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Week of July 16, 2012

Table of Contents


University of Texas-Arlington

NSTA President Karen Ostlund presenting citation to Dr. WiemanNoted Nobel Laureate Receives NSTA Presidential Citation

During the opening session of the National Congress on Science Education last week, NSTA President Karen Ostlund presented Dr. Carl Wieman, Associate Director of Science for the White House Office of Science and Technology and a Nobel laureate, with the NSTA Presidential Citation in recognition of his lifetime achievement in science education.

Read the Presidential Citation presented to Dr. Wieman. Learn more about Dr. Wieman and his contributions to science education:

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Connecticut Teachers Embark on Six-Week-Long Summer Journey to Enrich STEM Education

Congratulations to the seven Connecticut science teachers recently selected as externs in the United Technologies Corporation (UTC)/NSTA STEM Externship Program. The program, designed to increase teacher understanding about the skills needed for a scientifically literate workforce, provides secondary school science educators with applicable, hands-on work experience in high-tech environments throughout Connecticut.

Through the program, qualified teachers are placed into local UTC sites for a six-week summer learning experience. During this period, teachers are paired with a UTC scientist/engineer, who serves as a mentor to the teachers. Under the guidance of their mentors, teachers work daily on an assigned engineering project, learning the foundational and industry-specific skills required for success in the field. After completing the externship, teachers are required to incorporate what they have learned into a lesson plan, strategy, or activity that they will implement as part of their classroom curriculum the following school year.

The teachers began their externships on June 25. In addition to the externship, each teacher receives a $6,000 stipend, a one-year NSTA membership, and access to NSTA’s various online resources and tools. Click here to learn more about the United Technologies Corporation/NSTA STEM Externship Program. In the fall, the online application for the 2013 externships will become available. A link to the application will be posted on the site.

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Explore, Discover, Grow: Conference on Science Education, Atlanta

If you’re in a rut, tired of your everyday lessons, and in need of a fresh viewpoint or a shot of energy, consider attending NSTA’s Conference on Science Education in Atlanta in the fall. Planned for Nov. 1-3, teachers and administrators can count on thousands of peers attending for personal and professional growth. Through dynamic speakers and leading PD experts, you’ll find rich resources and inspiration to take back to your school or district. Discipline-specific day programs, hands-on workshops, and presentations offer content development, strategies for better classroom performance, techniques to improve science literacy, and a whole lot more. It’s your forum and we plan on leading the discussion: let us hear your voice on NGSS, assessment, ELL issues, integration of STEM into your curriculum to name just a few topics teachers care about. Check out some sample sessions below.

  • Walking with Dinosaurs, Cary Woodruff (Paleontology Graduate Student, Montana State University)
  • The Power of One, Brad Cohen (Educator, Author, and Motivational Speaker, Brad Cohen Tourette Foundation)
  • Build the Scaffolding for Inquiry at K–8, Karen L. Ostlund (NSTA President)
  • Integrating the Dimensions at the Elementary Level: Practices, Concepts, and Core Ideas
  • Excite Elementary Students with Science Olympiad
  • Addressing Core Science Standards Through Nanoscale Science for Grades 6–8
  • Using the 5Es to Become Next-Generation Ready, Elementary-Middle
  • Achieving Environmental Literacy Through Community-Based Investigations, Middle-High School
  • Climate Change Classroom Tool Kit, Elementary-High School
  • Our Changing Planet, online activities and videos about changes in the Earth system, including three activities to do together. Handouts. Middle-High School
  • Equilibrium and Concentration, observations from activities makes Le Chatelier's principle more tangible by comparisons between simulations and experiments, Jerry Bell, American Chemistry Society
  • Full-day programs in chemistry, biology, engineering, and physics.
  • Exhibit Hall—new products, services, and giveaways. Bring a tote.
  • Let's Get Helical: Exploring DNA Structure/Function with Interactive Physical Models, High-College

Click here for more information. Reminder: earlybird registration deadline is Sept. 14.

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NPR Contest Seeks "Big Ideas" From Young Innovators

Do your students have great ideas? Ones that could change the world?

