NSTA's Science Matters Newsletter October 2009

Here are your science education resources and announcements for October 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

Science Matters in Minneapolis!

Bring science to life for your students and children on Saturday, October 31, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The National Science Teachers Association and Twin Cities Public Television are hosting a FREE community science event, sponsored by 3M and the ExxonMobil Foundation, for elementary teachers and parents. At the Science Matters Community Event, held in conjunction with the NSTA Minneapolis Area Conference on Science Education, participants will engage in exciting hands-on activities, live animal presentations, and demonstrations on how to make perfume and produce electricity using model wind turbines. And attendees will learn about NSTA's newest initiative, Science Matters, a major public awareness and engagement campaign designed to rekindle a national sense of urgency and action among schools and families about the importance of science education and science literacy. FREE Science Matters tote bags filled with cool giveaways will be distributed to the first 150 people who attend. Visit www.nsta.org/sciencematters for more information or to learn how to register to attend the Science Matters Community Event.

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National Directory of STEM Learning Opportunities Now Available

Are you looking for an opportunity to promote and expand an after-school science or technology program?

NSTA partner The Coalition for Science After School has teamed up with Time Warner Cable to create a national directory of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning opportunities. This resource is designed to help parents and young people access science and technology learning opportunities in their communities and will be widely marketed to increase the visibility of STEM after school and informal learning opportunities. Visit the Coalition website to learn more about the directory and to enter information about your organization and its programs and events (where applicable). There is no cost to join or access the national directory. Questions about the directory, the Coalition, or informal STEM education should be directed to info@directory.scienceafterschool.org.

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Curious George Helps Bring Earth Science to Kids

Leverage Curious George's appeal to bring earth science learning to young kids. PBS has created easy-to-use resources for educators that are free and online. The resources outline how to set up and run hands-on “Curiosity Centers” where children can make their own discoveries about sand, water, soil, wind, and recycling. How-to includes simple materials lists, learning goals, leader notes, and tips for success. Over 80 three-minute video clips showing kids exploring science are also available.

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

The Science House: Countertop Chemistry

Teachers, parents and kids can go to The Science House: Countertop Chemistry to find instructions for experiments that don’t require fancy equipment. Grouped in six broad categories—Properties of Matter; Properties of Gases; Micro-Chemistry Reactions; Properties of Solutions, Suspensions, and Colloids; Acids, Bases, and Indicators; and Games—these activities for K–12 students include "Dancing Spaghetti," "Formulas Poker," and "Oobleck."

The Science House is a science and mathematics learning outreach program of the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at North Carolina State University. The mission of The Science House is to work in partnership with K–12 teachers to emphasize the use of hands-on learning activities in mathematics and science classes. The Science House provides a variety of in-service training and enrichment activities that reach teachers and students across North Carolina.

Free Science Education Resources Provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse

Looking for free resources and ideas on how to integrate the science behind drug abuse into your classroom activities? Check out the NIDA for Teens website, a component of the NIDA Goes Back to School campaign, provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

NIDA, part of the National Institutes of Health, created this website to keep youth, parents, and educators informed all year long. Teachers can enhance classroom activities with teacher guides, quizzes, videos, and games.

Students can read the Sara Bellum Blog to learn about the effects of drugs on the brain and body, then join the discussion and be among the first to interact with a team of NIDA scientists, science writers, and public health analysts with their questions and comments. We connect your students with the latest scientific research and news, so that they can be empowered to make healthy and smart decisions.

Please visit the NIDA for Teens website at www.teens.drugabuse.gov to learn about the many ways you can bring NIDA science-based information into your classroom!


Mark your calendars! STEMapalooza is a two-day event that is FREE and open to the public, October 16 and 17, 2009, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Colorado Convention Center featuring more than 100 exhibitors from around the state of Colorado that support Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math programs for students and educators and employ thousands of jobs in STEM-related careers. Students of all ages will engage in hands-on, minds-on activities, such as Fast-Track Racing, Robotics, Gaming, Film Production, Staging, Rocketry, and much, much more. For more information, visit the STEMpalooza 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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