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Week of November 19, 2012

Table of Contents


Discovery Education

DuPont Challenge Helps Students Meet Common Core Literacy Standards

It’s launched! The 2013 DuPont Challenge is a competition for 7–12 grade students to research and write a 700- to 1000-word science essay on any one of four categories:

  • Together, we can feed the world,
  • Together, we can build a secure energy future,
  • Together, we can protect people and the environment,
  • Together, we can be innovative anywhere.

The first three categories reflect the global challenges on which DuPont as a company focuses its efforts. The fourth category opens up possibilities for students to address other important topics, using scientific research to solve issues that can range from medicine and health to mathematical computation to any science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) topic that students are passionate about.

To assist teachers and their students in developing award-winning essays, the DuPont Challenge website offers a range of guidance and tips:

  • How to Prepare a Winning Essay
  • Guide to Research and Writing
  • Tips for Introductions and Conclusions
  • Tips for Success Video with Dr. Judy Pinto
  • Profiles of Previous DuPont Challenge Winners

Submissions will be accepted between November 15, 2012, and January 31, 2013. Prizes total $100,000 including U.S. Savings Bonds for all our winners and a special awards trip to Orlando, Florida, for the top two students in each division, to be joined by a parent and sponsoring teacher. As part of the awards trip, you can expect V.I.P. treatment, recognition, plenty of fun, and maybe even a few other surprises. Created to honor the Challenger astronauts, this competition is a great way to get students to push the limits of imagination and discovery.

Designed to inspire young people to excel in scientific writing, the competition invites students in 7th through 12th grade to research and write a 700- to 1,000-word essay about a scientific discovery, theory, event or technological application that has captured their interest. Essays are judged on mechanics and conventions; ideas and content; organization; style and creativity; and voice. Winners receive savings bonds up to $5,000 and an expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney World and the Kennedy Space Center. The program also rewards the unique contributions of the teachers of the winning students with trips with winners, $500 education grants, and sponsorship to attend the 2013 NSTA National Conference on Science Education in San Antonio.

For more information on classroom use and the competition, visit the DuPont Challenge website.

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NSTA Seeks Input from Science Educators to Prepare for NGSS Implementation

The second and final public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is expected out soon. When the draft is released for public feedback, NSTA encourages science educators to take the time to review this important document and provide feedback to Achieve at www.nextgenscience.org.

In addition to encouraging science educators to take the Achieve survey, NSTA is seeking science educators willing to review the NGSS draft and answer questions about the implementation of NGSS, such as what types of professional development and curricular materials will be needed. We invite teachers from every level, district and state science supervisors, science department chairs, informal science educators, university level science educators, and others with a wide variety of science teaching expertise. Volunteers should be NSTA members and be prepared to spend at least 2–3 hours to review the NGSS public draft and answer the NSTA survey questions.

If you would like to be considered for this project, please click here and fill out the online registration form. Deadline to register is December 1. You will have about 10 days to complete the NSTA survey after the release of the NGSS public draft.

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Introduce Your Students to STEM Careers with iON Future

iON Future logoOn November 20 at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET), Change the Equation (CTEq) is hosting a webcast to launch iON Future, a suite of free online learning games to introduce youth, middle to early high school age, to a variety of STEM-base professions. To view a "sizzle reel" about iON Future, click here.

CTEq is  looking for teacher ambassadors who would like to participate, with their students, in the webcast event on November 20 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT, broadcasting from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.  We hope teachers see this as a valuable, yet different, way to capture youth’s attention in this time leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday!   

  • This one-pager details the 35-minute webcast, which takes students on virtual tours of STEM in action, challenges them to think from a STEM perspective, and introduces them to iON Future.
  • Interested teachers can tune in here November 20 at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT.

If the time and date of the live webcast are not convenient, the webcast can be viewed directly from CTEq’s website beginning the week after Thanksgiving. A learning guide is available, with some recommended lesson plans, that will introduce iON Future to students.

Teachers are encouraged to share the iON Future suite of games with their colleagues and other STEM stakeholders.

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Professional Development through Free Web Seminars

Monarch Butterflies and Citizen Science
Have you and your students ever wondered how the monarchs’ overwintering sites in Mexico were discovered? Join us during this live professional development opportunity to learn about this and more. We’ll view a clip from the new IMAX film Flight of the Butterflies, then explore four citizen science projects that give students a chance to contribute to large-scale data collection on monarchs. Tuesday, November 27, 2012, and Wednesday, December 12, 2012, 6:30–8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Register here.

Holiday Chemistry Activities
Looking for more ways to make chemistry relevant to your grades 9–12 students' everyday lives? Log on to this web seminar and find out how to connect fun holiday themes with fundamental science concepts. You’ll gain access to exciting resources from the American Chemical Society including labs, activities, demonstrations, and articles. Thursday, November 29, 2012, 6:30–8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Register here and check out other upcoming web seminars.

