoring corporations established the New Science Teacher Academy, a program that fills those needs. Middle and high school science teachers in their second or third year of teaching are invited to apply to participate in the Academy. More than 200 teacher applicants will win a scholarship for the 2012-2013 Academy program. “Fellows” in the Academy will enjoy the following:
- Membership in the NSTA with full benefits
- Access to facilitate, web-based curriculum devoted to content and classroom pedagogy
- One on one e-mentoring, specific to the Fellow’s discipline and grade band
- All expenses paid to NSTA’s National Conference (lodging, airfare, meals, and registration included)
- Attendance at a PD Institute or Research Conference
Visit www.nsta.org/academy to learn more or apply. Deadline is July 1.
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STEM/Health Sciences Day
Students and interested others, including parents and STEM professionals, are invited to join the online STEM/Health Sciences Day on April 24, 2012, from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. EDT to learn what top STEM programs have to offer. During the event, participants can
- Chat live with 50+ leading schools in STEM/health sciences—including Texas Tech, Cal State Polytech, Oregon Institute of Technology, Emory University, and Florida A&M University
- Video chat with current college students majoring in STEM or health sciences
- Gain expert advice on making the most of your STEM education
Sign up now for the STEM/Health Sciences Day.
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Lab Out Loud Episode 79: Vernier's Game-Changer
This week listen as co-hosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler talk to David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier Software & Technology. David talks to Lab Out Loud about the history of the company, his popular software and data collection hardware, and the release of two new products that are part of Vernier's Connected Science System—the LabQuest2 and Graphical Analysis iOS app. Listen to hear how Vernier believes his technology will change science education.
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2012 Professional Development Grant Opportunity: Classroom Earth
Interested in enhancing your understanding of the living world and learning to teach about wildlife conservation in your subject area?
Classroom Earth is supporting middle and high school teachers around the country who are eager to make wildlife conservation part of their curriculum. Classroom Earth's 2012 Professional Development Grants will enable applicants to take one six-week online course offered by the Wildlife Conservation Society to create a strong foundation in wildlife conservation. Participating teachers will be better equipped to bring wildlife conservation into the classroom, facilitate scientific learning, and connect students with their natural surroundings. This Classroom Earth grant opportunity will also support teachers to earn graduate-level credit.
The deadline is April 30, 2012.
Apply for a Classroom Earth Professional Development Grant today by visiting www.classroomearth.org/2012wcgrants.
Interested in more opportunities with WCS? Check out our summer online offerings.
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When the space shuttle Discovery made its circuit around Washington, DC, last week, it passed over NSTA's headquarters in Arlington and was captured by a staffer on the roof. Discovery's "retirement home" will be the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. (Photo: Rodney Palmer)
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