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Week of March 4, 2013

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Shell Science Lab Challenge Names 2013 Regional Winners

Congratulations to the 2013 regional winners recently selected for the third annual Shell Science Lab Challenge. The Challenge’s 18 regional winners—middle and secondary school science teachers (grades 6–12) located in the U.S. and Canada—found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources and then shared their unique instructional approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover support package valued at $20,000. From the 18 regional winners named, five national finalists will be chosen, and from the national finalists a grand prize winner will be selected.

Regional winners and their school will receive science lab equipment provided by the Shell Science Lab Challenge in addition to Shell cash grants, membership to the NSTA, and support to attend an NSTA conference. VWR International, LLC is also supporting the Shell Science Lab Challenge by providing equipment to the winners. For more information about the program visit the competition website.

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Taking Your Class Outside? Tell Us About It!

Spring is arriving, and some educators are venturing outside the classroom with their students. NSTA Reports wants to know how you incorporate field trips into your science curriculum and what factors you have to account for when planning them.

Take our brief survey—thanks in advance!

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Free Online PD Sponsored by the American Chemical Society

If you’re teaching middle school or high school chemistry, log on to a free web seminar and learn about resources and strategies from the American Chemical Society that will invigorate your instruction.

  • March 18: The Water Molecule and Dissolving. This seminar will introduce teachers to the fully-developed 5E guided-inquiry lessons and the multimedia middle school chemistry resource, middleschoolchemistry.com. Presenters will demonstrate activities and molecular animations about the polarity of the water molecule and show how the activities and animations can be used in the classroom.
  • April 1: Solving the Smog Puzzle on Earth and from Space: Good vs. Bad Ozone. Learn how to present difficult chemistry concepts in the context of every-day experiences students can relate to using the story of scientists who discovered that everyday products were harming Earth's atmosphere.

Get details on these web seminars, view the full calendar of upcoming programs, and register in the NSTA Learning Center.

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NGSS @ NSTA

Your search for Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) resources and learning opportunities supporting STEM starts here

NSTA’s March Web Seminars Explore Crosscutting Concepts of Cause and Effect (March 5) and Scale, Proportion, and Quantity (March 19)

Register now for two upcoming web seminars in a series of seven exploring crosscutting concepts described in A Framework for K–12 Science Education. They will be held on March 5 and 19 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

Tina Grotzer from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education will lead the March 5 web seminar focusing on Cause and Effect and Amy Taylor and Kelly Riedinger will head up the event on March 19 addressing the crosscutting concept of Scale, Proportion, and Quantity.

Presenters will help teachers learn more about these important crosscutting concepts, why it’s important to learn about them in school science, what we want students to learn, and what instruction might look like in the classroom.

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 web seminars in the series or just one. To register for these free events, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

Mark your calendar for more web seminars in this series, including

  • Systems and System Models (April 16)
  • Energy and Matter—Flows, Cycles, and Conservation (April 30)
  • Structure and Function (May 14)
  • Stability and Change (May 28)

Online Short Courses Offer Concentrated NGSS Learning and Pedagogy

As NGSS is released, NSTA is providing a series of online short courses to help educators prepare for the implementation of the standards. Each of these courses will involve a series of three web seminars along with asynchronous activities on topics that are essential for successful teaching and learning.

Using Formative Assessment to Link Instruction and Learning, led by renowned author and teacher Page Keeley
(Web seminar sessions on April 18, April 25, and May 2)
Register here
Member Price: $179 | Nonmember Price: $199

Visualizing K–8 Engineering Education, led by Christine Cunningham, founder of the Boston Museum of Science's Engineering is Elementary program
(Web seminar sessions on May 16, 23, and 30)
Register here
Member Price: $179 | Nonmember Price: $199

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Coding Changes Lives

Coding Changes LivesWhat do Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Chris Bosch, will.i.am, and President Bill Clinton all have in common? They think it is crucial for kids to learn computer programming and are stepping up and saying so. Today, a new organization—code.org—has pulled together some of the country’s greatest tech heroes to talk about how learning to code has influenced their lives. Check out the video and use it in your classroom, at home, in community meetings, in conversations with influential people, and anywhere else you can. Visit code.org/teach to see the messages and join the crusade.

