Enhanced E-books Student Editions, Part 2: What Teachers Have to Say About Them

NSTA recently launched e-Books+ Student Editions. In Part 1, we provided information on what the student editions include and the full range of topics available. In this post, we’ll share what teachers have to say about the new student editions and how they can help you in your school and classroom.

Adding to Your Curriculum

If you are looking for something that is more than just a digital textbook, consider these student editions as a visual and intellectual experience for your students.

“I implemented this e-book in my classroom, for the first time, this year. My students honestly love it. This book covers all of the content standards with life biology, your units are right there ready to go. The students are engaged and actually want to read! It has had a tremendous impact on test scores, and retention. My students are still able to recall what they learned, they recall images and video clips. It is a kinesthetic learning experience. I was so impressed with the first one that I purchased a second about cells, which is equally stunning. I can’t wait to get the complete set and neither can my students!”

Alicia H.

Engaging Resource for Your Students

These are great to use in a station environment. The outstanding graphics as well as the interactive modules and videos add an additional depth that really captures your students’ attention.

“The students love them and are extremely motivated to complete assignments using the e-book.”

Jennifer M.

Helping Your Struggling Students

If you have students who are struggling with a particular topic or who have missed a lot of class time, these student editions can be a great resource.

“I am so happy I decided to purchase this e-book…it has turned out to be a great help for those that were struggling and allowing them to dig deeper into the subject matter and work independently.”

Sara G.

Contact and Ordering Information

All purchases of eBooks+ Student Editions must be completed through NSTA’s Customer Service Department. Order by phone (1-800-277-5300) between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET) or fax (1-888-433-0526). Or email us at orders@nsta.org. Download an e-Books+ Student Edition order form.

Pricing information is available per ebook/student/year. For any other questions regarding NSTA’s eBooks+ Student Editions, including pricing for multi-year purchases, please contact ebooks@nsta.org.

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Teaching as an art form

I’m preparing to be a chemistry teacher. In addition to chemistry and teacher prep classes, what else should I study to become an effective teacher? More math or physics? —T., Colorado

While math and physics are important (especially if you’re pursuing other certifications), you also could become familiar with another language and the special education requirements in your state. You could pursue a personal interest in history and geography, literature, or the arts to better connect science with other subjects.

As a teacher, you’ll be “on stage” every day. Many teacher prep classes don’t address how to communicate with students and share your enthusiasm and passion for chemistry. That’s where acting experience or a class may help. This doesn’t mean putting on a contrived show but rather using your voice and body language effectively.

After several teachers in my school were recruited into a community theatre group, our confidence and communications in the classroom improved in several areas:

  • Enunciating clearly and reaching every corner of the room without shouting and straining your voice
  • Incorporating humor and timing
  • Improvising based on student interests and questions
  • Dealing with distractions
  • Showing interest in a student’s question or idea, even if we’d heard it several times before
  • Being mindful of your position in the classroom and moving around
  • Using strategies such as props and wait-time
  • Choosing a well-aimed glare or a quiet whisper to stop some misbehaviors

Who knows what topics you could change from dull to interesting for students?

Online Resources:

Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/spcummings/361167519/

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New NAP Publication Helps Teachers Assess 3-Dimensional Learning in the Classroom

Seeing Students Learn Science

Seeing Students Learn Science

It is a truly exciting time in science education. Science educators across the country are adapting to a new vision of how students learn science guided by the Framework for K–12 Science Education. As a result, science instruction is changing to better tap into students’ natural curiosity and deepen their understanding of the world around them. As instruction is changing, assessments need to change as well. Many science educators recognize that traditional assessments are not appropriate for capturing three-dimensional science learning. But, they may not know what assessments of three-dimensional learning should look like nor how they can be used effectively in science classrooms.

On March 30 at the NSTA National Conference in Los Angeles, I will introduce science educators to a new book from the Board on Science Education at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, Seeing Students Learn Science: Integrating Assessment and Instruction in the Classroom. The book draws on research-based recommendations for assessment to explore how classroom teachers can use assessments as part of instruction to advance students’ three-dimensional learning.

Continue reading …

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The @STEMninjaneer Guide to #NSTA17 Los Angeles

This week I’m headed to the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in LA, where I’ll be blogging and tweeting about all things engineering and STEM! As an engineering educator, I am keenly interested in helping to prepare our future workforce and citizenry through meaningful, robust, and integrated instruction that includes engineering. In my career, I have worked as an engineer at IBM, owned a science/engineering education business, directed National Science Foundation grants focused on high-quality STEM instruction, taught first-year engineering, worked intensively with schools (especially high poverty; high needs and also gifted) to use engineering as a way to change the culture, and done research and lots of practice with the Engineering is Elementary team from the Museum of Science Boston.

