Learn About Argumentation With NSTA Press Author Victor Sampson

Join NSTA Press author Victor Sampson in Orlando for workshops about scientific argumentation. 

Scientific Argumentation in Biology
Attendees will receive a copy of the book Scientific Argumentation in Biology.
Date: Feb. 25, 2015
Place: Marriott Residence Inn Orlando at SeaWorld
Registration: 1 Day: $195/per person
Visit www.scientificargumentation.com/upcoming-workshops.html to register and learn more about the Scientific Argumentation Workshop.

Argument-Driven Inquiry in Biology
Attendees will receive a copy of the book Argument-Driven Inquiry in Biology.
Date: Feb. 26, 2015
Place: Marriott Residence Inn Orlando at SeaWorld
Registration: 1 Day: $195/per person

Argument-Driven Inquiry in Chemistry
Attendees will receive a copy of the book Argument-Driven Inquiry in Chemistry.
Date: Feb. 27, 2015
Place: Marriott Residence Inn Orlando at SeaWorld
Registration: 1 Day: $195/per person

Visit www.argumentdriveninquiry.com/orlando-feb-26–27-2015.html to register and learn more about the Argument-Driven Inquiry Workshops.

Questions? E-mail kristaclark.adi@gmail.com.

Posted in NSTA Press Books | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrate International Book Giving Day with NSTA, the Home of Science Literacy

#giveabook book markFebruary 14 is not only Valentine’s Day but also International Book Giving Day. Literacy is an important focus for NSTA, and a subject that is personally important to our staff and membership, so we’re celebrating! What’s the day about? Giving books to children and promoting enthusiasm and excitement about books–and as you teach kids to cherish books, it’s important to teach them to care for them properly, so we’re loving the bookmark freebie available for download from the book giving day site!

As an organization devoted to science teachers, we know that science and reading is a winning combination. For more than 40 years we’ve partnered with the Children’s Book Council to produce an annual list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12. This year’s list has everything from Batman Science to Beetle Busters to Sally Ride. There’s something for students at every grade and interest level. If you’re looking for a great book to give or check out from the library, look no further.

If you’re a science teacher and want to incorporate science content into your reading program, we have some great resources that will save you time in the classroom and help you reach students in innovative ways (free registration in the NSTA Learning Center required).

Looking for more teaching resources that pair reading and science? Join a vibrant community of fellow learners who depend on the NSTA Learning Center. There, you can create your personalized learning journey based on your own unique learning needs and preferences. You can plan, track, and assess your progress over time. It’s free to register and connects you with a vast array of opportunities.

NSTA book markLooking for new books to add to your library? Now through Monday, February 23, 2015, we’re offering 10% off all our NSTA Kids books (includes all NSTA Kids e-books, mixed-media sets, and sets). Use promo code GIVEBK at check out when you purchase these kid magnets in the NSTA Science Store.

So put February 14 on your calendar and join us as we celebrate International Book Giving Day. Here at NSTA we’ll be donating books to local schools via a staff book giveaway. Follow us on Twitter @NSTA to see pictures, and we hope you’ll share with us the creative ways you find to nurture the love of reading in your budding scientists! And don’t forget to teach them to respect books–if you’re looking for a lovely way to encourage your students to spread their literary wings, we offer this downloadable NSTA book mark to help them mark their progress. If you have a two-sided printer, you won’t want to miss the gorgeous art on the back.

Follow NSTA

 Facebook icon  Twitter icon  LinkedIn icon  Pinterest icon  G+ icon  YouTube icon  Instagram icon
      
Posted in NSTA Press Books | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heat and energy: what can young children understand?

A cat lying on top of a radiator near a window.My cat has moved to the top of the radiator for the winter, at least when the boiler is on and warm air is moving up through convection from below. With a house temperature of 66*-68*F, I would also like to lie on it, hopefully with some sunshine radiating light and warmth through the window. “Radiating,” is that a word that children can understand? What vocabulary should we use to talk about the movement of “warmth” from one place to another? For preschool children we can begin with “”heat,” “hot,” “cold,” “warm,” “cool,” and “moving,” adding “transfer” as we have occasion to use it while talking with children about their experiences. For teacher background information about heat, read “Cool Facts About Heat” by Stephanie Chasteen on the Ohio State University online magazine for elementary teachers, Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears

As a preschool teacher I am not confined to teaching concepts and vocabulary during a “unit” but can engage children in discussions and re-visit activities throughout the year. In summer, we might feel heat radiating from a metal sliding board or the blacktop. The metal and blacktop were warmed as they absorbed the radiation from the sun. Year round, we can experience the changing temperature of a cup of hot (warm) chocolate, a baked potato or a hard-boiled egg cooling down in our hands as the heat transfers to our hands and the surrounding air.

