NSTA's Science Matters Newsletter November 2009

Here are your science education resources and announcements for November 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 Phoenix!

Bring science to life for your students and children on Saturday, December 5, from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Phoenix Convention Center. The National Science Teachers Association and ASSET/Eight Arizona Public Television are hosting a FREE community science event, featuring special guest Bill Nye, for elementary teachers, parents, school officials and community members. At the Science Matters Community Event—held in conjunction with the NSTA Phoenix Area Conference on Science Education, and sponsored by the ExxonMobil Foundation, WGBH Boston, and PBS—participants will engage in exciting hands-on activities, such as building a watershed model and learning principles behind water flowing through watersheds, presented by a variety of science and education organizations. Attendees will also 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 science novelty items and other cool giveaways* will be distributed to the first 150 people who attend. Visit www.nsta.org/sciencematters for more information about the Science Matters Community Event.

*One Science Matters bag per person. You must be at least 18 years old to receive a bag. Bags are for participants only.

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Learning in the 21st Century: Parents' Perspectives, Parents' Priorities

Parents are important, but often overlooked, stakeholders in education. “Learning in the 21st Century: Parents’ Perspectives, Parents’ Priorities” explores the views of parents on the role of technology in education and how well they believe that schools are doing to prepare children for the jobs and careers of the future. Based upon the voices of over 21,000 parents collected through the Speak Up 2008 National Research Project, this report investigates both the angst and the aspirations of parents on key education issues.

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Intel Survey Reveals Majority of Parents of Teens Find it Difficult to Help their Kids with Math and Science

A recent Intel Corporation survey found that parents feel more equipped to talk about drug abuse than math and science with their children. The survey found that although more than 50 percent of parents rank math or science as the subjects most critical to their children's future success, they report discomfort talking to their children about these subjects. In fact, nearly a quarter of parents who admit to being less involved in their child's math and science education than they would like say that a key barrier is their own lack of understanding of these subjects. Visit the Intel website to read other key findings from the study.

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The National Wildlife Federation Launches Eco-Schools USA Program

Recently, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) launched Eco-Schools USA, a new U.S. component of the internationally acclaimed program that provides a framework to help educators integrate sustainable principles throughout their schools and curriculum. Eco-Schools USA strives to make environmental awareness and action an intrinsic part of the life and culture of a school, including students, teachers, administrative staff, non-teaching staff and parents, as well as the local community. Eco-Schools USA works to extend learning beyond the classroom and develop responsible environmental attitudes and commitments, both at home and in the wider community. Whether you are a teacher, student, administrator or facilities manager, the Eco-Schools USA program can benefit your school and local communities. To learn more about the program or how you can get involved, visit the National Wildlife Foundation website.

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Citizen Climate

The Will Steger Foundation developed Citizen Climate, a new high school curriculum tied to national standards that focuses on global climate solutions. This curriculum emphasizes civic engagement and helps teachers and students understand the critical and complex climate solutions being discussed on the national and international stage. It also allows students to formulate statements about what they would like to see happen in climate policy and how these policies and actions can be replicated in their states and local communities. For more information, visit the Will Steger Foundation website.

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

Pearson Announces New "Continuity of Learning" Website

Pearson, a global leader in education services, technology and school solutions recently launched its www.PearsonContinuity.com website, offering print and online resources for students, parents, and teachers to continue education if attending school is not an option due to the H1N1 virus or other crisis. Pearson's School Solutions president Scott Drossos said, "We've created the website as a central repository where parents, students, and teachers can have access to our dedicated Pearson solutions and tools, and be able to easily link to numerous other resources." He added, "Pearson products and services are in almost every US school, and we have created additional offerings for everyone to assist them during this time of crisis." For more information on Pearson's Continuity of Learning offerings, go to www.PearsonContinuity.com.

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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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