NSTA's Science Matters Newsletter

January 2015

Here are your science education resources and announcements for January 2015 provided by the Science Matters Network. Please forward them on to other science educators in your school and/or school district.

Table of Contents

STEM School Study

Outlier Research & Evaluation at the University of Chicago was awarded a $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the landscape of inclusive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) high schools across the United States. The final study findings were recently released. Questions addressed are What define a STEM School? What do STEM Schools do?, How do STEM schools work?, and Where is the STEM in S.T.E.M.?. The website has an interactive grid of the common components of the STEM schools studied. Explore the report »

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More Students Earning STEM Degrees

Driven by a growth in the "hard sciences"—such as computer science, engineering, and physical and biological sciences—the prevalence of STEM degrees increased between 2004 and 2014 at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral levels, according to a report from the National Student Clearinghouse. At the same time, the proportion of students majoring in social sciences and psychology held steady or decreased in all categories. "This data demonstrates the importance of tracking science and engineering degree attainment at different levels and within specific fields of study," Doug Shapiro, executive research director of the clearinghouse's research center, said in a statement. "Both men and women are increasingly choosing STEM degrees, particularly in the hard sciences. But in terms of the shares of degrees earned within individual disciplines, women are gaining ground in some STEM areas, while losing ground in others." Read the U.S. News & World Report article »

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Teacher Education, Professional Development, and Grant and Award Opportunities

What Research Says About Effective Instruction

A new release from the National Academies Press, Reaching Students: What Research Says About Effective Instruction in Undergraduate Science and Engineering (2015) looks at evidence from research about how students learn science and engineering shows that teaching strategies that motivate and engage students will improve their learning. Learn more »

National WWII Museum Summer PD Opportunity

The National WWII Museum is excited to announce a weeklong professional development opportunity to take place in the summer of 2015 for middle school (grades 5–8) science teachers. Twenty-eight teachers from across the country will come to New Orleans to experience hands-on how necessity, knowledge, perseverance, and skill lead to inventions, innovation, and careers in STEM just as in World War II. This seminar is supported by a grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation. Teachers will receive free room and board in New Orleans, a travel stipend, and all seminar materials free of charge. Please visit the National WWII Museum website for more information and to sign up for e-mail updates.

Teacher Program Hopes to Pump Cybersecurity Careers in STEM Classes

CompTIA is teaming up with an online STEM career guidance service to promote jobs in cybersecurity to middle and high school students. The IT industry association is working with LifeJourney to develop "Cyber Teacher," an online professional development and certificate program to help teachers in grades 6-12 add cybersecurity lessons to their curriculum. The expectation is that exposure to the topic will prompt more students to consider the field as a career choice. Eventually, the two organizations anticipate being able to provide lesson plans, resource materials, mentoring and industry data on cybersecurity for integration into STEM and career classes. Learn more »

School Administrators and Science Leaders—This One is for You! NSTA's District Team Conference Package

When a team of 4–8 (including one administrator) from a district registers for the NSTA National Conference in Chicago, NSTA will work one-on-one with you to tailor the conference learning experience for you and your teachers—at no additional cost beyond the price of conference registration.  Interested? Check out NSTA's District Conference Package, open to the first 100 schools that register and read what District Administration says about the NSTA national conference. Learn more the great speakers slated for the administrators workshop, including Leland Melvin, Eric Brunsell, and Barry Fishman.

Live Online Webinar Series from the Wildlife Conservation Society

The Wildlife Conservation Society's award-winning OnlineTeacher Academy allows busy educators across the nation to earn professional development credit hours. Interact live with WCS scientists and educators—all from the comfort of your own home! As a participant, you will learn about WCS field research and conservation work as you listen to conservation stories from WCS field scientists. Walk away with valuable resources – including classroom lesson ideas for implementation. The new series begins NOW with Mannahatta2409.org: A Teaching Tool for Investigating Nature in Cities on February 3 at 7 p.m. EST. More webinars will be available throughout the year. For more information and to register visit the WCS website or call 718-220-5136.

