NSTA's Science Matters Newsletter August 2010

Here are your science education resources and announcements for August provided by the Science Matters Network. Please forward them on to other science educators in your school and/or school district.

Table of Contents

NSTA Unveils Strategic Goals 2010

Earlier this week, the National Science Teachers Association unveiled its Strategic Goals 2010 document online. NSTA Strategic Goals 2010 is a comprehensive plan to help guide the association's efforts for the next five years. A yearlong, multiphase project developed to reflect the changes in science education, Strategic Goals 2010 is the successor to Strategy 2005.

On Tuesday, October 12, at 6:30 p.m. ET, members of the Strategic Goals 2010 Task Force will lead a special interactive web seminar about the document and the future direction of the association. NSTA members and those with a vested interest in NSTA are encouraged to participate.

In this web seminar, members of the task force will explain the background, purpose, and development process of the new 2010 strategic goals. Discussion of each of the four goals will describe how each addresses current issues in science education and how NSTA's current and future initiatives will achieve these goals. There will also be a question and answer session in which members of the task force will answer any questions that you may have about the document.

To submit questions to be answered during the question and answer portion of the web seminar, send an e-mail to strategicgoals2010@nsta.org. Please include your name, where you are from, and your question in the body of the e-mail. For more information about the web seminar or to register for the event, visit the NSTA Learning Center.

(back to top)

Study Finds Focus on Results Can Make Children Do Worse

A new study, “Learning, Performance and Improvement,” released last week by the Institute of Education, found that children do better on their exams when their teachers focus on knowledge and competence rather than on test results.

In a review of more than 100 studies from the U.S. and across the globe, Chris Watkins, Institute reader in education at the University of London, suggests two parallel motivations drive student achievement: "learning orientation," the drive to improve your knowledge and competency; and "performance orientation," the drive to prove that competency to others. Watkins found the highest-achieving students had a healthy dose of both types of motivation, but students who focused too heavily on performance ironically performed less well academically, thought less critically, and had a harder time overcoming failure. To read more about the findings from the study, visit the Institute of Education website.

(back to top)

Survey Reveals Slow Progress in Education Technology

U.S. schools’ average overall scores on an annual survey designed to measure their progress toward implementing 21st-century classrooms and learning skills increased less than 1 percent from 2009, even though schools did improve on four out of five measures of progress.

The Vision K–20 survey, released last month by Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), was developed to help educators and administrators track their institutional progress in five areas, called measures of progress, and compare it with the national average. These five measures are 21st-century learning tools, anytime/anywhere access to technology, differentiated learning, assessment tools, and enterprise support. The collective results give a picture of the nation’s progress in education technology as a whole.

(back to top)

National Fossil Day

The National Park Service and the American Geological Institute are partnering to host the first National Fossil Day on October 13, 2010, during Earth Science Week. National Fossil Day is a celebration organized to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational value. On October 13, paleontologists and park rangers will share fossil discoveries at special events nationwide and explain the importance of preserving fossils where they are found, so that everyone can share a sense of discovery! For a list of upcoming events or to learn more about National Fossil Day, visit the National Park Service website.

(back to top)

Siemens Foundation, Discovery Education Conclude Two Elite Professional Development Programs Empowering Educations Nationwide to Improve STEM Achievement

This summer, select educators were given the unique opportunity to further develop their teaching skills through two professional development programs sponsored by the Siemens Foundation, in conjunction with Discovery Education, College Board and Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). Components of the Siemens STEM Academy, these programs, Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) and Siemens STEM Institute provided educators tools and best practices needed to foster student achievement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The Siemens Teachers as Researchers (STARs) program, a two-week program administered by ORAU, at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tenn., gave twenty middle and high school teachers the opportunity to work with top scientists on projects related to energy efficiency and renewable resources.

The Siemens STEM Institute, a weeklong professional development experience at Discovery Education’s global headquarters, gave fifty teachers the opportunity to meet with government officials, leading scientists and respected educational leaders. Teachers also formed groups and used digital tools to work on STEM-related research projects on topics such as biodiversity and energy. Participants will continue work on their project throughout the school year and present their projects next spring via a live webinar.