As a consultant, my goal for the schools I work with are simple: That students will go on to the next level as (1) confident learners who can work productively with other people (2) problem solvers who can use data and evidence to make decisions and (3) people who can fail, and then recover from it, because that’s what humans do.

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Stand for Students, Stand for Science

Since the founding of our country, indeed since the beginning of western democracy, being well-informed includes being well-informed about science. “Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government,” said Thomas Jefferson, 228 years ago, not long before he established the first science agency in the U.S. government, the Survey of the Coast, and commissioned the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Today there is a growing rift between science as a way to understand the natural world and the formulation of public policy. We “debate” the causes of climate change; we think that evolution is “only” a theory; and many believe that vaccination causes autism. “Alternative facts” can be proclaimed with a straight face.

Years ago, Isaac Asimov noted, “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

Now, more than ever, the need for science education is staggering and public support for science is undermined by deliberate misinformation and simple ignorance.

The March for Science is an effort to remind the public of the benefits of science and science education. These benefits range from meaningful careers for our children to improving our health to living sustainably on our planet to being well-informed in the voting booth. As educators—and as scientists—we have stayed in the shadows too long and I believe we must move into the spotlight of public attention. A bright light will sometimes expose weaknesses but we know that the only way to repair a weakness is to first see it.

In agreeing to partner with the March for Science, NSTA subscribed to a set of core principles and goals that I want to share with you:

Core Principles – We Support:

  • Science that serves the common good
  • Evidence-based policy and regulations in the public interest
  • Cutting-edge science education
  • Diversity and Inclusion in STEM
  • Open, honest science and inclusive public outreach
  • Funding for scientific research and its applications

Goals for the March:

  • Humanize science
  • Partner with the public
  • Advocate for open, inclusive, and accessible science
  • Support scientists
  • Affirm science as a democratic value

I expect that each of these will receive some exposure at the March. None of these is political in a partisan way. And all of them are what we hope for in a science literate society. 

Please join me on April 22 as we Stand up for Students and Stand up for Science. 

Dr. David L. Evans is the Executive Director of the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Reach him via e-mail at devans@nsta.org or via Twitter @devans_NSTA.

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.


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Experiencing nature–educators make it happen for children and other teachers

Nature play and exploration varies in early childhood (broadly: infant to grade 3) programs and are subject to the local and state licensing regulations, a program’s choice of curriculum, the local environment and weather, and the support of the administration. A conference is an effective way to get a lot of science content knowledge about that local environment and the living organisms that reside there, and to learn developmentally appropriate ways to share that information with young children as you give them experiences that will invite them to continue to explore nature over their lifetimes.

NoVA Outside logoThe “Getting Kids Outdoors in Nature” conference, organized by the early childhood committee of NoVA Outside, brought together educators in varied roles from the usual mix of early childhood programs, all interested in learning more about nature education. 

Amy Beam presenting a keynote at the NoVA Outside conference In her keynote address, Outdoor Education and Nature Connection Specialist  Amy Beam encouraged us to let children take risks that help develop their gross motor skills and their confidence in their own problem-solving abilities.  She spoke about those “tender conversations” when children are confronted with a robin eating a ‘friend’ worm and begin to understand the needs of living organisms. The examples she brought of the many different materials she and the children take with them on their long walks through natural areas helped us plan for our own programs. Beam works as an outdoor educator with Montessori schools in the Washington, D.C. area, and she appeared in the film Mother Nature’s Child

Amy Beam led groups in outdoor games to enhance connections with nature.In her breakout sessions Beam taught fun activities, games, songs and techniques that awaken and deepen children’s innate love of nature and learning. 
Experienced preschool directors and naturalists talked about their love of nature, and shared tips and expertise for facilitating children’s learning in nature.

Continue reading …

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Ed News: How Many U.S. Students Are Taught By Qualified Teachers?

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This week in education news, education programs could still be vulnerable in President Trump’s budget; most U.S. public school students are taught by qualified teachers; and utility-value intervention with parents increases students’ STEM preparation and career pursuit.

One Reason Young People Don’t Go Into Science? We Don’t Fail Well

Learning resilience is fundamental to a successful career as a scientist. The experiments we try will fail many times before they work, whether as an undergraduate, a PhD student, or a postdoc gunning for a faculty position. I’m dealing with this right now in my third laboratory rotation: In trying to study a protein in zebrafish, I made a mistake and all my embryos died. So, I’m troubleshooting and doing the experiment again. Click here to read the article featured in STAT magazine.

What Education Programs Could Still Be Vulnerable in Trump’s Budget?

