NSTA's Science Matters Newsletter

May 2015

Dear Educator,

We hope you enjoy the May 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


Linking Secondary STEM to Post-secondary College and Careers Focus of GE Summer Institute

Science and STEM educators and school/district teams—including district administrators, curriculum leaders, master high school teachers/coaches, and career and tech ed leaders—and college representatives are invited to attend "Bridging the Gap: STEM Skills and the Workforce of Tomorrow" from July 26 to 30 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

The event will bring together 200 representatives from these groups together to learn about bridging STEM workforce knowledge and skills with education expectations and coursework, share examples of best practices, discuss ways to collaborate to improve student outcomes and better facilitate the transition to college and career. There are no program registration fees for the event, and lunch and breakfast are included on program days; participants are responsible for travel and hotel costs. The deadline for registration is June 7, 2015. Learn more »

National Research Center for Career and Technical Education

The NRCCTE’s research focuses on issues of urgency to both the field of CTE and the nation’s higher education system, recovering economy, and evolving labor market, addressing such topics as programs of study (POS)/career pathways, curriculum integration of CTE and academic content knowledge and skills, postsecondary student retention and completion, and professional development for educators in the areas of data use for program improvement and support for alternatively certified CTE educators. Visit the website to access many reports to support your work in STEM and bridging to post-secondary education.

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Teacher Education, Professional Learning, and Grant and Award Opportunities

Teachers Supporting Teachers

Are you an experienced teacher with five or more years in the classroom and interested in developing your leadership skills to help others? Become an e-Mentor by applying and participating in NTC’s e-Mentoring summer institute. Join one of our most successful programs, e-Mentoring for Student Success (eMSS) and empower the next generation of teachers by providing content-focused mentoring. Through eMSS, new and veteran teachers—as well as university educators—collaborate in an interactive community to facilitate the exchange of information, ideas, and experiences to advance high-quality instruction for all students. If you are passionate about education and would like to be an e-mentor, we would like to hear from you! Submit your application »

NSTA 2015 Summer Institutes

"Implementing Next Generation Science Standards"
Anaheim CA • July 9, 2015 (in collaboration with CSTA)
Atlantic City NJ • July 28, 2015

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is bringing about transformative changes in teaching and learning at every level. To make this important transition, it is vital that K–12 teachers of science—including elementary teachers—and school and district leaders have opportunities to participate in professional learning to understand the changes or shifts in the NGSS and to learn how to apply them in the classroom. Strategies are needed for adjusting teaching approaches, making important cross-curricular connections, and assessing student learning. Join NSTA for one of two first-ever summer institutes to help science educators and leaders implement the NGSS. Each event kicks off with a special keynote address from Barbara Morgan, former NASA Astronaut and Distinguished Educator in Residence at Boise State University, then continues with an engaging series of sessions given by NGSS experts and differentiated for two grade bands: elementary and secondary. For more information and to register, visit the NSTA website.


Launched in 2013, Code.org® is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Their vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science. Look at their website to explore why they believe computer science and computer programming should be part of the core curriculum in education, alongside other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) courses, such as biology, physics, chemistry, and algebra.

Girls Who Code

Girls Who Code Clubs offer computer science education and tech industry exposure to 6th–12th grade girls nationally throughout the academic year. Clubs are taught by our incredible 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.

Applications Open for NSTA New Science Teacher Academy

The NSTA New Science Teacher Academy is now accepting applications for the 2015–16 program year. U.S. science teachers, who will be entering their second through fifth year of teaching and whose schedule is a minimum of 51 percent middle or high school science, are encouraged to apply. NSTA Fellows—whose participation in the Academy this year is being funded by Lockheed Martin—receive a comprehensive membership package, online mentoring, and a variety of web-based professional learning activities. Fellows will also receive financial support to attend and participate in NSTA’s 2016 National Conference on Science Education in Nashville.

