Next Gen Navigator Makes Its Debut

NSTA is all about supporting teachers in understanding and implementing three-dimensional instruction in their classrooms. The first edition of the Next Gen Navigator, a new monthly e-newsletter from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) out this week will help us do just that. It is an ideal name as we think about how we will navigate the many paths we might take while striving to implement new teaching approaches established in the Framework for K-12 Science Education (Framework) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) in PreK-16 classrooms. When you navigate you are determining the route, but we all know the first route chosen is not always the smoothest or least bumpy. This is also true when thinking about implementing new standards. We may not all travel the same road, but we are all trying to reach the same destination. This wonderful name was chosen for us by one of our members, Jean Flanagan, and this was purposeful because this resource is meant to be a support for the field. 

This e-newsletter will give you insights on the many ways your colleagues are thinking, learning, exploring, and experimenting with three-dimensional learning and the many facets of the NGSS. It will connect you to our expanding number of resources—such as the NGSS@NSTA Hub, journals, web seminars, virtual conferences, and other professional learning opportunities—as well as those outside NSTA. It is also a place for teachers to share successes and challenges, build a greater understanding, and read the latest news around standards.

This first issue focuses on teachers and their journey to understand and implement the NGSS. One thing we all need to do as we move forward in our learning around new teaching approaches is to give ourselves permission to make mistakes on our journey and use what we learned from those mistakes to move forward. We will consider how having a growth mindset provides us with the space to make those mistakes.

We are very excited to share this inaugural issue with you and invite you to be a part of it. We want to hear what you are doing in the classroom with your students, as well as lessons that worked, or didn’t work, on your journey. Reach us at nextgennavigator@nsta.org.

Above all, we want this newsletter to guide you whatever route you have chosen to navigate NGSS.

If the first edition of Next Gen Navigator found its way to your inbox, great! If not and you want to receive this monthly e-newsletter, sign up here.

_______________________________________

Kathy Renfrew

Kathy Renfrew is the field editor for Next Gen Navigator. She is K-5 Science coordinator on the Proficiency Based Learning Team at the Vermont Agency of Education, as well as an NGSS@NSTA curator and online advisor in the NSTA Learning Center. She is also worked with a committee of educators and Achieve to develop model content frameworks for elementary science, particularly for grades 4 and 5. Kathy previously taught grades 4 through 6 in a self-contained classroom for more than 30 years. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and a 2000 recipient of the elementary Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. 
 
 
Visit NSTA’s NGSS@NSTA Hub for hundreds of vetted classroom resources, professional learning opportunities, publicationsebooks and more; connect with your teacher colleagues on the NGSS listservs (members can sign up here); and join us for discussions around NGSS at an upcoming conference.

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

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On the journey to NGSS, follow the path that works for you

Every teacher of science in a school in which NGSS is being implemented is engaged in a transition to standards that are very different from what they are familiar with. This can spark many emotions, including excitement, fear, inspiration, fear, and more excitement. It is a journey in which things are going well, and then you might stumble and fall. Then we must pick ourselves up and start moving again. I know because I am still a NGSS learner myself, and I talk to teachers about this regularly.

When the standards were first released, for example, I worked with a colleague and constructed an integrated instructional sequence for transfer of energy. I was pretty proud of myself. And this lasted until I piloted it with real learners. It had many flaws, but it wasn’t bad for a first try. Now I would do it very differently. After continued learning, I am now in the process of recreating the same transfer of energy instructional sequence. I am bundling the standards differently, using different pieces of texts.

Whether it’s figuring out what lessons to adapt or discard, how to work with colleagues, or how to engage students in phenomena, your colleagues are on the same journey. Read these insights from three educators about their journey to understand and implement the NGSS. They previously appeared in the NSTA member journals.

Adapt or Discard? A Teacher Shares His Experience Implementing the Next Generation Science Standards, From Struggle to Success

by Mike Mangiaracina, a K–5 science specialist in Washington, D.C. (published in Science & Children)

 


My Journey to Understand and Implement the NGSS: One Educator Shares the Story of How She Engaged and Ultimately Embraced the Next Generation Science Standards

by Karen Mesmer, a recently retired middle school science teacher and science coach in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

 

 

 

Climbing the NGSS Mountain: Persistence and a Sense of Purpose Can Propel You to the Top

by Tricia Shelton, a high school science teacher in Florence, Kentucky.