NPR seeks to spark more ideas from the big brains of burgeoning innovators with a new video contest for students. The contest—"What's Your Big Idea?"—challenges 13- to 25-year-olds to dream up a science-, technology-, or math-based invention that could impact everyday life. The grand prize: Advice on how to turn the big idea into reality. Finalists' videos will be featured on NPR's website and the "Joe's Big Idea" FaceBook page.

To enter NPR’s "What's Your Big Idea?" contest, eligible contestants need to make an original video about the idea and post it to YouTube. Videos must be 2 minutes or less and can be as simple as describing the idea, or involved as an animated short. Once uploaded to YouTube, videos must then be registered to the contest via NPR.org by August 12. Potential entrants can check out this video on the launch page to kick start their noggins. Full entry details and rules are available here.

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New Press Book for Grades 6–8 Explores Real-World Issues Involving Drug Use and Abuse

Neurobiology and the consequences of drug use and abuse are the focus of 10 ready-to-use, 45-minute lessons for middle school students in This Is Your Brain: Teaching About Neuroscience and Addiction Research.

Exploring the role of biomedical research in understanding addiction and prevention, each lesson incorporates national standards and purposeful objectives to sharpen important decision-making and higher-order thinking skills. Lessons in the innovative curriculum cover how the brain works, how drugs affect the brain, why research is important, applying ethics to research, and the future of research.

Intended for middle school science teachers and for use in health, physical education, and family consumer science, this volume includes interactive learning materials for students and companion materials for parents and others who educate our youth.

Visit the NSTA Science Store to purchase or download a free chapter. Member Price: $18.36, Nonmember Price: $22.95

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Free Video Game Teaches Students About the Moon

The Center for Educational Technologies® (CET) at Wheeling Jesuit University created Selene: A Lunar Construction Game to teach students about basic geological processes on Earth and in the solar system. Selene also will help educational researchers study how and when people learn through educational video games.

Funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, Selene has won awards, and research has shown that the game aids the learning of lunar geology. Players create their own moon and then pepper it with impact craters and flood it with lava. New for the 2012–2013 school year is a Spanish-language version of the game.

Now the CET is looking for players ages 9–18 to be part of its research on science and video game learning. To register your students, e-mail selene@cet.edu with your contact information and times when you would be available for a 30-minute orientation. The game can be played anytime, anywhere. Learn more about Selene and see how it aligns with national and state science standards.

Looking for more free resources for your classroom? Visit NSTA’s Freebies for Science Teachers web page.

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Hundreds of Scholarships Available for Middle and High School "New" Science Teachers

Don’t wait to apply to participate in the New Science Teacher Academy. The deadline is Aug. 24. This yearlong program supports middle and high school science teachers finishing their first or second year of teaching. Learn about the benefits. We select hundreds of teachers for this enriching program.

Past “Fellows” in the New Science Teacher Academy had a few comments to make about the program and what they learned.

  • “It was beyond awesome! I was an NSTA Fellow this past year: the resources and both general teaching and subject-specific support made for a fantastic year teaching. Do not hesitate, if you are finishing up year 1 or year 2 of teaching science, GO APPLY!” Rebecca Jane Austin Datta, 2011-2012 Fellow
  • “The exposure to learning resources, scientists, science educators and leaders in the field was an opportunity I could never have found on my own. I am deeply honored to be selected as an NSTA fellow and empowered to share my new knowledge with others in my building and district.” Aoko Omwony Hope, 2011-2012 Fellow
  • “The program reinforced many teaching practices, however, participating in the inquiry made a huge improvement in the implementation of new ideas. I am grateful for the experience, and I am thankful for the NSTA.”
  • “This was a great program that provided excellent resources and inspiration.”
  • “The New Science Teacher Academy has made a huge impact on my teaching and my ability to cope with the stresses of teaching. I believe my third year is going much smoother and easier because of my participation in the academy. I hope that this program may be expanded and maintained for many years to come.”
  • “Although we had several teachers' positions eliminated this year, I am still employed in part I believe because I had been selected to participate in the New Science Teacher Academy and was able to bring so much from the Academy to the classroom. For this I am most appreciative.”

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NSTA Conference-Louisville Fall 2012

NSTA Press-Everyday Engineering

NSTA Press-Front Page Science

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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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