Wrapping Up the Old Year, Preparing for the New Year

We’ve heard that after the school year ends, many teachers spend time catching up on NSTA Reports articles they didn’t have a chance to read thoroughly earlier. To help you make the most of this precious downtime and prepare for the year ahead, here’s a selection of 2011–2012 stories we think you’ll enjoy reading—or re-reading.

Teach Earth science? “Making Science Excellent From the Start,” our October 2011 cover story, looks at the Michigan Teacher Excellence Program (MITEP), a National Science Foundation (NSF)–funded teacher preparation program targeted to the state’s middle level Earth science teachers, who often lack a college major or full certification in Earth science. MITEP connects them with scientists who can deepen their content knowledge, provides opportunities to collaborate with colleagues, and produces teacher leaders who are ready to instruct their colleagues and present sessions at national and regional geology meetings.

Making the Most of the NGSS,” from our November 2011 issue, discusses A Framework for K–12 Science Education, the foundation for the Next Generation Science Standards, and details nine recommendations NSTA’s leadership and a team of experts made after they analyzed the final Framework and identified areas needing improvement.

Our January 2012 issue contained these three gems:

Seniors from Joppatowne High School's Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness program

Twelfth graders in the sciences strand of the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness program at Joppatowne High School in Joppa, Maryland, recently presented their yearlong capstone projects to industry professionals, school system leadership and staff, and family and friends. The students plan to pursue careers in science-related fields following graduation.

  • Two initiatives that involve teachers and students in preserving steelhead trout and Chinook salmon on the West Coast and diamondback terrapins on the East Coast are the subject of the cover story, “Hatching Conservation Science.” Project-based learning, hands-on biology activities, and student research are key components of both efforts.
  • In addition to free and low-cost teacher resources, the nation’s 17 Department of Energy National Laboratories offer teachers and students opportunities to experience real-world science during field trips to the labs, workshops, and presentations by scientists. Learn more by reading “Getting to Know the National Laboratories.”
  • Integrating science with emergency preparedness helps students think scientifically and potentially save lives. Find out how microbiology, chemistry, Earth science, data analysis, technology, history, and language arts play roles in “Preparing Students for Science and Emergencies.”

From 2006 to 2010, NSF provided seed funding for Academies for Young Scientists programs, which expose K–12 students to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) out-of-school time experiences. How did some of these programs keep going after the funding period ended? Click here: “Academies for Young Scientists Outlast Initial Funding.”  (from our February 2012 issue)

Major Patrick Sullivan and fifth graders from the Ft. Leavenworth School District

Major Patrick Sullivan of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, works with fifth graders at Eisenhower Elementary School in Ft. Leavenworth. (photo by Matthew Dixon)

In our March 2012 cover story, “Exploring STEM Professional Development,” representatives from teacher PD programs share their thoughts on what STEM PD really means—and how it can support teachers in their efforts to improve STEM teaching and learning.

Teachers around the country are reaping the benefits of partnering with the military,  including classroom visits by science and engineering experts who can inspire students to consider STEM careers, access to cutting-edge technological tools and scientific equipment, and meaningful professional development. “Joining Forces With the Military for STEM,” our April 2012 cover story, describes some of these successful partnerships.

Do-it-yourselfers will enjoy our May 2012 cover story “Building Equipment—and Interest—in Science.” Discover how teachers who built or refurbished scientific equipment with their students made these projects a special learning experience, as well as a money-saving venture.

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