NSTA's Science Matters Newsletter

October 2015

Dear Educator,

We hope you enjoy the October 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


Schools Should Teach Science like Sports
Why the Next Generation Science Standards Will Succeed

Scientific American published a recent article equating the process of engaging in the performance expectations of the NGSS to that of engaging in the performance of sports skill. Read the article »

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Teacher Education, Professional Learning, and Grant and Award Opportunities

Fall Into Online Learning

Learning Forward

Join authors and leaders in the field for a webinar that will prepare you to successfully implement professional learning that increases teaching effectiveness and student achievement. Next scheduled webinar is on November 5: Nonverbal Communication Skills to Positively Influence Classroom Behavior.
Webinars are free for Learning Forward members. Nonmembers may attend one webinar for $20, or three for $50. Visit learningforward.org for more information.


On Saturday, November 7, 2015, join other educators for a half-day virtual conference titled: Shifting to Integrated STEM: Experiences of Three School Districts. As part of the program, you will learn about three case studies in K-12 STEM Integration from which common goals and practices emerged that can inform your work in STEM implementation. Visit the NSTA Learning Center for more information.

Enter Now for a Chance to Win the 2015-2016 Shell Science Lab Challenge

Are you a science teacher succeeding in providing exemplary lab instruction with minimal equipment and resources? The Shell Science Lab Challenge offers you a chance to compete to win a school science lab makeover, valued at $20,000, by sharing your creative approach.

Middle and high school science teachers (grades 6–12) in the United States and Canada who have found innovative ways to deliver quality lab experiences with limited school and laboratory resources are encouraged to apply! The deadline for submissions is December 16, 2015. All winners will receive science lab equipment, Shell cash grants, NSTA membership, and support to attend NSTA Conferences on Science Education. The grand-prize winner and four national finalists will be honored at a special banquet and ceremony at NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education in Nashville, March 31–April 3, 2015. Visit the NSTA website for more information about the Challenge or to download an application.

Need Help? Attend a free web seminar: Developing a Competitive Application for the Shell Science Lab Challenge on November 18, 2015.

3D Robotics Launches 3DU To Promote The Use of Drones in Education (TechCrunch)

3DU aims to bring drones to more schools—ranging from K–12 to postgraduate programs—by making both hardware discounts and sponsorships available to these schools, as well as giving them classroom and curriculum support. The idea is to empower students to not just use the drones but also to develop their own apps for them using 3DR’s DroneKit software development kit. Visit the TechCrunch website for more information.

Calling All Teachers: Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Program

Registration for the 24th annual Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision program—the world's largest K–12 student science competition—is now open. The deadline for all project submissions is February 1, 2016.

Through the competition, teams of 2 to 4 students are challenged to research scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for designing innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. Students simulate real scientific research to outline how they plan to test their ideas and create mock websites to illustrate concepts. Student participants will have a chance to win a number of great prizes, including $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bonds (at maturity). Canadian winners receive Canada bonds purchased for the equivalent issue price in Canadian dollars. And to celebrate ExploraVision's 24th anniversary, the top 24 teachers who submit 24 eligible online entries will receive a Toshiba tablet.

Teachers can learn more information by visiting the frequently asked questions page on the competition website.

NCSEteach New Teacher Network
The National Center for Science Education has over 30 years of experience helping educators teach socially and politically contentious, but scientifically-sound topics, like evolution and climate change. They are expanding efforts this year to connect with educators by starting a teacher network.  NCSEteach is especially supportive for the topics of Climate Change and Evolution. They offer

  • Free resources and vetted activities about Evolution, Climate Change and the Nature of Science.
  • Opportunities to connect your classroom with local scientists.
  • Opportunities to connect with teachers across the country to share ideas and activities.
  • Professional development opportunities

In addition, if you sign up now, you will be entered to win


To sign up, teachers can visit ncseteach.com. We are also on Facebook (www.facebook.com/ncseteach) and Twitter (@ncseteach).

Share Your Good Ideas! Present at the 2016 NSTA STEM Forum

We are now accepting proposals for the 5th Annual STEM Forum & Expo, hosted by NSTA—which will be held in Denver July 27–29, 2016. The deadline for submissions is 11:59 PM on Friday, January 15, 2016.
Visit the NSTA website for more information and to submit a proposal. Please e-mail lcrossley@nsta.org if you have any questions.

Fundamentals of Inquiry

For more than 30 years, the Institute for Inquiry (IFI) has worked with more than 6,500 lead teachers and professional developers from districts, universities, and museums—encompassing more than 1,000 districts and projects in 46 states and in 12 countries. IFI participants have influenced at least 190,000 teachers, and those teachers in turn have influenced 5.7 million students internationally. Check out this five day workshop opportunity.

Examining Science Practices and the Next Generation Science Standards: A workshop for professional developers presented by the Exploratorium’s Institute for Inquiry®
Offered December 7–11, 2015 at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, CA

Educators will explore ways to support teachers in moving toward an inquiry-based approach in which students take more responsibility for their learning.

Participants will

  • Practice science inquiry as it relates to the science practices illuminated in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).
  • Learn how to apply these activities to your professional development program.
  • Examine techniques of effective professional development design, such as how to sequence activities, match activities to learning goals, and facilitate discussions to advance teachers' thinking practices.

The Ultimate STEM Guide

This particular list, which outlines websites broken down by topics such as STEM Awards, STEM Careers, Math Contests, as well as by grade ranges, comes from a website that promotes schools who offer master’s degrees in Data Sciences. It is well done and organized in a systematic way allowing anyone who works with children to find something that can engage them in STEM activities.

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

Diversity in STEM Applications to Recognize Hundreds of High School Women and Educators in Tech (NCWIT

The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is now accepting applications for the Award for Aspirations in Computing and the Aspirations in Computing Educator Award. NCWIT continues to expand Aspirations in Computing—the largest talent development initiative for women in tech—with support from Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, Bloomberg, and Microsoft. Any U.S. high school woman with outstanding aptitude and interest in computing is eligible to apply for the Award for Aspirations in Computing, sponsored by Bank of America at the national level and Microsoft at the local level. Applications are open online through October 26, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. EDT. Learn more »

Fashion Design = STEM

Read about STEM enrichment courses popping up on college campuses. There may be one near you for your students!

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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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