NSTA's Science Matters Newsletter August 2009

Here are your science education resources and announcements for August 2009 provided by the Science Matters Network. Please forward them on to other science educators in your school and/or school district.

Table of Contents


Register Now for Fall Atlas Workshops

Looking for a new perspective on science content standards? Let Project 2061’s Atlas of Science Literacy strand maps show you the “big picture” of how student understanding in key topics might grow from K to 12. “Using Atlas of Science Teaching” workshops will help you enhance your understanding of science literacy and improve curricula, instruction and assessment.

Register now for an upcoming Atlas workshop:

  • September 14–16, 2009: Museum of Life + Science, Durham, NC
  • October 19–21, 2009: AAAS, Washington, DC

For details on scholarships, registration, and more, visit the Project 2061 website.

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2009 Earth Science Week Toolkits Now Available

The American Geological Institute (AGI), in conjunction with Earth Science Week 2009 (October 11–17), released a new toolkit that enables students, educators and the general public to fully explore this year’s theme, “Understanding Climate.” The 2009 Earth Science Week Toolkit features a variety of educational climate resources from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NASA, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The toolkits are available for the cost of shipping and handling ($6.95 in the United States). To order, visit the Earth Science Week website.

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New Resources Available from Understanding Science

Visit Understanding Science to access the following resources and tools available for teaching and learning about how science works.

  • The Science Checklist Applied: Mathematics—Math is frequently associated with science and is certainly relied upon by scientists, but is math science? Find out how math is similar to and distinct from sciences like biology and chemistry in this side trip.
  • The K–2 and the 3–5 teachers' lounges—Use these resources to integrate the nature and process of science into your teaching at grades K–2 and grades 3–5.

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Helpful Tools, Tips, and Projects to Pass on to Parents

Science: It’s a Girl Thing!

Science: It's a Girl Thing! is using the power of social media to connect with parents and educators about how to foster girls' interest in science and technology, and why that is important. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the program offers web-based and easy-to-use resources for conducting science activities at home. It builds on everyday science that parents already know. Just as children are natural scientists, parents are natural teachers.

Science: It's a Girl Thing! includes a series of short, entertaining and educational videos and free downloadable PDF activity cards for parents to use in working with their daughters. To access the free activity cards, visit It's a Girl Thing on Facebook or at www.edequity.org/sigt.

C&NN’s Nature Clubs for Families Tool Kit

Spending time outdoors improves the physical and mental well-being of children and adults alike. This toolkit, developed by Children & Nature Network, was designed for families interested in spending more time outdoors and starting a local Nature Club. It includes a Quick Start Guide with simple instructions on how to start a Nature Club, as well as activity ideas, tips and checklists for getting started. To download the free toolkit, visit the Children & Nature Network website.

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What Is Science Matters?

Science Matters is an initiative by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) to bring content, news, and information that supports quality science education to parents and teachers nationwide.

Science Matters builds on the success of the Building a Presence for Science program, first launched in 1997 as an e-networking initiative to assist teachers of science with professional development opportunities. Building a Presence for Science—now Science Matters—reaches readers in 34 states and the District of Columbia.

Why does Science Matter? Science is critical to understanding the world around us. Most Americans feel that they received a good education and that their children will as well. Unfortunately, not many are aware that international tests show that American students are simply not performing well in science when compared to students in other countries. Many students (and their parents!) believe that science is irrelevant to their lives.

Innovation leads to new products and processes that sustain our economy, and this innovation depends on a solid knowledge base in science, math, and engineering. All jobs of the future will require a basic understanding of math and science. The most recent ten year employment projections by the U.S. Labor Department show that of the 20 fastest growing occupations projected for 2014, 15 of them require significant mathematics or science preparation to successfully compete for a job

This is why Science Matters. Quality learning experiences in the sciences—starting at an early age—are critical to science literacy and our future workforce. Feel free to publish this information in school newsletters and bulletins, and share it with other parents, teachers, and administrators.

Visit the Science Matters website.

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We Want to Hear from You

Do have a story idea or announcement that you think we should consider? Do you have a suggestion for how we can make this newsletter better? Let us know what you think. E-mail us your suggestions and feedback at sciencematters@nsta.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

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