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Win a Professional Development Scholarship

Special career-enhancing experiences for second- through fifth-year middle and high school science teachers can be found through the New Science Teachers Academy, a year-long professional development and mentoring program that offers unique support and resources. Hundreds of teachers will be chosen to participate in the 2013–2014 Academy and take advantage of cost-free, consistent online professional development activities along with face-to-face educational experiences. Simply apply and take control of your career.

The Academy provides each teacher with

To find out more details about the Academy and how to apply for a scholarship, visit www.nsta.org/academy. The application deadline is August 1.

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What Does an Animal Eat? Helps Young Learners Explore Animal Adaptation

Every child is curious about animals, and the new NSTA Kids book What Does an Animal Eat? encourages K–3 learners to make observations and comparisons of the mouthparts of animals (teeth and beaks for example) and the relationship of those structures to the types of food the animals eat. Part of the “I Wonder Why” series and illustrated with detailed drawings, the book’s content lays the foundation for a deeper understanding of animal adaptation and the need for human help to protect the food chain.

Member Price: $8.76 | Nonmember Price: $10.95

Come meet the author, Lawrence Lowery, and many of your other favorite authors at our National Conference in San Antonio—April 11–14.

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Senator Franken Keynote Speaker at Minn. Science Teachers Association

Sen. Franken addresses MnSTA

The Minnesota Science Teachers Association welcomed Senator Al Franken (D-MN) as keynote speaker at their annual meeting on February 22 and heard more about the legislation he has introduced in the Senate to create a STEM Master Teacher Corps that would provide additional career opportunities—and additional pay—to STEM teachers.

(Photo credit: Eric Koser, Mankato West High School)

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Science Education Professional Development at Its Best: San Antonio

Plan to include professional development activities this year to enhance your content knowledge, teaching skills, and strategies, and to add zip to your instruction. Consider attending NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education, April 11–14, in San Antonio, Texas. Workshops, seminars, symposia, field trips, and the Exhibit Hall are all in the mix. Unique to our national conferences are Professional Development Institutes (PDI), which offer full-day, in-depth coverage of topics critical to educators.

Take advantage the advance registration deadline, March 15, to save the most.

Featured Presentations:

  • What a Difference a Measurement Makes—Paul A. Stokstad (Founder and President, PASCO)
  • My Wild Life—Mireya Mayor (National Geographic Emerging Explorer)
  • The Bat Flower Plant: New Hope for Treating Cancer? Susan L. Mooberry (Professor of Pharmacology, The University of Texas Health Science Center)
  • When the World Was Warm—Looking Back to the Future—Deborah J. Thomas (Associate Professor, Dept. of Oceanography, Texas A&M University)

Elementary School Highlights:

  • Engineering Design: An Instructional Strategy to Close the Gap?
  • CSI for Small Fry: Classroom Science Investigations That Encourage Science Processes
  • Growing Science Achievement with the Junior Master Gardener Program
  • Making the Most of a Math and Science Night

Middle School Highlights:

  • Engineering for Space
  • Scaffolding and Assessing Students' Engagement with the Science Content Extending from Inside to Outside the Classroom
  • BSCS-I Pathway Session: Using Evidence to Construct a Scientific Explanation
  • Effective Content and Performance Assessment Instruction for Your Science Classroom

High School Highlights:

  • Hit the Ground Running! An Authentic Approach to Units and Measurement
  • Using a Project-based Science Unit to Link Next Generation Science Standards, Common Core Standards, and Student Engagement
  • STEM in My Chemistry Classroom
  • Fitting the Puzzle Pieces Together: Integrating Common Core State Standards in STEM-based Courses

PD Institutes—Fee-based preconference events 4/10/13, eight with follow-on pathway sessions and four single-day work sessions:

Visit www.nsta.org/SanAntonio for details and a full schedule of events.

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U.S. Coast Guard Academy’s AIM Application Now Open

The Academy Introduction Mission (AIM) is a challenging summer program for high school juniors interested in serving their country and exploring technical degree programs. For six action-packed days in July, students will be immersed in Coast Guard tradition and Academy life in the classroom, engineering lab, playing fields, and on the water. Students compete in a water based robotics project as they interact and learn from cadets, faculty and Coast Guard professionals. Applications are now open to high school juniors. Please have your students visit www.uscga.edu/AIM to apply prior to April 15.

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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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