NSTA's Science Matters Newsletter May 2009

Table of Contents

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. Read more in this newsletter why quality learning experiences in the sciences—starting at an early age—are critical to science literacy and our future workforce. And 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 at sciencematters.nsta.org.

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Talking to Children About Science

Did you know that parents can make a huge difference in how their child views science? Learn more in this short article that you can share with parents (or publish in your school newsletter).

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Science Class

Science Class is a monthly e-newsletter keyed to the themes in NSTA's K–12 journals. The theme for all three editions for May 2009 is Informal Science Education.

  • High School Edition—Spring is in the air! With the warm weather and bright sunshine, there’s no better time to get outside the classroom. This month’s issue provides you with ideas and tips to help students learn in settings beyond the classroom—programs and experiences developed by museums, parks, zoos, and other community-based organizations.
  • Middle Level Edition—As the school year winds down, many families will be finalizing their summer travel plans. Now is the perfect time to encourage them to take advantage of informal science opportunities during their travels. Ask students to share their vacation plans and point out the science museums, national parks, and public gardens or arboretums along their route.
  • Elementary Edition—With summer just around the corner and the prospect of relaxation ahead, this month's issue explores the world of Informal Science Education.

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Take Your Kid to the Museum! New Study Shows Importance of Informal Learning Experiences

Learning Science in Informal Environments coverInformal science activities are defined as out-of-school activities—such as a trip to the museum, the zoo, or a science center, or just watching a great show on the Discovery Channel—that spark curiosity and engage kids’ interest in the sciences.

A new study by a respected group of science researchers finds informal science experiences do support student learning in the sciences, and effectively reach the complete spectrum of learners: gifted, challenged, nontraditional, and second language learners.

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