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Week of October 8, 2012

Table of Contents


Discovery Education Siemens Challenge

Sec'y Duncan on the State of American Education

Following a nationwide bus tour last week, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave a speech on the state of American education before an audience at the National Press Club. Duncan spoke about waivers to ESEA, stating the waivers “are not a pass on accountability—but a smarter, more focused and fair way to hold ourselves accountable,” and outlined the goals the Department of Education would continue to pursue this year:

  • High-quality early education for more low-income children
  • State-driven accountability that demands progress for all kids
  • More local decision-making and fewer mandates from Washington
  • More support for principals and teachers to translate high standards into practice
  • More personalization in the classroom and greater student engagement
  • A stronger partnership between teachers and technology
  • A new generation of math and science teachers recruited from our top universities
  • Passage of the DREAM Act
  • Reforming career education programs in high schools and community colleges
  • Closing the skills gap and helping millions of unemployed or underemployed adults join the 21st-century economy
  • Simplifying the entire student aid system

Read Secretary Duncan’s speech »

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Planning and Carrying Out Investigations: NSTA’s Third Web Seminar on Practices in Preparation for NGSS

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations is the topic of NSTA’s third web seminar in a series of eight on the scientific and engineering practices described in A Framework for K–12 Science Education. It will be held this week on Tuesday, October 9, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The free online web seminar, led by Richard Duschl, will explore the process of generating evidence, designing experiments, and evaluating evidence, and will touch on two broad themes: the role of prior knowledge in scientific thinking at all ages, and the importance of experience and instruction.

The Framework, published by the National Research Council (NRC), describes the major practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas that all students should be familiar with by the end of high school and is being used to guide the development of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Attend all eight seminars or just one. Graduate credit is offered through Shippensburg University. Participants also have a chance to win a free copy of the Framework, compliments of NRC.

Save the date for the fourth web seminar—Analyzing and Interpreting Data—to be held on October 23. If you missed the last web seminar on modeling, the archived program awaits you here.

For more information and to register, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

Other free NSTA web seminars featuring new standards-aligned lessons:

Aligning ExploraVision with the National Science Education Standards and the NRC Framework for K–12 Science Education—October 10, 6:30–8 p.m. ET.

Engineering Design Process: On The Moon Educator Guide—Get students excited about the engineering design process with two hands-on lessons from NASA. October 10, 7:30–9 p.m. ET.

Engineering Design: Forces and Motion—The Great Boomerang Challenge—Make learning about forces and motion fun for middle school students with this NASA design challenge. October 11, 6:30–8 p.m. ET.

Center of Mass and Center of Pressure: Engineering a Stable RocketUse NASA rockets to engage high school students with physical science concepts. October 16, 6:30-8 p.m. ET.

Linear Equations: NASA Connect—Breaking Barriers—Pull in the Common Core Standards for mathematics while students step into the shoes of a NASA engineer. October 17, 6:30–8 p.m. ET.

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What's New in NSTA Podcasting

100th Anniversary of the “Expanding Universe” Commemorated in Podcast

Last month the 100th anniversary of a universe-changing scientific discovery slipped by almost entirely unnoticed. In September 1912, astronomer Vesto Melvin Slipher made the first redshift measurement of our neighboring Andromeda galaxy—a discovery that paved the way to the understanding that our universe is expanding. And last month at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, home to that historic discovery, a small group of science historians, astronomers and astronomy educators gathered to celebrate that event. In this NSTA podcast episode, Diane Hope gathers participants and captures their suggestions for how best to teach the vast scale of the universe, our galaxy, and the solar system.

Episode 83 of Lab Out Loud: Sam Kean's Stories from the Human Genome

This week listen as cohosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler talk to science writer Sam Kean about his newest book The Violinist's Thumb and Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code. Sam talks to Lab Out Loud about the book, science writing, and how educators might use his stories in the science classroom.

Did you read any good science books over the summer? Join the conversation at laboutloud.com to share your favorite science books, and visit the NSTA Science Store for the latest NSTA Press books … and more.

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Join the Visionaries in Phoenix

NSTA’s Conference on Science Education in Phoenix is scheduled for December 6–8. Don’t miss the earlybird deadline, October 26, to save the most on registration.

Some say the mythical bird phoenix represents our capacity for vision. This December we'll meet in Phoenix, Arizona, to explore and expand on excellence in science education, from challenging content, critical issues such as NGSS, STEM, and the Common Core, classroom techniques, to professional relationships. Select from nearly 400 workshops and seminars for science educators in every grade band and discipline. You can expect nationally known speakers, local science-related field trips, the Exhibit Hall to learn about new products and services, and networking with experts who will share their passion for science with you.  Check out some scheduled sessions.