STEM Gateways ACT

The STEM Gateways Act would provide funding through the U.S. Department of Education to help schools implement rigorous STEM academics, with a focus on reaching underrepresented groups. It would also provide support to after-school programs and workforce training opportunities that emphasize exploration of STEM careers and development of related skills. Selected elementary and secondary schools in partnership with community colleges, nonprofits, and other partner organizations would be able to use federal funding to support STEM, classroom activities, extracurricular and after-school learning, summer programs, student tutoring and mentoring, and professional development for educators. Such focused efforts on expanding STEM opportunities for girls, minorities and economically disadvantaged students will broaden and strengthen the pipeline of American STEM workers. Go to the website to read more and endorse this act!

North Carolina Science Teachers Association’s 45th Annual Professional Development Institute

“Mastering Literacy Through STEM”
Benton Convention Center – Winston Salem, North Carolina
November 12–13, 2015

Each year, NCSTA strives to provide professional development for our science educators that can be immediately transferable to the classroom. This year, we have identified an immediate need for literacy while providing quality STEM education for students. NCSTA invites you to share your expertise with science educators across the state. This year’s theme is Literacy through STEM. We are calling for presentations in biology/life science, chemistry, physics, physical science, Earth/environmental science, and engineering, demonstrating how general literacy skills of students can be strengthened at the same time students learn in the areas of STEM such as: The five components of reading, Narrative, Descriptive Expository and Persuasive Writing, Interactive note-booking to promote writing and check understanding, Reading with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension, Identifying and decoding the meaning of the common prefixes and derivational suffixes, Writing opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons, writing informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas.

New NGSS Resources

NSTA has introduced new innovative resources to help all teachers better understand and implement the vision set forth by the Next Generation Science Standards and Framework for K–12 Science Education—an interactive e-book and unit planner, free videos showing NGSS/Framework-based teaching in action, and NGSS-supported instructional resources, vetted by an expert team of curators, including lesson plans, units, instructional guides, books and book chapters, video simulations, science kits, and more. Learn more about these and other resources from NSTA. View/download this PDF for more detailed info and links.

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Student Opportunities

STEM Mentors

Cisco has launched Girls Power Tech, a global mentoring initiative to support and complement the United Nations' ‘Girls in ICT Day'. ‘Girls Power Tech' is focused on encouraging girls and young women in more than 50 countries, and 80 Cisco offices, to discover opportunities opened by careers in information and communication technology (ICT). Girls ages 13–18 are invited to participate in Girls Power Tech mentoring opportunities with Cisco employees, allowing girls to make informed career choices about working in STEM.

NCSSS & Missouri University S&T for 2015 NCSSS Student Research Conference

Join the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools and Missouri University of Science and Technology for the 2015 NCSSS Student Research Conference, "Discover. Create. Innovate," July 12–15. The conference is an opportunity for students from member schools of NCSSS to present their research projects to fellow students, teachers and S&T professors, either through poster presentations, oral presentations or both. 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.

Camp Invention

Created by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, Camp Invention is a nationally recognized summer program focused on creativity, innovation, real-world problem solving and the spirit of invention. They partner with the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Collegiate Inventors Competition, and everything we do is inspired by the world’s smartest inventors. Go to the website to look for programs in your area and for programs for your school.

USDA’s Open Data Summer Camp

Applications are now being accepted for the USDA's "Open Data" Summer Camp. Open to middle and high school students, the camps will help leaders of tomorrow learn more about the kinds of choices and insights that can be made and developed through careful work with data (in this case, data sets supplied by the USDA itself), build familiarity with a variety of tools and techniques important to data science, and get hands-on experience in working effectively together with peers in small teams on a project involving data management, analysis, visualization, and presentation. The camps are administered completely free of charge and are held at the USDA Headquarters in Washington, DC. There are two two-week programs for students based in DC:

  • July 6 through July 17: Middle school students, ages 12–14 years old
  • July 20 through July 31: High school students, ages 15–17 years old

Applications must be submitted by May 22, 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 wbinder@nsta.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

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