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Week of February 4, 2013

Table of Contents


Discovery Education-Siemens

NSTA Wants Your Insights on NGSS Implementation

In preparation for the impending release of the Next Generation Science Standards, NSTA is seeking widespread input from science educators on resources, professional development, and support that will be needed for successful implementation. Please take a minute and answer our quick survey questions.

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NSTA Legislative Update: Bipartisan Immigration Legislation and STEM Education

A bipartisan immigration bill introduced last week in the Senate would increase the number of H-IB visas and green cards available to allow more highly skilled STEM workers, and the revenue generated from employers who pay for the increased immigration benefits would be channeled to states for STEM education initiatives. Read more about it in this NSTA Legislative Update.

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Submission Deadline for the 2013 DuPont Challenge Extended

Good news! The deadline for submissions for the 2013 DuPont Challenge has been extended to Sunday, February 10, at 11:55 p.m. Eastern. The DuPont Challenge calls on students in grades 7–12 from the United States, Canada, and U.S. territories to research, think critically, and write an essay that provides innovative ideas on the world’s most pressing challenges, or demonstrates the application of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to our daily lives. 

Students and sponsoring teacher prizes—totaling more than $100,000—include savings bonds; exciting trips to The Walt Disney World Resort® and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida; expenses-paid trip for all winning teachers to the 2014 National Conference; an opportunity to be a part of the White House Science Fair; and much more!

This year, the Challenge asks students to take a solutions-focused approach and address one of four categories in their 700–1,000-word essay:

  • 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.

For more information, including official rules, entry forms, and details on awards, please visit the Challenge website.

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States Soon to Weigh Science Standards Adoption

In the January 30 edition of Education Week, Erik Robelen explores the decisions that will be made by states regarding adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), set for release this spring. According to the article, “the 26 ‘lead state partners’ helping to develop the K–12 standards have agreed to ‘give serious consideration’ to adopting them. Recent interviews with officials in a number of those states, such as California, Delaware, Kansas, and Maryland, reveal a generally positive reaction to the second and final public draft, issued this month for comment.” Read the full article here.

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Dept. of Education Releases ESEA Waiver Materials

The U.S. Department of Education has released a set of materials that provide a substantive overview of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility process—also known as ESEA waivers—by which 34 states and the District of Columbia have applied for and received flexibility regarding certain provisions of ESEA. The intent of these materials—a brochure and five companion fact sheets—is to explain the rationale and intent of ESEA flexibility, as well as address its key components and highlight plan elements for a number of states approved for flexibility. All of the documents can be easily printed and produced as front-to-back copies; the fact sheets are two-pagers, and the brochure is a tri-fold.

The brochure and fact sheets can be found on the Department’s updated ESEA flexibility web page.

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Explore the Science Behind Sunsets and Meet the Author at National Conference

Next Time You See a Sunset, NSTA’s new book intended for students in grades K–6 and their parents and teachers, invites all readers to take in a daily phenomenon with fresh eyes. Flush with beautiful, glossy photographs in a large format, this book from the Next Time You See series will surely be inspirational as children learn to appreciate the spinning of the Earth, the progress of day moving into night, and the reasons for the spectacular colors and shadows that accompany sunrise and sunset.

Meet Emily Morgan, author of the Next Time You See series at our National Conference in San Antonio, April 11–14. Emily will demonstrate some before and after reading activities that can inspire a sense of wonder in your students. An NSTA Press session you don’t want to miss.

Member Price: $7.96 | Nonmember Price: $9.95

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Find Your "A" Game at NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education, San Antonio, Texas

We’ve got the resources, experts and leaders, the national exhibitors, and thousands of science educators who will come together to share their knowledge and passion for teaching science. Nearly 2,000 sessions offer K–16 educators a wide range of workshops and presentations for every discipline and for teachers and administrators at every stage in their careers. April 11–14 are the core conference days, and a preconference program of in depth institutes is scheduled for Wednesday, Aprril 10. Check out our browser/scheduler for a complete listing. The early bird deadline is February 22, so register now to save the most.

Sample a few sessions:

  • Rise and Shine: A Practical Guide for the Beginning Science Teacher—Strategies to help new teachers be successful from the very first day: Linda Froschauer; Mary L. Bigelow
  • Icons and Innovation in Paleontology—Louis L. Jacobs (Professor of Earth Sciences, and President, Institute for the Study of Earth and Man, Southern Methodist University
  • Inquiry in the Urban Classroom: Connecting Curiosity and Creativity—Bobby Jeanpierre (Associate Professor of Science Education, College of Education, University of Central Florida)
  • Research in Practice—Judy St. Leger (Director of Pathology and Research, SeaWorld
  • Texas Biomedical Research Institute Tour (ticketed)—Tour the Southwest National Primate Research Center to view some of the animals involved with Texas Biomed’s research
  • Flight of the Monarch Butterflies—Half-day symposium with follow-up sessions to view the latest 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.
  • An Engineering Strategy for Young Children: Invention—Inquiry-based STEM activities for young learners
  • English Language Arts Common Core Standards and Science Literacy (Elem)
  • STEM Lesson Essentials—Four strands of STEM mesh together into cohesive learning experiences (Elem–Middle)
  • The Multilevel Classroom: Differentiation Strategies for Science (Elem–High)
  • Bridge Data Activity: Sea Level Trends (Middle–College)
  • Vocabulary Magic—Making Words Real: Powerful Strategies That Can Accelerate the Acquisition of Science Vocabulary (Elem–High)
  • Modeling Biology: Energy in an Ecosystem (High)
  • DuPont Presents "Driving Science"—Connect science content involving laws of motion to motorsports (High)
  • Slingshot Physics: Authentic Application of Work, Energy, Friction, and Newton's First Law of Motion (High)

Visit www.nsta.org/sanantonio for details and to register.

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New Report Assesses Afterschool STEM Programs

The Afterschool Alliance has released its report on STEM outcomes for youth in afterschool programs. The report concludes a 10-month study that asked experienced afterschool providers and supporters to identify appropriate and feasible outcomes. There was a clear consensus that afterschool programs help youth to:

  • Develop an interest in STEM and STEM learning activities
  • Develop capacities to productively engage in STEM learning activities
  • Come to value the goals of STEM and STEM learning activities

There was also shared agreement that afterschool STEM programs are best positioned to impact indicators of learning in the following rank order:

  1. Active participation in STEM learning opportunities
  2. Curiosity about STEM topics, concepts, or practices
  3. Ability to productively engage in STEM processes of investigation
  4. Awareness of STEM professions
  5. Ability to exercise STEM-relevant life and career skills
  6. Understanding the value of STEM in society

To read or download the entire report (PDF), click here.

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NSTA National Conference-San Antonio

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