  • Leadership Lessons from Apollo to Discovery—Col. Eileen Collins (first woman to pilot and command an American spacecraft)
  • STEM Curriculum—Moving Beyond the Acronym and into Classroom Practice—Jo Anne Vasquez (Vice President and Program Director, Arizona Transition Years, Teacher and Curriculum STEM Initiatives, Helios Education Foundation)
  • The Current State of the Next Generation Science Standards—Stephen L. Pruitt (Vice President for Content, Research, and Development, Achieve, Inc.)
  • Cosmetics, OTC Drugs, Environmental Issues, and the BP Oil Spill—Let's Go Green! (Elementary)
  • Telling the Science Story: Finding a Common Ground Between the Common Core and Frameworks (Elem)
  • STEM Curriculum Strategies—Putting Practice into Action, Elem-Middle
  • Why'd You Change Your Thinking? Science Notebooks: Analysis, Feedback, and Discourse (Middle)
  • Creating Connection to Foster Action: A Hook for Effective STEM Integration (Middle–High School)
  • What You Can Gain from Genetic Testing in Your Classroom—Integrating math (probability and linear functions), science (genetics), technology (biotechnology), and engineering (electrophoresis) to be used in your classroom. (Middle)
  • Introduction to Modeling Instruction in Physics (Middle–High)
  • Creating Connection to Foster Action: A Hook for Effective STEM Integration (Middle–High)
  • Moving Beyond "What Is Science?" to Being Scientists Through Science and Engineering Practices
  • Picture Perfect Science workshop, full day pre-conference program for elementary teachers who will learn how to integrate science into their reading program through the use of trade books. (Ticketed)
  • Special programs: ESP Symposium, Chemistry Day, Physics Day, Biology Day, and Engineering Day.

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NEA Unveils Plans to Prepare More STEM Teachers

The National Education Association last week announced plans to raise $1.5 million for an initiative that aims to increase the number of certified science and math teachers and improve STEM instruction. The teachers' union is pledging up to $500,000, and committing to raise at least $1 million more from the private sector, to expand and replicate an initiative developed by the New Jersey Center for Teaching and Learning, a nonprofit organization founded by the New Jersey Education Association.

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Two New STEM Books Available

Looking for exciting STEM design challenges and activities to inspire students? Get STEM activities to blend into your instruction with these two new books and much more.

Integrating Engineering and Science in Your Classroom
Grades K–12
Next time you need an engaging STEM activity, you'll be glad you have this collection to help you blend meaningful and memorable experiences into your lessons. Its 30 chapters features STEM lessons and design challenges that involve everything from light sabers and egg racers to prosthetic arms and potatoes. These activities reinforce important science content while illustrating a range of STEM skills.
Member Price: $23.96 | Nonmember Price: $29.95

Exemplary Science for Building Interest in STEM Careers
Grades K–12
This book provides examples and inspiration to steer students into STEM careers—including scientist, engineer, inventor, and education reformer. Chapters include input from business and industry representatives, emphasizing the current view of what science is and the importance of collaborative learning. This volume will help you engage students in resolving problems and issues using their own ideas and problem-solving techniques.
Member Price: $23.96 | Nonmember Price: $29.95

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Recognizing and Rewarding Teachers Through the 2012 Teacher Incentive Fund

Late last month the U.S. Department of Education announced that $290 million will be awarded to 35 recipients of the 2012 Teacher Incentive Fund. Grantees, which include districts, states, and nonprofits, will work to provide opportunities for teacher leadership and advancement and put in place district-wide evaluations based on multiple measures that include student growth, and improve decision-making through better evaluations.

Six of the projects will focus on districtwide evaluations for science and math teachers.

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Online Courses from the American Museum of Natural History

Are you interested in learning about dinosaurs? Do you want to know more about the science behind climate change? Are you looking for graduate or professional development credit? If so, check out the Seminars on Science program from the American Museum of Natural History. Online courses run from October 29 to December 9 and include Evolution; Climate Change; Earth: Inside and Out; Genetics, Genomics, Genethics; The Ocean System; and The Link Between Dinosaurs and Birds.

Each course is available for graduate credit and is co-taught by an experienced educator and a scientist. For more information and to register, visit www.amnh.org/learn or contact us directly.

Registration deadline: October 22
Registration: www.amnh.org/learn/Register
Phone: 800-649-6715
E-mail: seminfo@amnh.org

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Delta Education

NSTA Press STEM Handbook

NSTA Conference in Atlanta

Learn more about NSTA e-newsletter sponsorships

And Don’t Forget…

Visit our member services web page to ensure that NSTA has your current contact information. And when the time comes to renewselect the "Autorenew" option!

Interact with your fellow NSTA members on the list server. Join one list or join them all!
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Download your copy of the NSTA Membership Guide.

Visit the NSTA Science Store for an outstanding array of bestselling books and teaching resources. Receive 30% off the price of the October featured book, Start Young: Early Childhood Science Activities.


Click on the logo above for more information and to register for these free professional development opportunities.

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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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