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Week of April 30, 2012

Table of Contents


The College Board

Eight Student Teams From Across the U.S. and Canada Named National Winners in the 2012 Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Program

Congratulations to the 2012 national winners recently selected for the 20th annual Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Program. The program’s eight national winners looked to the world around them to propose ideas for technologies that could make the future better, healthier, and more eco-friendly. This year the program received 4,809 team projects representing the participation of 14,606 students from across the U.S. and Canada. National winning projects reflected in-depth research on the environment, important health issues, and ways to enhance the school experience.

Students on the four first-place ExploraVision national winner teams will each receive a $5,000 US Series EE Savings Bond (valued $10,000 at maturity). Students on second-place teams will each receive a $2,500 Savings Bond (valued $5,000 at maturity). (Canadian winners receive Canada Bonds purchased for the equivalent issue price in Canadian dollars.) The eight teams will also receive an expenses-paid trip with their families, mentor, and coach to Washington, DC, for a gala awards weekend in June 2012. Activities will include a visit to Capitol Hill to meet with members of Congress, a Science Showcase during which the students will display and demonstrate their winning ideas, an appearance at the National Press Club, and sightseeing around the nation’s capital.

For more information or an application for 2013, visit the competition website or e-mail exploravision@nsta.org.

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NSTA Legislative Update

The U.S. Department of Education announces the first ever Green Ribbon Schools, teams up with the Department of Agriculture for better agricultural education, and releases a new plan for career and technical education. Read all about it in this issue of the NSTA Legislative Update.

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2012 Summer Leadership Institute

June 24–28, 2012
Austin, Texas

Take an academic getaway to become immersed in the Next Generation Science Standards. 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 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, 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.

Highlights include nationally renowned science leaders who will share their insights throughout the four-day Institute. Lance Rougeux, Discovery Education; Stephen Pruitt, Achieve; Martin Storksdieck, National Research Council; Harold Pratt, Learning Research and Development Center at the University of Pittsburgh; and Dana Center program director Sam Zigrossi comprise the list of presenters. Most of these outstanding leaders will be available for discussion and questions from attendees throughout the meeting. This unique experience should not to be missed. To learn more about the speakers and plans for this event, visit www.nsta.org/pd/nsela.

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Informal Science Focus of Key Report from National Governors Association

A new report from the National Governors Association looks at informal science activities and discusses how states can maximize informal science and “take advantage of a resource that can help achieve STEM goals.”

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Spring Has Sprung! Three New Books for K–12 Educators

Consider adding these books to your PD library—each is filled with content, strategies, techniques, or hands-on lesson plans.  

Bringing Outdoor Science In
Thrifty Classroom Lessons
Grades K–8

Clearly organized and easy to use, this helpful guide contains more than 50 science lessons. All lessons include objectives, materials lists, procedures, reproducible data sheets, ideas for adapting to different grade levels, and much more. By using author Steve Rich’s follow-up to his popular book Outdoor Science: A Practical Guide, you can introduce students to everything from bug zoos to the Sun and stars without ever needing to put on a jacket. Member Price: $20.76 Nonmember Price: $25.95

Buzz Into Action
The Insect Curriculum Guide for Grades K–4
This cross-disciplinary guide introduces children to the joy of insects through investigations that involve scientific inquiry and knowledge building rather than memorization. You can put the 20 hands-on lessons to work individually or as a curriculum, in the field or in the classroom. Member Price: $19.16 Nonmember Price: $23.95

Connecting With Nature: A Naturalist's Perspective
Grades K–12
Thought-provoking and charming, Connecting With Nature offers advice on performing accurate observations and field reports and understanding natural selection, along with an array of activities to capture the attention of students of all ages—from imitating animal sounds, to tracking animals, to creating a school garden, to photographing birds. Member Price: $19.96 Nonmember Price: $24.95

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Elementary and Middle School Educators Invited to Build Leadership Qualities Through USELA

The Urban Science Education Leadership Academy will hold its annual event July 15–20 in Austin, Texas, this summer. Those who attend will be immersed in top-notch professional development with the following stated outcomes:

  • Distributed leadership models to guide a district plan will be established
  • District strategic plan to improve science education will be created or modified
  • Best practices will be advanced specific to attendees’ districts
  • Practitioners will grow and develop to lead science improvement
  • Student achievement will be positively affected

Two nationally known science educators will be on hand to give direction and set parameters for discussion. Anne Tweed, former NSTA president, 30-year veteran science teacher, McREL consultant, and author of Designing Effective Science Instruction, will facilitate along with Larry Bell, author of 12 Powerful Words That Increase Test Scores and Help Close the Achievement Gap and former supervisor of multicultural education for Prince William County, Maryland.

Eligible teams (5 persons) and individual educators are invited to attend. Applications are available for a limited number of scholarships. For more information, visit www.nsta.org/2012usel.

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Stock Up on Science Content with an Online Graduate Course from AMNH

Looking for ways to learn science content in a powerful, inquiry-based way?  Join Seminars on Science in a summer session of our award-winning online graduate courses in the life, Earth and physical sciences from the American Museum of Natural History. This summer Seminars on Science is offering twelve rich courses, including: Climate Change; Evolution; The Ocean System; Space, Time and Motion; and more. Full listing and free sample resources are available for each course at learn.amnh.org.

All courses run for six weeks and are fully online. Each participant receives resources for classroom use. Affordable graduate credit is available for all courses (see website for details).

Registration is now open: Summer Session 1 runs May 28 – July 8.  Summer Session 2 runs July 2 – August 12. Registration for Summer Session 1 closes May 14, so sign up today! For more information and to register, go to learn.amnh.org or call 800-649-6715.

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NSELA/NSTA Summer Leadership Institute

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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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