NSTA's Science Matters Newsletter

September 2015

Dear Educator,

We hope you enjoy the September 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


Preparing Students for College and Careers

Helios Education Foundation’s recently released Education Brief Preparing Students for College and Careers: Early Findings from the Implementation of Ready Now Yuma was distributed to community leaders, policymakers, educators and others who have a stake in ensuring that more students are college and career ready.

With the increasing demands of the 21st-century workforce, all students should graduate from high school prepared for college and career success. However, improving the skills students need is a major challenge across the country and Arizona is no exception. To address these challenges, Helios Education Foundation began to take steps to identify a new comprehensive, high-school reform initiative focused on preparing students for success in college and career. Through this work, Helios and Yuma Union High School District formed a partnership and developed an initiative called Ready Now Yuma. Ready Now Yuma provides students with a rigorous, high expectations curriculum within a college-going environment. The end goal is to increase the number of students entering and succeeding in postsecondary education. The brief provides a short history of the development and practices around college and career readiness, outline the research and theory of action behind the Ready Now Yuma initiative and highlight key findings around the first two and half years of implementation.

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Teacher Education, Professional Learning, and Grant and Award Opportunities

Look Up to the Stars

This organization assists you in fostering interest and literacy in science for your students through astronomy programs. They provide in-school field trips that explore the universe and directly align with requirements for STEM and the Next Generation Science Standards.

Program options Include:

  • A single auditorium presentation
  • Individual workshops with age appropriate hands-on activities
  • Daytime viewing of sunspots on the sun using the same type of solar filter that NASA uses. They can empower your students to build a powerful telescope that will last through generations and help fulfill many requirements of STEM
  • Evening school fundraisers followed by outdoor viewing of celestial objects in the night sky, such as the craters on the Moon, ice crystal rings of Saturn, etc., through a powerful handcrafted telescope, weather permitting
  • Interdisciplinary workshops for teachers

Go to www.lookuptothestars.com to learn more.

Inspiring Lifelong Learners

Lifelong learners exhibit traits such as effective written and oral communication skills, creativity and the ability to access and analyze information, asserts Harvard education specialist Tony Wagner. Development of such skills plays an important role in future workforce development. Learn more »

Coding for Elementary Students: A Growing Trend

Within the next few years, all preK–12 students in San Francisco public schools will be learning computer science, as I wrote recently. Chicago also has a plan in place for making computer science a core subject starting in kindergarten. Read more »

Power Up for 1:1 Teaching

Wherever you are on the path to 1:1 teaching and learning, you need a guide that can help you make the best use of the powerful technology available in today's classrooms. In this inspiring and practical book, Diana Neebe and Jen Roberts draw on research and their extensive experience working with teachers across subject areas and grade levels to share the keys to success when teaching with a computer or tablet for every student. See more »

Apply for the 2016 Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy

The school year has only just begun, but if you're a third- to fifth-grade teacher, it's not too early to think about your summer plans! The Mickelson ExxonMobil Teachers Academy, a partnership among professional golfer Phil Mickelson, ExxonMobil, NSTA, and Math Solutions, will take place at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, New Jersey, in July 2016. Applications are currently being accepted!

This unique program provides third- to fifth-grade teachers with an all-expense-paid, week-long professional learning experience that equips them with new ways to inspire their students in math and science. For more information and to apply to the Academy—or nominate a fellow teacher—go to www.sendmyteacher.com. Please share this with the teachers in your school today and join the almost 5,000 teachers nationwide who have attended since 2005.

NSTA Resources

NSTA conferences offer the latest in science/STEM content, pedagogy, and research to enhance and expand your professional growth. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to collaborate with science education leaders and your peers. Each year, NSTA hosts a national conference on science education (in the spring), three area conferences (in the fall), and a STEM Forum & Expo. Learn more »

Twitter hashtags: #NSTA15 (2015 conferences), #NSTA (all-purpose)

Upcoming conferences:

Reno: Oct. 22–24, 2015
Philadelphia: Nov. 12–14, 2015
Kansas City: Dec. 3–5, 2015
Nashville (National): Mar. 31–Apr. 3, 2016
STEM Forum & Expo: Denver, July 27–29, 2016

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Student Opportunities


To fuel the maker in you—this site is filled with project ideas, contests, news, and videos. Find out about a new Maker reality show!

MIT Women's Technology Program

The Women's Technology Program (WTP) goal is to spark high school girls' interest in the study of engineering and computer science. WTP is a rigorous four-week summer academic and residential experience where female high school students explore engineering through hands-on classes, labs, and team-based projects in the summer after 11th grade. Information about WTP 2016 and the application will be available in November 2015.

Students attend WTP in either Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) or Mechanical Engineering (ME).

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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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