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Teacher Resources

New NSTA Newsletter: Science and the STEM Classroom

This month, NSTA unveiled Science and the STEM Classroom. This monthly newsletter will include key NSTA classroom resources and ideas from our journals, our blog, and other sources. Three issues will be developed every month, one for elementary, one for middle level, and one for high school, and will include paid and in-house advertising. If you have questions, or have suggestions for content or ideas for future issues, please e-mail Jodi Peterson (jpeterson@nsta.org) or Lauren Jonas (ljonas@nsta.org).

NGSS@NSTA Hub: A New Year, a New Look

The NGSS@NSTA Hub is better than ever with a new look and plenty of new resources and tools tailored for teachers. The Hub is your one-stop source for information, resources, news, professional learning opportunities, and expert advice in understanding and implementing the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

NSTA Press Honored to Be on Science Books & Films Best Books List

Elementary-level books included on the list are:

Middle and high school books honored include:

K–12 titles on the Best of 2014 list are:

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Student Competitions and Grant Opportunities

eCYBERMISSION STEM Competition Volunteer Opportunities

eCYBERMISSION, a free web-based competition for students in grades six through nine, has now opened up registration for Virtual Judges who have a background or interest in STEM. eCYBERMISSION challenges students to explore STEM by proposing a solution to a real problem in their community and awards up to $9,000 in savings bonds, valued at maturity. Virtual Judges have the opportunity to gain a new and fresh perspective on STEM, ideas for the classroom, and help build students’ interest and knowledge of STEM. Registration deadline for Virtual Judges is February 25, 2015.

Call for Video Submissions: 2015 E4U2 Video Competition

Throughout history, engineering has advanced civilization from the way we connect with each other, to the way we heal, to how we get around, and simply have fun. But society still faces major obstacles. The National Academy of Engineering has outlined 14 game-changing opportunities for the 21st century called the Grand Challenges for Engineering. We are looking for individuals or teams to review the 14 Grand Challenges, and then create and submit a 1- to 2-minute video that shows how achieving one or more of the NAE Grand Challenges for Engineering will lead to a more sustainable, healthy, secure, and/or joyous world.

$5,000 prizes are available for the winners in each of the following four categories:

  • Middle School or Younger
  • High School
  • Tertiary Education Students (2-year college through graduate school, part- or full-time)
  • General Public

The Grand Prize of $25,000 will go to the most inspiring 1- to 2-minute video. We hope that you will participate in the contest and also encourage those in your communities to enter as well. The E4U2 Video Contest is open for video submissions from January 5, 2015 to March 2, 2015. Visit www.e4uvideocontest.org to learn more. If you have additional questions, please e-mail E4Uvideocontest@nae.edu.

The DuPont Challenge Elementary Division

The DuPont Challenge has expanded to include grades K–5, with a new classroom competition. Help your students develop a better understanding and passion for STEM by engaging them in a hands-on, team-based exploration into real-world challenges. Learn more about the competition here. The deadline for entries is March 1.

Tulane University Invites High School Students to take 3-credit Courses This Summer

Tulane University is pleased to invite bright current 10th and 11th (in addition to exceptional 9th) grade students to take 3-credit college courses during the summer with professors in the School of Science and Engineering.  The Tulane Science Scholars Program (TSSP) is selective program for high school students who have exceptional talent in the sciences and mathematics. TSSP is a residential program, and students will have the option to live on campus in a dormitory for an additional fee.  This year's summer program includes six courses: Animal Behavior, Electronics, Materials Science and Engineering, Neuroscience, Psychology, and Reptiles and Amphibians. 

More detailed information about these courses and how to apply is available at tssp.tulane.edu. The deadline to apply is March 16, 2015, at noon, and students will be notified of acceptance by April 15, 2015.

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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.

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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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