For more information, visit www.siemensstemacademy.com.

(back to top)

NBC's "Education Nation" Series

NBC News will launch its first annual “Education Nation” the week of September 27, 2010. This nationally broadcast conversation about improving education in America will begin with an interactive two-day summit on Rockefeller Plaza in New York City. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Delaware Governor Jack Markell, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Harlem Children Zone’s CEO Geoffrey Canada, President of MIT Susan Hockfield, National Superintendent of the Year Elizabeth Morgan, Civil Rights Activist Al Sharpton, and President of University of Phoenix Bill Pepicello, Ph.D., will join other leaders in education to open a national dialogue and address the gap between how we perceive education and the actual results we are producing today. For more information, visit the Education Nation website.

(back to top)

Teacher Resources

New Resource Available from Understanding Science

Last month, Understanding Science released a new resource on their website entitled "The philosophy of science." This resource briefly introduces the philosophy of science and some influential people and ideas from the field. Visit the Understanding Science website to access this and many other resource for teaching and learning about how science works.

2010 Earth Science Week Toolkits Now Available

The Earth Science Week 2010 Toolkit offers students, educators, and the public a wealth of educational materials focusing on the theme of Earth Science Week 2010 (October 10–16): "Exploring Energy." The latest edition of this educational resource is now available through the American Geological Institute (AGI).

This year's Earth Science Week Toolkit contains a theme-related 12-month activity calendar and classroom poster provided by AGI. Along with these traditional Earth Science Week publications, the Toolkit features a variety of educational resources on all forms of energy from AGI member societies, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Academies, ExxonMobil, and many other organizations.

Earth Science Week is an annual event held the second week of October to promote understanding and appreciation of the earth sciences. It is organized by AGI with support from a number of other geoscience organizations including the USGS, the AAPG Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, the National Park Service, Exxon Mobil, and ESRI.

To learn more about this educational resource or to order the 2010 Toolkit, visit the Earth Science Week website.

(back to top)

Teacher Education, Professional Development, and Grant and Award Opportunities

Monthly Web Seminars Show K–5 Teachers How to Integrate Science and Literacy Instruction

Science and literacy instruction in the elementary grades is the focus of a new series of web seminars just announced for the 2010-2011 school year. The series is sponsored by Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears, an NSF-funded project that provides professional development and instructional resources to elementary teachers.

The series is free, and no registration is required. Seminars are held from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. ET on one Thursday a month during the school year. Teachers are invited to log on to learn from the knowledgeable seminar presenters and share their ideas with other teachers from across the country!

Information about all of the presentations and the recordings of all past seminars are available online.

NOAA Environmental Literacy Grants for Formal K–12 Education

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Office of Education has issued a request for applications for formal K–12 education projects that advance inquiry-based Earth system science learning and stewardship directly related to the school curriculum, with a particular emphasis on increasing climate literacy. Grants will be awarded to service-learning and professional-development projects related to NOAA's mission in the areas of ocean, coastal, Great Lakes, weather and climate sciences, and stewardship. Please note that projects related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill are encouraged. Pre-proposals (which are required) are due by 5:00 p.m. EDT September 8, 2010. For more information, visit the NOAA website.

(back to top)

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.

(back to top)

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!

(back to top)

Sign Up / Opt Out | Feedback | View in Browser | Archive | NSTA Website | Member Benefits
Conferences | Member Journals | Science Store | Learning Center | Career Center

Copyright © 2010 National Science Teachers Association
May be forwarded or reproduced for educational purposes but must include the copyright notice above and the link to NSTA.

This e-newsletter is brought to you by the
National Science Teachers Association
1840 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201-3000
Phone: 703-243-7100

If you do not want to receive Science Matters by e-mail, please follow this link:

Sciemce Matters archive: www.nsta.org/publications/archive-sciencematters.aspx