Another way of exploring the transfer of heat is to melt an ice cube in our hands. In the January 2006 Science and Children’s Early Years column I wrote, that “…keeping a child’s attention while a solid melts completely can be a challenge. That is why when exploring melting, it’s worth it to repeat the experience a few times with various substances, including chocolate and wax.” If melting ice doesn’t arouse a child’s curiosity, maybe melting chocolate will! Early childhood teacher and author Marie Faust Evitt engages her students in an activity involving heat transfer called “What is Your Cold Count?” where children make predictions. See photos on the Facebook page for her book, Thinking BIG Learning BIG.

In addition to providing experiences where children can observe the transfer of heat from one material to another, engage them in conversations and discussion about what they noticed and what they think about it. Heat is energy that is moving, going from one place to another. There is no rush for children to understand the concept of energy–it is enough to talk about the movement of heat. The Next Generation Science Standards Kindergarten performance expectation about energy, K-PS3-1, is, “Make observations to determine the effect of sunlight on Earth’s surface,” something children can do as they feel rocks or sand in sunlight and in shade. 

Cover of the journal February 2015 Science and Children.The February 2015 issue of Science and Children focuses on the Crosscutting Concept, Heat and Energy. The Teaching Through Trade Books column, “Understanding Matter and Energy” by Christine Anne Royce, and the Science 101 column, “How Should We Label Different Kinds of Energy?” by Bill Robertson are two resources that can help us understand the concept of energy, a fourth grade performance expectation in the Next Generation Science Standards. Read the Disciplinary Core Ideas in the box below the performance expectations to learn more about energy. Appendix E of the NGSS, “Progressions Within the Next Generation Science Standards” has progressions in student thinking about energy. A Framework for K-12 Science Educationa free download, the foundation for the NGSS, has an extensive section on energy, pages 120-130.

 Cat lying in the sunshine coming through a glass door.Misconceptions may be held by children, and they may also be confused by words have different meanings or usages in every day and in scientific contexts. Jessica Fries-Gaither wrote aboutCommon Misconceptions about Heat and Insulationon Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears. Fries-Gaither notes that, “many of these misconceptions are persistent and even developmentally appropriate. With the proper experiences and informal exploration in elementary school, students will be prepared to tackle these misconceptions in later years.”

In writing about this topic I turned to the NSTA online community for guidance. I wanted to check my understanding and find out what others thought young children can understand. Both the email listserv for NSTA members and the open-to-all forums in the NSTA Learning Center are terrific tools for connecting and learning from colleagues. Thank you all!

Posted in Early Years | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NSTA Legislative Update: Senate Leaders to Start Over on No Child Left Behind

graphic urging readers to contact their reps in congress and tell them that STEM education is a national priority in NCLBLast week the Washington Post reported that Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), chair and ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee respectively, will work together to draft a bipartisan bill to reauthorize No Child Left Behind (NCLB), instead of working from a discussion draft bill introduced by Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander a few weeks ago and “they are determined to find common ground and draft a new law that will get bipartisan support.”

As noted in a Jan. 19 blog post, the 400-page discussion draft released by Senator Alexander was considered the starting point for this current burst of activity around NCLB reauthorization. Many organizations, including NSTA, believe this is a serious attempt to update this badly broken law and are urging their members to contact their reps in Congress with the following message: Ensure that STEM education is a national priority in NCLB. Please use the STEM Education Coalition website and contact your members of Congress with this message.

With these new developments, it is highly unlikely that the Senate HELP committee will push out any NCLB legislation by the end of February.

Also last week, Republican education leaders in the House introduced their bill to replace No Child Left Behind. The Student Success Act (H.R. 5) will reduce the federal footprint and restore local control, while empowering parents and education leaders to hold schools accountable for effectively teaching students.

In other legislative news, the President’s budget released last week had some good news for science and STEM education:

  • $3 billion for STEM education programs in total across 13 federal agencies, an increase of 3.6 percent over the 2015 enacted level
  • $202.7 million for the existing Math and Science Partnership program, a $50 million increase over FY15. The budget also proposes reserving $25 million of this funding for competitive grants to support state and regional STEM networks and a reservation of 5% for “national” activities
  • $125 million for a new program called Next Generation High Schools, which would promote the whole school transformation of high school education. The Department would place a strong focus on projects designed to improve readiness for college and careers in STEM fields, particularly for student groups historically underrepresented in those fields.