 

 

 

_______________________________________

Kathy Renfrew

Kathy Renfrew is the field editor for Next Gen Navigator. She is K-5 Science coordinator on the Proficiency Based Learning Team at the Vermont Agency of Education, as well as an NGSS@NSTA curator and online advisor in the NSTA Learning Center. She is also worked with a committee of educators and Achieve to develop model content frameworks for elementary science, particularly for grades 4 and 5. Kathy previously taught grades 4 through 6 in a self-contained classroom for more than 30 years. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and a 2000 recipient of the elementary Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. 
 
Visit NSTA’s NGSS@NSTA Hub for hundreds of vetted classroom resources, professional learning opportunities, publicationsebooks and more; connect with your teacher colleagues on the NGSS listservs (members can sign up here); and join us for discussions around NGSS at an upcoming conference.

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

Future NSTA Conferences

2017 National Conference

STEM Forum & Expo

Follow NSTA

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Posted in Next Generation Science Standards | Leave a comment

Permission to stumble on the road to successful implementation of NGSS

So what’s the connection between growth mindset and NGSS? It begins with our own mindsets. We need to know that the implementation of NGSS will be hard work. We will struggle, have a small success, then find ourselves back in the struggle again. For example, you taught a lesson on transfer of energy, and you are feeling pretty good until you realize that you didn’t even begin to address the crosscutting concepts. As teachers, we need to be okay with that. We have to give ourselves and the colleagues with whom we’re collaborating the permission to make mistakes and try again.

Mistakes equal learning for us as educators. Every time we grapple with a new situation, make a mistake, and learn from it, we grow brain neurons. So not only are we growing our mindset, but we are also growing our brains. Pretty impressive for an experienced educator to consider: I am really still learning!

The same is true for our students. We have to be ready to encourage risk taking among our students and to help foster the growth mindset and culture of learning and respect in the classroom. We will have to help students unlearn some of their expectations that you, the teacher, are going to give them the answer. Students will need to see that grappling with concepts is where the real learning happens. Students will need to be praised for work they do, when they persevere and develop a deep understanding, and solve meaningful, relevant problems.

I wanted to know what others thought about this topic, so I sought other educators’ opinions, and this is some of what I heard:

I agree wholeheartedly. It is a work in progress, as all new initiatives are: Grab your bearings and hold on. It’s not going to be easy. But in theory, it’s just applying the best teaching techniques from your personal teacher toolbox. (Third-grade teacher Tricia Dennis)

I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been playing with NGSS for [more than two] years, and now officially have one semester of our actual NGSS physics class under my belt. I have learned and reflected on so much and have found huge growth as a professional during this process. I am actually grateful for the change. It is really forcing me to rethink my practice and step outside my comfort zone. (High school science teacher, Teacher on Special Assignment, Becky McKinney)

I agree. Students are asked to continually and iteratively improve explanations for phenomena and designs that solve problems. I don’t think you can even start day [one] of any unit without understanding how critical it is to support and foster all students in seeking improvement. (Regional Science Coordinator Brian MacNevin)

Agree. For both students and teachers. It’s a requirement for the ideas of revision and essential to inquiry. Students need it as they try things that haven’t been done before, and teachers need to foster it in their students and themselves as they seek to differentiate and match education to students’ prior knowledge and experience. (High school science teacher and NGSS Instructional Coach Janet Lee)

Last but not least are the words from my NGSS eduhero:

It is absolutely critical. As you’ve heard me say, there must be a sliding scale of quality as we implement new standards. I know them as well as anyone, yet I still learn something new all the time. You just have to know to look for and expect growth. (Stephen Pruitt, Commissioner of Education at the Kentucky Department of Education)

We need to remember this transitioning to NGSS is a journey or a sliding scale of improvement, as Stephen says. We need to give ourselves and our students permission to be learners and builders of understanding on this journey.

