NSTA's Science Matters Newsletter

March/April 2013

Here are your science education resources and announcements for March and April 2013 provided by the Science Matters Network. Please forward them on to other science educators in your school and/or school district.

Table of Contents

Next Generation Science Standards Released

On April 9, the final version of the Next Generation Science Standards were released by Achieve. The standards are now available at www.nextgenscience.org.

The new standards establish learning expectations in science for K–12 students combining three important dimensions—science and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts. NGSS provides a cohesive approach to science instruction that will significantly change the way science is taught and learned.

Twenty-six states led the development of NGSS in a process managed by Achieve. The 41-member writing team included many classroom teachers. The standards are based on the Framework for K–12 Science Education from the National Research Council (NRC). Achieve also partnered with NSTA, NRC, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science in the standards’ development.

NSTA has a number of key resources and supporting materials to help teachers understand and navigate the Next Generation Science Standards. Your search for NGSS resources starts at www.nsta.org/ngss. See below.

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ExploraVision team at White House science fairPresident Obama Hosts White House Science Fair

On April 22, President Obama hosted the White House Science Fair and welcomed over 100 student winners from a broad range of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) competitions from across the country to the White House. The President also announced new steps as part of his Educate to Innovate campaign, an all-hands-on-deck effort to get more girls and boys inspired to excel in these key subjects.

Student teams from NSTA's student competitions—Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision, the U.S. Army's eCYBERMISSION and the DuPont Science Essay Competition—were honored to join President Obama for this prestigious event. Learn more.

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Washington Teacher (and NSTA Member) Named 2013 National Teacher of the Year

Congratulations to Jeff Charbonneau, 9-12th grade chemistry, physics, and engineering teacher at Zillah High School in Zillah, Washington, for being named the 2013 National Teacher of the Year. President Obama and Secretary Duncan honored Charbonneau and the State Teachers of the Year at the White House on April 23 with a ceremony in the Rose Garden.  In his remarks, the President thanked teachers for their commitment to America’s young people and emphasized, “Teaching is a profession, and it should be treated like one.  That means we’re going to have to recruit, prepare, and reward our next generation of great educators.  Secretary Duncan has been working with folks on a new blueprint for teaching in the 21st century, listening to some of these outstanding teachers and principals so that we can figure out what best practices are out there.” The National Teacher of the Year is chosen from among the State Teachers of the Year by a committee of 15 national education organizations, organized by the Council of Chief State School Officers.

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Creating and Mobilizing STEM Mentors

Last week following the White House Science Fair, President Obama announced a new partnership between Silicon Valley technology company SanDisk and Citizen Schools to create and mobilize 1 million STEM mentors annually by the year 2020, “creating millions of moments of discovery – those eureka moments when children launching rockets, building robots, or looking through microscopes open their mouths and eyes wide and open the door to a brighter future.”  Read more.

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NSTA Announcements

Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision, World’s Largest Student Science/Technology Competition, Announces 2013 Regional Winners

The 21st annual Toshiba/National Science Teachers Association ExploraVision Program has announced it 24 Regional Winners for 2013. Underwritten by Toshiba and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision is the world’s largest K–12 science and technology competition, challenging students to work in teams and design innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. Since its inception, more than 315,000 students have participated in ExploraVision, which this year saw an increase of more than 8 percent in the number of student participants—5,206 team projects representing the participation of 15,963 students from across the US and Canada.

This year’s program incorporates key changes that align it even more closely with the National Research Council’s (NRC) Framework for K–12 Science Education, which serves as the basis for the development of the highly-anticipated Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Read more,

Shell Science Lab Challenge Announces 2013 Grand Prize Winner and National Finalists

Shell Oil Company and the National Science Teachers Association have announced the grand prize winner and four national finalists in the third annual Shell Science Lab Challenge. The competition encouraged teachers (grades 6–12) in the U.S. and Canada, who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources, to share their approaches for a chance to win a school science lab makeover valued at $20,000. This year’s grand prize winner is Merrie Rampy from Highland High School in Craigmont, Idaho.

“Inquiry-based learning and hands-on experimentation are key elements for encouraging student interest in science,” said Dr. Frazier Wilson, Vice President, Shell Oil Company Foundation, Manager, Social Investment. “The Shell Science Lab Challenge strives to support inquiry-based instructional practices of our science teachers and excite students about the wonders and possibilities of science through active learning that emphasizes questioning, data analysis, and critical thinking. Exemplary science teaching is more relevant when it occurs in a quality lab environment where science concepts can be explored by students.”
Read more.

2013 NSTA Teacher Awards Announced

The 2013 NSTA Teacher Awards Program honors K–12 teachers, principals, professors and other science education professionals for their outstanding work and achievement in science education. NSTA presented its highest and most prestigious award, the Robert H. Carleton Award, to former NSTA President Dr. John E. Penick, professor emeritus, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina. The Robert H. Carleton Award, sponsored by the Dow Chemical Company, recognizes one individual who has made outstanding contributions to, and provided leadership in, science education at the national level and to NSTA in particular. The awards were presented at a special banquet and ceremony on Friday, April 12th, at NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education in San Antonio. Read more.

