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In years past, we called this important spring national meeting our annual convention, but with the ongoing expansion to add so many important professional development programs and events, our new name—National Conference on Science Education—is a more accurate description. All the appealing features of previous years’ conventions including the hugely popular Exhibition of Science Teaching Materials remain, plus so much that’s new. In no special order, here are just ten highlights of NSTA’s “world’s largest gathering of science educators,” April 6-9 in Anaheim:
For details on the above, to map out your Anaheim itinerary using the Personal Scheduler, and to register, visit http://www.nsta.org/conferences.
Prominent business groups, led by the Business Roundtable (BRT), have launched an online advocacy campaign (http://www.tap2015.org) that seeks to make improvements to math and science education a national priority and a key component of U.S. competitiveness.
The website is based on the July 2005 report by the business groups titled Tapping America’s Potential (TAP), which calls for doubling the number of U.S. science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates by 2015. The website provides state-specific information on STEM education, links to key reports, news coverage of the issue, and results of extensive public opinion research on competitiveness and innovation. The site also features links where parents, businesses, policymakers, educators, and others with interest in these areas can join the TAP campaign.
As reported in previous NSTA Express issues following the release of the TAP report in July 2005, the National Academies report Rising Above the Gathering Storm was released, and President Bush announced his American Competitiveness Initiative. Several pieces of legislation based on these reports have been introduced in Congress. According to the BRT, “the TAP website is designed to add to this building momentum.”
Earlier today Horizon Research Inc. released a key report on math and science teacher professional development. Horizon’s 10-year study examined 88 math and science projects under the National Science Foundain (NSF)-funded Local Systemic Change Initiatives through Teacher Enhancement (LSC). The study found that approximately 30 hours of professional development had an impact on teachers and their teaching. As a result of the professional development, the overall quality of the lessons improved; teachers used more investigative practices, high quality questioning, and helped students better understand the content in lessons; the amount of time spent on science instruction in the elementary level increased; and teachers were more likely to use designated instructional materials.
The study has major implications for future teacher training and can provide districts with the components of effective professional development, program design and implementation of training programs, and more. To read more about the study visit http://www.pdmathsci.net.
Every year many good science trade books are published for children. But teachers and parents want to know which are the very best. NSTA and the Children’s Book Council (CBC) answer that question with this year’s list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12. NSTA and CBC have refined the criteria for the highest quality, most engaging, and scientifically accurate publications for children. This year’s list contains a variety of books, including informational texts and biographies, fiction, poetry, and even a book of songs. The full list appears in the March editions of Science & Children, Science Scope, and The Science Teacher. You can also view the 2006 list, and see those from previous years, by going to http://www.nsta.org/ostbs06.
According to an article
in the February 18 edition Wall Street Journal, as science fairs
become increasingly competitive, some students are turning to politically
charged subjects to draw more attention to their projects. Students are
designing experiments that relate to global warming, evolution, stem-cell
research, avian flu, anthrax, and genetically modified food. With scholarships
and national acclaim riding on a winning title at some of the largest
science fairs, high-achieving students sometimes dedicate whole summers
to researching their topics. To read the article, visit
The March issues of the NSTA journals are now available online. Science and Children (grades PreK – 6) explores health, nutrition, and the human body; Science Scope (grades 6 – 9) features genetics; and The Science Teacher (grades 9 – 12) focuses on science for all. The Journal of College Science Teaching also features a full line-up of timely articles.
Members can access all articles online using their member number; nonmembers can read one free article from each journal every month. To view the complete table of contents for each journal, visit http://www.nsta.org/nstaexpress/nstaexpress_2006_03_06_journals.htm.
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