At the National Science Foundation,funding for the NSF’s Education and Human Resources Directorate is proposed at $962.57 million, an increase of $96 million of 11.2% over FY 2015. Funding for the STEM+Computer Science Partnerships Program is proposed for $64 million, an increase of $7 million. [This includes $52 million from EHR and $12.5 million from the Computing Research Directorate (CISE).]

Stay tuned and look for upcoming issues of NSTA Express for the latest information on developments in Washington, DC.

Jodi Peterson is Assistant Executive Director of Legislative Affairs for the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Chair of the STEM Education Coalition. e-mail Jodi at jpeterson@nsta.org; follower her on Twitter at @stemedadvocate.

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

Follow NSTA

 Facebook icon  Twitter icon  LinkedIn icon  Pinterest icon  G+ icon  YouTube icon  Instagram icon

 

Posted in NSTA Reports | Tagged , | 2 Responses

Using Physical Science Gadgets and Gizmos in Elementary Grades

gadgets3-5The authors of the popular Phenomenon-Based Learning series have released a new book geared toward elementary-age students. Using Physical Science Gadgets & Gizmos, Grades 3-5: Phenomenon-Based Learning is the latest book by Matthew Bobrowsky, Mikko Korhonen, and Jukka Kohtamäki. The activities they include are designed to building learning on observations of real-world phenomena—in this case of some fun toys or gadgets.

In the phenomenon-based learning (PBL) approach, students work and explore collaboratively: Exercises are done in groups, and students’ conclusions are also drawn in groups. “With the PBL strategy, the concepts and the phenomena are approached from different angles, each adding a piece to the puzzle with the goal of developing a picture correctly portraying the real situation.” In other words, it’s not so much a teaching method as it is a route to grasping the big picture.

The 30 PBL activities included in the book are divided into 8 main categories. Here are some examples of the fun you and your students can have while teaching and learning important science concepts:

  • Speed: Using a Constant-Velocity Car, learn about constant speed, and measure some speeds with simple tools.
  • Friction and Air Resistance: With an Air Puck, study how objects act if there is very little friction.
  • Gravity: Using an IR-Controlled UFO Flyer, explore how gravitation tries to pull things toward the ground.
  • Air Pressure: Using an Air-Powered Projectile, see the effect of gravitation and excess pressure.
  • Electricity: With a Plasma Globe, explore electric charges and the phenomenon they cause called static electricity.
  • Electric Circuits: Using a Hand Crank from a Snaptricity (a box of electric components that snap together for easy use), create a voltage just like a battery and light up a lamp.
  • Magnetism: From the same Snaptricity box, take the compass and find out what it does when a bar magnet is brought close to it.
  • Energy: Using a music box, explore moving energy with sound to learn what makes hearing possible.

The authors emphasize three reasons to buy this book:

  1. To improve your students’ thinking skills and problem-solving abilities.
  2. To get easy-to-perform experiments that engage students in the topic.
  3. To make your physics lessons waaaaay more cool.

Ordering information for all of the gadgets and gizmos used in the book is included. This book is also available as an e-book. Learn more about the other books in this series.

Posted in NSTA Press Books | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Changing careers

I am thinking of switching careers to become a secondary science teacher (I currently work for an environmental agency). Before I decide, what should I consider? —S., Connecticut

Being a science teacher is a rewarding and challenging experience, helping students develop and pursue their own interests in a subject you are passionate about. Many of our students have never met a scientist in person, and with your background, you can show students how science connects with the “real” world. You can also share the variety of work that scientists do beyond the lab—reports, letters, presentations, and other communications. Some schools may prefer “nontraditional” beginning teachers such as you, who bring life experiences and in-depth content background to the classroom.

You may want to see if a nearby middle or high school will let you “shadow” a science teacher for a day to see for yourself the challenges of working with 25 teenagers in a classroom. Secondary teachers usually have 4-6 sections, interacting with 100-150 students each day, including students with special needs or students learning the English language. Teachers may be assigned to teach more than one subject, depending on their certification. Note the types of technology that teachers use and how they manage their labs (most often without an assistant). You’ll also see other parts of a teacher’s day, including supervision duties in the halls and lunchroom, extracurricular activities, and tutoring.

But a teacher’s day does not end at 3:00, as I assume you realize. Staff meetings, professional development sessions, and managing a laboratory all require time beyond the school day. And teachers have their own “homework”—grading lab reports and tests, planning and revising lessons, preparing and organizing other learning materials, and keeping current on content and pedagogy through courses, workshop, and on-line studies. Much of this homework continues over holiday and summer breaks.