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Dept. of Education Announces Top 20 Winning Investing in Innovation Grant Applicants

Last week the U.S. Department of Education announced results for the third round of the Investing in Innovation (i3) competition, which will award the 20 highest-rated applications more than $140 million to expand innovative practices designed to improve student achievement. These 20 potential grantees, selected from 727 applications, must secure matching funds by December 7, 2012, in order to receive federal funding.

Of the 20 highest-rated applications, eight are in the "Validation" category. Validation grants provide up to $15 million to fund innovations with moderate levels of evidence of their effectiveness. Grantees must secure private matching funds equivalent to at least 10 percent of their federal award.

12 grant applicants are in the "Development" category. Development grants provide up to $3 million to support promising but relatively untested projects with high potential for impact on student achievement. Development grantees must secure private matching funds equivalent to at least 15 percent of their federal award.

The Department did not identify any potential grantees for the “Scale-up” category this year.

Applicants for the 2012 i3 competition submitted proposals focused on one of six absolute priorities; one of the priorities included the promotion of STEM education.

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PD at NSTA's Conference on Science Education, Phoenix

Jump on the bandwagon and join thousands of science educators in Phoenix at the NSTA Conference on Science Education, December 6–8. Register online today. If you need ideas on how to integrate STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) into your curriculum, or you’re worried about what the Next Generation Science Standards will mean for your instruction, register now for this substantive educational opportunity. Below is just a handful of the sessions that will provide hands-on practical advice and resources to build your performance.

  • Urban Heat Island: Linking Science, Society, and Engineering (Middle–High)
  • Successful K–12 STEM Education: Identifying Effective Approaches in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
  • Biotechnology as an Avenue for STEM: Lessons from the Northern Arizona University GK–12 Project (Middle)
  • STEM in an Elementary School: A Schoolwide Model
  • Building a STEM Program: Successes and Challenges (General)
  • Flight of the Monarch Butterflies—At the Arizona Science Center, view the IMAX film, Flight of the Butterflies and engage in classroom activities focused on the monarchs’ amazing migration across North America, as well as their habitats and life cycle. Enjoy breakfast, a $75 stipend for attending, and educational materials provided for your classroom. (Ticketed)
  • Uncovering Physical Science Core Ideas in the NGSS Using Formative Assessment Probes (K–12)
  • STEM Where? Integrating STEM into the Science Classroom in Anticipation of the Next Generation Science Standards (General)
  • Science and Technology Festivals (General)
  • Creating Integrated Projects Collaboratively (Middle–High)
  • Engaging Students in Chemistry Outside the Classroom: A Look at ChemClub (High/Informal)
  • Discussion and Writing: Making Meaning of Science Learning Activities (Elementary)

Full-day programs in chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering will be offered, along with a preconference elementary workshop on using the “Picture Perfect” methodology to integrate science and reading make for a robust learning experience.

Visit the Phoenix 2012 web pages for all the details.

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Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions is Focus of This Week's Web Seminar Exploring the Practices in the Framework for K–12 Science Education

Constructing explanations and designing solutions is the topic of the sixth 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 on Tuesday, November 20, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Teachers will learn more about the rationale for why explanations and solutions are essential products of science and engineering, what constructing explanations and designing solutions really looks like in classroom practice, and how to support students in constructing explanations and design solutions over time.

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).

Only two web seminars remain in this series, including engaging in argument from evidence (December 4) and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information (December 18).

The archive of all the web seminars in the series awaits you here.

For more information and to register for any of the free web seminars, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

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What's That? Lab Out Loud Queries Guest about Questioning in Science?

Prompted by listener feedback, hosts Brian Bartel and Dale Basler talk with Christian Eatough, a science teacher from the MLC School in Sydney, Australia. Christian has been experimenting with the role of questioning in the science classroom, where he has been successful in getting students to ask questions and use them as the basis of practical work. Christian talks to Lab Out Loud about science education in his school and shares his experiences using the Question Formulation Technique.

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Grateful for Teachers

Thanksgiving provides us all with an opportunity to appreciate our blessings (we especially want to thank teachers for their hard work and positive influence on our students). As a small token of our appreciation, we are offering free shipping on the purchase of NSTA Press books when you spend $30 or more. As educators, you shape and change lives every day. We are so grateful for our teachers.

Enter the promo code GRATEFUL at checkout for free shipping on orders of $30 or more. Offer is valid through Friday, November 23.

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NSTA Press-Becoming a Responsive Science Teacher

Scientific Argumentation in Biology

NSTA Conference-Phoenix

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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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