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Student Opportunities and Resources

Recognizing Aviation and Aerospace Innovation in Science and Engineering Award

Nominations are open through July 1 for the Secretary of Transportation’s Recognizing Aviation and Aerospace Innovation in Science and Engineering (RAISE) Award, honoring innovative scientific and engineering concepts by high school, college, and graduate students that will have a significant impact on the future of aviation or aerospace. Winners will be formally recognized in the fall.

L’Oreal USA for Girls

In January, 2013 L’Oréal USA launched the L’Oréal USA For Girls In Science website, forgirlsinscience.org, for girls 13–18 years of age. The site is designed to allow girls to explore, discover and achieve in the world of STEM. The company recently launched the Share + Connect page to connect women in various STEM-related fields, create conversations about the different aspects of STEM, and engage with girls interested in blogging for the website. If you or someone you know is interested in blogging, send an e-mail to  forgirlsinscience@gmail.com.

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Teacher Education, Professional Development, and Grant and Award Opportunities

NSTA New Science Teacher Academy Now Accepting Entries for the 2013–2014 Program

NSTA is now accepting entries for the 2013–2014 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy. The yearlong program—intended for science educators entering their second through fifth year of teaching—was established to help reduce the high attrition rate in the science teaching profession by providing professional development and mentoring support to early-career science teachers.

For this academic year, The Dow Chemical Company, the primary sponsor of the program, the American Honda Foundation, and the Bayer USA Foundation will fund the participation of the science teachers selected to participate in the 2013–2014 Academy. Learn more.

NSTA STEM Forum & Expo, May 15–18

STEM Forum and ExpoAt NSTA's second STEM Forum & Expo in May, school administrators, teachers, and business and public sector partners will find speakers, sessions, and resources critical to the teaching and learning of STEM. With both panel discussions and hands-on workshops, educators can count on rigorous discussions and practical tactics for integrating STEM disciplines into school curriculum. Take advantage of this opportunity to build out your knowledge base.

On May 16–17 leading thought leaders in STEM education will host panel discussions on

  • What is a STEM School and What Does it Look Like?
  • Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards
  • State STEM Networks-How Are They Working to Change STEM Education
  • STEM in Urban Science Education and Engaging and Keeping More Girls and Minorities in STEM
  • Public/Private Partnerships, Out of School and Informal Programs that Excite Students about the World of STEM
  • Putting the T and E in Your STEM Program
  • A Whole School Approach to STEM: What You Need to Know
  • Promising STEM Programs

In addition to the panel discussions, teachers and administrators can select from more than 300 hands-on workshops targeted to PreK, elementary, middle level, high school, and leadership partners on a host of STEM-related topics.

Visit www.nsta.org/2013stemforum to view all workshops and panel discussion leaders and to register.

Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers on Biodiversity; Energy: Past, Present & Future; Earth’s History & Global Changes

The Smithsonian invites teachers to take advantage of professional development that takes place behind-the-scenes at the world's largest research complex. Refresh your love for science while learning about the hottest research in the field, all in the company of other passionate educators, curators and researchers.

The programs will be held at the Smithsonian Campus:

Biodiversity: June 23–28
Energy: July 7–12
Earth's History: July 21–26

Learn more at www.scienceteachersacademies.si.edu.

Green Strides Webinar Series from the U.S. Department of Education

The U. S. Department of Education is offering the Green Strides Webinar Series to acquaint school communities with the tools to reduce their schools’ environmental impact and costs; improve health and wellness; and teach effective environmental literacy, including STEM, green careers, and civic engagement. Find more sessions for educators, facilities managers, and advocates weekly.

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Teacher Resources

NGSS@NSTA: Your Source for Next Generation Science Standards Information and Resources

NGSS at NSTANSTA has a number of key resources and supporting materials to help teachers understand and navigate the Next Generation Science Standards. Your search for NGSS resources starts at www.nsta.org/ngss.
Pre-order your copy of the NSTA Reader’s Guide to the Next Generation Science Standards, <run copy of cover>. Written by science education expert Harold Pratt, the publication will give readers a deep understanding of NGSS core ideas, scientific and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts.

Register today for our online course "Moving Toward NGSS: Visualizing K–8 Engineering Education," (May 16–May 30), which will provide practical insights into teaching engineering in the elementary or middle school classroom.

Sign up for one of these free upcoming NSTA web seminars on NGSS exploring crosscutting concepts, including Structure and Function (5/14); Stability and Change (5/28); and Systems and System Models (6/11). (Check out the entire series on NGSS web seminars archived in the NSTA Learning Center.)

Read and download NSTA’s growing collection of monthly journal articles exploring the three dimensions of the NGSS. Articles examine the practices, crosscutting concepts, connections to common core, and more.

Got questions about NGSS? We’ve got answers in this NSTA Frequently Asked Questions About NGSS.

Learn more about the new members-only NSTA listserv dedicated solely to the NGSS.

Public Agenda: Ready, Willing and Able? Kansas City Parents Talk About How to Improve Schools and What They Can Do to Help

This report offers school and district education leaders specific ideas for engaging parents across the spectrum - whether they are comfortable shaping education policy, prefer more traditional activities or need support to improve their involvement at home. While the research, underwritten by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, explores the views of Kansas City parents, it also echoes findings from a previous Public Agenda study national in scope and raises important questions for education leaders nationwide.

Read more.

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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, sponsored by the ExxonMobil Foundation and Shell Oil Company, 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 at www.nsta.org/sciencematters.

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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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