The state’s education department website should have a section on the science standards by grade level or subject and information on any standardized assessments that are administered at the secondary level, including end-of-course exams, for which you would be responsible. (If your state has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards, NSTA has a wealth of resources to help you become familiar with them. See NGSS@NSTA)

Continue reading …

Posted in Ms. Mentor | Tagged | Leave a comment

NSTA’s K–12 Science Education Journals: February 2015 Issues Online

Energy and Matter; Science and Language Arts; and Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information—these are the themes of the February 2015 journal articles from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Browse through the thought-provoking selections below and learn more about how your brain pays attention, the synergy between physical education and physical science, reading and writing alignment across content areas, teaching graph literacy, confronting ambiguity in science, modeling molecular machinery, the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and other important topics in K–12 science education.

Science and Children

cover of the February 2015 issue of Science and Children Energy and Matter is one of the most difficult of the crosscutting concepts in the Next Generation Science Standards for elementary teachers to develop. The ideas, tips and strategies in this issue of S&C will help equip you to introduce this crosscutting concept to your students

Featured articles (please note, only those marked “free” are available to nonmembers without a fee):

Science Scope

2015FebScopeCoverThe Common Core State Standards for English language arts (CCSS ELA) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) share common goals for student literacy. This issue explores strategies for achieving literacy in science and technical subjects for students in grades 6–8.

Featured articles (please note, only those marked “free” are available to nonmembers without a fee):

The Science Teacher

2015FebTSTCoverIt’s arguable that all science learning begins and ends with obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information. We think of scientists and engineers working in the laboratory or outside during field research, but it turns out that reading and writing comprise over half the work of practicing scientists and engineers. Communicating science and engineering understanding is challenging, but the rewards are great, giving students a unique opportunity to synthesize ideas and solidify understanding. You can start by having students keep a science notebook or journal—including drawings, numbers, and words. We hope this issue inspires you to reinforce this important practice in the classroom. YouTube fans, watch high school science teacher and TST Field Editor, Steve Metz, introduce this month’s issue. Metz explains why this month’s topic so important. For starters, did you know that reading and writing comprise over half the work of practicing scientists and engineers?

graphic inviting readers to listen to TST Field Editor Steve Metz introduce the February 2015 issue of TSTFeatured articles (please note, only those marked “free” are available to nonmembers without a fee):

 Get these journals in your mailbox as well as your inbox—become an NSTA member!

Follow NSTA

 Facebook icon  Twitter icon  LinkedIn icon  Pinterest icon  G+ icon  YouTube icon  Instagram icon
      
Posted in NSTA Membership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s a Great Time for the Latest Next Time You See Books

Emily Morgan, popular NSTA Press co-author of the Picture-Perfect Science Lessons series, has recently added three new books to the Next Time You See series: Next Time You See a Maple Seed, Next Time You See the Moon, and Next Time You See a Pill Bug.

In a note to parents and teachers, Morgan explains that “the books in this series are intended to be read with a child after he or she has had some experience with the featured objects or phenomena….The Next Time You See books are not meant to present facts to be memorized. They were written to inspire a sense of wonder about ordinary objects or phenomena and foster a desire to learn more about the natural world.”

mapleseedWhat we often call maple seeds are really the fruit produced by a maple tree. These winged fruits are known as samaras. They are also a source of delight for children as they watch them spin through the air like tiny helicopters. Have you and your students ever wondered why they do that? Learn about maple seeds and what it takes for one to actually grow into a maple tree.

moonThe Moon has fascinated mankind through the ages. Its beauty and changing shape have inspired art, music, poetry, and storytelling throughout history. Have you and your students ever discussed why the Moon appears to have different shapes at different times of the month? The explanations and stunning photography in this book can help your students understand more about the Moon’s orbit and its different phases.

pillbugThe pill bug is a tiny roly-poly creature often found under rocks. Studying these members of the crustacean family, you and your students will learn that pill bugs are actually isopods, which means that all 14 of their feet are the same. This makes them different from their cousins, the crab and the lobster.

These books also have downloadable companion classroom activities: Next Time You See a Maple Seed, Next Time You See the Moon, and Next Time You See a Pill Bug. These activities are designed to be done before and after reading the books. Feel free to pick and choose from the list based on the age of the children and your purpose for reading.

These books are also available as e-books: Next Time You See a Maple Seed, Next Time you See the Moon, and Next Time You See a Pill Bug

NSTA Kids book are trade books dedicated to nurturing the wonder and curiosity inherent in young minds. Learn more about these books geared toward elementary-age students (grades K–6).

