NSTA's Science Matters Newsletter

April 2015

Dear Educator,

We hope you enjoy the April Newsletter of science and STEM education resources and announcements provided by the Science Matters Network. Please forward them on to other science/STEM educators in your school and/or school district. If there are any topics you would like to have us highlight in the next newsletter, please let us know.

Table of Contents

Newsworthy

Non-STEM Fields Increasingly Require STEM Skills

A new report suggests STEM degrees open opportunities outside of traditional scientific pursuits as the global workforce becomes more reliant on technology. (Source: U.S. News & World Report)

Revisiting the STEM Workforce: 2015 National Science Board Report

Revisiting the STEM Workforce, a new report by the National Science Board (NSB), offers insights about long-standing workforce debates and seeks to catalyze constructive policy discussions about this critical and dynamic component of the nation's economy. The NSB is the policymaking body for the National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. Drawing on its biennial Science and Engineering Indicators report, the NSB's latest report highlights the growing need for STEM knowledge and skills in a 21st-century economy.

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Teacher Education, Professional Learning, and Grant and Award Opportunities

UABTeach Program: STEM Teacher Program

The UABTeach program is designed to quickly produce a new teaching force of highly qualified instructors in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects. The only program of its kind in Alabama, UABTeach enables undergraduate STEM majors to receive a subject-matter degree and accreditation to teach at the secondary level in a traditional four-year plan, representing significant tuition savings from the standard state certification model.

New Study about the Importance of Classroom Arrangements

A survey questionnaire was developed to identify the issues that teachers believe are important for improving student performance. Your input is an essential part of this study, and we would appreciate your response and time. After completing the survey, you will have the opportunity to register for a lottery to win an iPad through an additional link. Your responses will be used only for research purposes, and your answers will be completely anonymous and will remain confidential. There are no correct or incorrect answers; we are only interested in your opinions. If you have any questions about the study or this survey, please contact Ece Altinbasak at ealtinb@ncsu.edu.

Evolution 2015: A Workshop for Educators

This workshop is designed for high school teachers, to provide an overview of key evolutionary concepts, mechanisms, and cutting-edge research. Participants will be exposed to hands-on, inquiry-based activities, demonstrations, and discussions using evolution as a unifying theme for the biological sciences. Lessons will be aligned to the NC Essential Standards for Biology, the new AP Biology Frameworks and Next Generation Science Standards.

This year's workshop is organized jointly by the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (NCMNS). Scientists and educators from both NESCent and NCMNS will present topics with an emphasis on current research, practical applications and hands-on, engaging classroom activities that illustrate and enhance concepts. Participants will receive continuing education units (CEUs), a $25/day stipend and a collection of resources and materials for teaching evolution. Travel awards are available for participants from outside of the Triangle (Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill) area.

For more information and to apply, visit the NESCent website. The application deadline is May 11, 2015. Questions? Please contact Dr. Jory Weintraub (jory@nescent.org).

Ground Level Ozone: Advanced Air Quality Workshop

Monday, August 3 and Tuesday August 4, 2015

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the NC Division of Air Quality are partnering on the 2015 Ground Level Ozone workshop. The first day will be held at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The second day will be at Clingmans Dome (weather permitting). Instructors include air quality experts from NC Division of Air Quality and National Park Service.

Each person in the workshop will take home the presentations, activities, lessons, and more. Earn 1.2 CEU's. The workshop is free, lunch will be provided, and camping is available at the Appalachian Highlands Science Learning Center.

The workshop will include

  • Classroom activities to cover the properties of air and air pollution;
  • Learning to detect the effects of ground level ozone in an Ozone Bio-monitoring garden;
  • Studying the effects of acid deposition on snails and salamanders, and,
  • Several activities focused on the study and reduction of air pollution.

To register for the workshop, contact Keith Bamberger at NC Division of Air Quality: keith.bamberger@ncdenr.gov or (828) 296-4500.

Mobile Tech in the Classroom: A Twitter Chat!

The Verizon Foundation is hosting a Twitter chat on teacher training and #mobile #tech in the classroom, May 6 at 8 p.m. ET. Join us and share your thoughts, questions, and expertise. #vzedchat

Digital Compass: A Free Gaming Platform

Common Sense Education has released Digital Compass, a free, interactive gaming platform created to help sixth- through ninth-graders learn digital literacy and citizenship skills.

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Student Opportunities

eCYBERMISSION Advances 60 Regional Finalist Teams to Regional Judging

In the next round of the eCYBERMISSION STEM competition, the regional winners will be determined by a panel of virtual judges who evaluate the top three teams from each region in each grade level. Sixty teams will compete for the honor of moving on to the National Judging and Educational Event (NJ&EE) in June. For the first time ever, all regional finalist teams will receive $1,000 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds, valued at maturity. The final winning teams then compete at the national level and receive an all-expenses paid trip to the NJ&EE, taking place June 15–19, 2015, in the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. For information and to view a complete list of state winner and regional finalist teams, visit the eCYBERMISSION website.

Girls Who Code Clubs: The Verizon Foundation Women in STEM Programs

These clubs offer computer science education and tech industry exposure to 6th–12th grade girls nationally throughout the academic year. Clubs are taught by Verizon Foundation volunteer instructors who are trained and supported by Girls Who Code staff. Girls Who Code Clubs represent a scalable approach to computer science education and includes forty curriculum hours paired with project based, group learning. Clubs have launched nationally in over 20 States and have helped hundreds of girls gain exposure to computer science education. To start a club, go to the Girls Who Code website. Any girl under the age of 13 interested in starting a club must have a parent apply on her behalf.

Verizon Innovative App Challenge

The Verizon Innovative App Challenge is an exciting, creative and collaborative competition that offers $20,000 grants for winning middle schools and high schools and Samsung Galaxy Tabs for students on the winning teams. Designed to ignite students’ interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), the Challenge shows students exciting new possibilities for their futures, opening doors they may never have known were there. Registration opened April 4.

NCSS Student Research Conference: "Discover. Create. Innovate"

The NCSS Student Research Conference, July 12–15, 2015, is an opportunity for students from member schools of the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS) to present their research projects to fellow students, teachers, and science and technology professors through poster presentations, oral presentations, or both. Students and teachers will live on the Missouri University Science and Technology campus in Rolla during the conference, sleeping in the residence halls and enjoying meals on campus. For added benefit, there are "live in" counselors assigned to the residence halls. These counselors are current college students. Students must be accompanied by their teachers from their high school. Registration must be completed by teachers or administrators at the sending NCSSS School.

Students are required to prepare and submit an abstract of their research, which will be published in the conference program. Details on abstract submission and poster requirements will be sent to teachers and students once they have registered their intent to participate.

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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 wbinder@nsta.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

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