President Trump’s budget plan for education has singled out several programs to be slimmed down or eliminated. But all we know right know is based on a mere “skinny” federal budget the administration released last week. It doesn’t detail all of the cuts and additions Trump’s team wants to make. In the interim, we talked with Tom Corwin and Michele McLaughlin and they discussed which programs might be particularly vulnerable to proposed cuts, elimination, or some kind of lack of love from Trump. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.

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Contacting parents

I have several students in my biology classes who are very disruptive. I know I should contact their parents, but as a new teacher I’ve never done this. How I should handle this? —C., California

I found at the secondary level, it was more effective to work with the students first, then contact parents (or guardians) about misbehavior after exhausting in-house strategies. Even if you typically e-mail or text, having a real-time voice conversation with parents or guardians may be the most effective way to express your concern.

Determine an appropriate time to speak (it may not be possible for all parents to talk while at work) through a text or e-mail. Or ask them to call you and suggesting times, such as early morning or late afternoon. (It’s a good idea in your welcome letter at the beginning of the year to ask parents the best way and time to communicate.)

Prepare notes to help stay focused on the problem and what you want to discuss.

Start with some positive comments about the student and emphasize you want what’s best for their child to be a successful learner. Provide examples of the behavior in question and how you tried to correct the situation. Ask for other ideas on how you can work together to resolve the issues. If the disruptive behavior occurs during a lab activity, remind the parents of the safety acknowledgement form they signed.

Give the parents time to respond and listen to them without interruption, using wait-time before you respond).

You can ask your mentor or administrator to be present (be sure to mention that he/she is there).

At the end, summarize what you and the parents will do and expectations for the student. Thank them for their time and input. Follow up on the conversation with any results.

Annotate your notes and keep a log of your communications.


Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eclectic-echoes/6681499071/

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Enhanced E-books Student Editions, Part I: Providing Teachers With Tools for Managing Student Learning

NSTA recently launched e-Books+ Student Editions. In addition to the impressive array of topics, the student editions come with the tools that allow teachers to manage their students’ learning in useful ways.

Created for students in grades 6-12, these interactive e-books include animations, videos, simulations, embedded assessment, slide shows, and high-resolution images. These interactive e-books are between 100 pages and 200 pages long and are intended to supplement your classroom curriculum. Note that English language arts e-books focused on STEM concepts for students in grades K-5 are in development and will be available in the not too distant future.

The topics currently available are for middle and high school students. The student editions are housed on a Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) compliant site. Students go to the NSTA Reader or use the NSTA Reader app. They log in using the username and password that was assigned to them by their teachers.

This new video highlights many of the features of the student editions.

Features of the Student Editions

In the NSTA Reader, using the student editions, teachers can:

  • Assign students to classes and project groups
  • Assign projects and homework to students by class, group, or student
  • Make use of the assessment bank from e-books
  • Create and grade digital or print assessments
  • Upload students in bulk; add review questions
  • Grade student assignments
  • Send notifications and other messages to students
  • View license information
  • View class and student progress in the e-books
  • View class and students results for review questions and assessments
  • Export data in Excel spreadsheets.

NSTA has created step-by-step instructions for teachers to use the NSTA Reader. Continue reading …

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Career of the Month: Fire Protection Engineer

Fire protection engineers help protect people from fire and explosion hazards by ensuring that buildings have adequate exits, that flammable substances are controlled, and that everyone operating near such hazards takes necessary precautions. Nancy Pearce is a fire protection engineer for the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA).

Work overview.

Many fire engineers work behind the scenes to help design equipment or buildings to prevent or withstand fires. Others figure out what building materials are required and how to configure exits or hallways to allow quick escape in case of a fire. Some fire protection engineers conduct investigations after fires or do research on materials that may provide better fire resistance.

My focus is on codes that protect industrial workers from fire and

Fire Protection Engineer Nancy Pearce

explosion hazards. I help experts in the field write and revise fire-protection codes and standards adopted by many government agencies. Revisions occur as new information becomes available. After explosions in Texas killed firefighters a few years ago, for example, I worked with experts to rewrite the ammonium nitrate code that spells out how to properly use that chemical and respond to such fires.

People who have questions about the codes call me to interpret them. For example, someone applying for a July 4 fireworks display permit may want to know at what angle to set up the fireworks and how far away spectators must be from particular types.

Nancy Pearce visits a barge on the Charles River to review how mortars are set up before an Independence Day fireworks show in Boston.
©2016 National Fire Protection Association and Nancy Pearce

My job involves much reading and research as well as traveling to conduct training sessions on how to apply the codes and to visit facilities that may be performing a new process. My math training helps me do the necessary calculations for the codes, and my science background helps me understand the reasons behind the code requirements, such as why a chemical has a particular fire property and which materials should not be stored together for safety reasons. Continue reading …

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