Posted in NSTA Press Books | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Science of Design: Structure and Function: Featured Strand at NSTA’s 2015 National Conference on Science Education in Chicago, IL, March 12-15

graphic highlighting the #NSTA15 Chicago conference strand on designIf you’ve been to Chicago, you know it’s an ideal place to focus on design and architecture. So this March, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) will feature a special strand “The Science of Design: Structure and Function” at our 2015 National Conference on Science Education, in Chicago, March 12–15. Our conference organizers recognize that architecture and engineering provide the infrastructure for human-made systems, that designing for the future requires imagination and a commitment to sustainability, and that teaching about this involves the crosscutting concepts of structure and function and the practices of science and engineering. Communities like Chicago provide examples of great design and great science.

Exley HeadshotSessions organized around this strand include a featured presentation on Friday, March 13, 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM (“The Power of Play”) by Peter Exley (Architecture is Fun, Inc.: Chicago, IL). Not familiar with Exley? Check out this profile on him in Chicago Artists Month. And there will be hundreds more sessions in Chicago that highlight great design and great science; below is a small sampling so you see what’s in store:

  • The Maker MovementChicago conference preview cover
  • From the Love Canal to Phytoremediation: What’s New in Environmental Engineering?
  • Engaging Girls in Engineering Through Community Service
  • McREL Pathway Session: Green STEM in Elementary Classrooms
  • Understanding Car Crashes: Engineering Truly Impactful STEM Lessons
  • Helping Middle School Students “Discover Engineering”
  • Eco-Structure and Function: Analyzing River Health with Engineering Practices in Problem-based Situations
  • Engineering Design Inspired by Nature

Want more? Check out more sessions and other events with the Chicago Session Browser/Personal Scheduler, or take a peek at the online conference preview (pdf). Follow all our conference tweets using #NSTA15, and if you tweet, please feel free to tag us @NSTA so we see it!

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

Follow NSTA

Twitter Linkedin Facebook Facebook

 

 

Posted in Conferences | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Teaching Every Child by Embracing Diversity: Featured Strand at NSTA’s 2015 National Conference on Science Education in Chicago, IL, March 12-15

graphic showing chicago in the background and the strand name "teaching every child by embracing diversity"This March, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) will feature a special strand “Teaching Every Child by Embracing Diversity” at our 2015 National Conference on Science Education, in Chicago, March 12–15. We’re starting with the knowledge that all classrooms are diverse; learners bring a variety of cultures, backgrounds, and experiences to the study of science. So we want to help educators find new ideas and resources for meeting the needs of all students, including English language learners, students with special needs, and those with diverse learning styles and abilities. Successful instructional approaches must address methods, materials, facilities, and partnerships. These sessions will confirm the belief that every student can excel in science.

Walqui HeadshotSessions organized around this strand include a featured presentation on Thursday, March 12 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM (“Next Generation Science Standards and English Language Learners: The Development of Deep and Generative Practices”) by Aída Walqui (WestEd: San Francisco, CA). Not familiar with Walqui? Check out this interview in Language Magazine, where she discusses Five Principles for Succeeding with Adolescent English Learners. And there will be hundreds more sessions in Chicago to inspire teachers who want every student to have the chance to succeed in science; below is a small sampling so you see what’s in store:

  • Chicago conference preview coverAprendamos Juntos! (Let’s Learn Together): Embracing Native Languages in Non-bilingual Classrooms to Build Intermediate Science Literacy in English
  • Mixed Media Journaling in the Diverse Science Classroom
  • SC-10: STEM for ALL: Practices and Methods that Promote Equal Access to STEM
  • A New Movement: Thinking on Your Feet
  • Science for Bl(all)ck Children: Making Meaning Through Language and Culture
  • Implementing the 3-E Instructional Model to Enhance Science Learning Experiences for Students with Special Needs
  • Your Kids Can, Too! Scientific Argumentation for All Students
  • Any Time, Any Place, Any Pace Lab Science
  • El Club de Padres: Maximize Science Learning for Your Bilingual Students by Promoting a Learning Partnership with Their Parents

Want more? Check out more sessions and other events with the Chicago Session Browser/Personal Scheduler, or take a peek at the online conference preview (pdf). Follow all our conference tweets using #NSTA15, and if you tweet, please feel free to tag us @NSTA so we see it!

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

Follow NSTA

Twitter Linkedin Facebook Facebook

 

 

Posted in Conferences | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response