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Week of June 3, 2013

Table of Contents


Britannica Digital Learning

NASA Launches Exploration Design Challenge

NASA’s Exploration Design Challenge provides students in kindergarten through twelfth grade an opportunity to play a unique role in the future of human spaceflight. NASA and Lockheed Martin are developing the Orion spacecraft to carry astronauts beyond low-Earth orbit and on to an asteroid or Mars. Protecting astronauts from space radiation on these distant travels is an important—and very real—problem that needs solving. NASA is looking for students to help!

Using free, standards-based activities along with print and video resources developed by leading education experts, students will learn about space radiation and human spaceflight. Students will then think and act like scientists to analyze different materials that simulate radiation shielding and make recommendations for what best blocks harmful radiation.

Students in grades 9–12 can take the challenge a step further and think and act like engineers to design shielding. Students will follow the engineering design process and work in teams to design radiation shielding to protect a sensor on the Orion crew module from space radiation. Once designs are complete, teams may compete for the chance to build their design and have it flown on the Orion Exploration Flight Test-1.

All students and educators participating in the challenge will have their name flown on Exploration Flight Test-1 as members of the virtual crew. This unmanned mission is set to launch from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in late 2014. The deadline to register for the virtual crew is March 14, 2014.

The challenge officially launched on March 11, 2013, and thousands of students around the globe have registered to take part. Help NASA protect our astronauts as they venture to places never before attempted by human beings. Chart your journey to deep space by joining NASA’s Exploration Design Challenge at www.nasa.gov/education/edc.

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Getting Ready for Next Generation Science Standards

Two outstanding articles—one from Education Week on how teachers nationwide are already incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) into their science teaching, and another from District Administration—which belongs on every principal's/supervisor's desk—present a clear and comprehensive overview of NGSS and how the new national standards promise to revolutionize the content area.

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The STEM Workforce: Top-Paying Majors and the Impact of Foreign-Born STEM Workers

Students in today's K–12 science and technology classrooms heading for engineering careers are also headed for some high salaries says the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE). Engineering majors claimed seven spots on the list of top 10 paying majors for 2012–13 bachelor’s degree graduates, according to an April 2013 Salary Survey conducted by NACE.

Top 10 paying college majors

A recent Forbes article “How Foreign-Born Graduates Impact the STEM Workforce Shortage Debate” points out that “[m]ore than 40 percent of the 25,000 STEM Ph.D.’s awarded in 2011 went to nonresident students, according to an EMSI analysis of data from the National Center for Education Statistics. And only an estimated 30 percent of all foreign students end up staying on temporary work visas. (For engineering Ph.D. grads, the National Science Foundation estimates 60 percent stay.)"

Proportion of foreign-born STEM grads

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NGSS@NSTA: Final Two Web Seminars on Crosscutting Concepts Held June 6 and 11

NSTA’s series of web seminars on NGSS crosscutting concepts winds down with two remaining programs this week and next. Both seminars will be held from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. ET and are great professional development opportunities for anyone wanting a deeper understanding of these important concepts. 

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Online Courses from the American Museum of Natural History

Are you interested in learning about evolution? Do you want to know more about Earth or the solar system? Are you looking for graduate or professional development credit? If so, check out the Seminars on Science program from the American Museum of Natural History. Online courses run from July 1 to August 11 and include Earth: Inside and Out; Climate Change; The Solar System; Evolution; Genetics, Genomics, Genethics; and more.

Each course is available for graduate credit and is co-taught by an experienced educator and a scientist. For more information, or to register, visit www.amnh.org/learn or contact us directly.

Registration deadline: June 17
Registration: www.amnh.org/learn/Register
Phone: 800-649-6715
E-mail: seminfo@amnh.org

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Professional development courses in your future?
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Take a look at these groups offering courses for science educators!
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