Interesting Resources to Check Out

_______________________________________

Kathy Renfrew

Kathy Renfrew is the field editor for Next Gen Navigator. She is K-5 Science coordinator on the Proficiency Based Learning Team at the Vermont Agency of Education, as well as an NGSS@NSTA curator and online advisor in the NSTA Learning Center. She is also worked with a committee of educators and Achieve to develop model content frameworks for elementary science, particularly for grades 4 and 5. Kathy previously taught grades 4 through 6 in a self-contained classroom for more than 30 years. She is a National Board Certified Teacher and a 2000 recipient of the elementary Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. 
 
Visit NSTA’s NGSS@NSTA Hub for hundreds of vetted classroom resources, professional learning opportunities, publicationsebooks and more; connect with your teacher colleagues on the NGSS listservs (members can sign up here); and join us for discussions around NGSS at an upcoming conference.

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

Future NSTA Conferences

2017 National Conference

STEM Forum & Expo

Follow NSTA

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

 

Posted in Next Generation Science Standards | Leave a comment

The Green Room: How Climate Change Affects Our Diet

Last year was the warmest year on record. Consequences of a warmer world include melting glaciers, rising sea levels, droughts, flooding, heat waves, and extreme weather. But how does climate change affect our food?

Time magazine describes a “climate-change diet” that may force us to give up some popular foods made scarce by warmer temperatures and extreme weather (Worland 2016). Conversely, some food sources actually benefit from increased temperatures or more atmospheric CO2. For example, potato crops in Northern Europe have a longer growing season these days.

Still, other food species may suffer. Coffee, for example, is sensitive to increased drought conditions and pest populations. Many commercially valuable fish species in the United States have moved north to cooler waters. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that American lobster, red hake, and black sea bass have moved up the east coast by more than 161 km since the late 1960s. Atlantic cod populations have declined for several decades due to warmer ocean temperatures (Meng, Oremus, and Gaines 2016). The EPA offers an excellent summary of climate impacts on our food supply.

Climate change and crops
To look specifically at the effects of climate change on crops, use the climate hot map produced by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Or check out National Geographic’s graphical depiction and explanation of climate change effects on crop production around the world. Finally, the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future has developed an extensive agriculture curriculum with a climate change lesson plan that covers the basics of climate change and its effects on food production.

Climate change and fish
Have your students listen to an 11-minute podcast featuring Roger Griffis, climate change coordinator at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries. He presents a firsthand account of how fisheries respond to changes in fish populations.

For a chemistry perspective, students can watch a video about the effect of ocean acidification on shellfish harvests. Allow your students to explore the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences OceanAdapt website. Changes in distribution are clearly visible for more than 100 marine species, and students can plot data by species, region, date, latitude, and depth.

Conclusion
Although it is unclear exactly what a “climate-change diet” may be, evidence shows that warmer temperatures affect our food supply. What we eat and where those species live are among the many changes at hand in this warming world.

Amanda Beckrich (aabeckrich@gmail.com) is the Upper School assistant director, International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program coordinator, and an environmental science teacher at Christ Church Episcopal School in Greenville, South Carolina.

References
Meng, K.C., K.L. Oremus, and S.D. Gaines. 2016. New England cod collapse and the climate. PLoS ONE 11 (7): e0158487.
Worland, J. Time. 2016. The Climate-Change Diet. December 26.

Editor’s Note

This article was originally published in the March 2017 issue of The Science Teacher journal from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

Get Involved With NSTA!

Join NSTA today and receive The Science Teacher,
the peer-reviewed journal just for high school teachers; to write for the journal, see our Author GuidelinesCall for Papers, and annotated sample manuscript; connect on the high school level science teaching list (members can sign up on the list server); or consider joining your peers at future NSTA conferences.

Posted in The Science Teacher | Leave a comment

Legislative Update: Trump Releases “Skinny Budget” for FY2018

Administration’s Proposal Funds School Choice, Eliminates ESSA Title II and Afterschool Programs

President Trump released his “skinny budget” on Thursday, March 16 and as expected, the budget increases defense and security but cuts funding for key education programs.

The 2018 Budget proposes $59 billion for the Department of Education, a $9.2 billion cut to the Education Department’s $68 billion budget, which would cut agency spending by 13 percent below the 2017 CR level.

Funding for the two largest education programs—Title I (low income) and IDEA (special education)—was not cut. Trump’s plan seeks funding to expand choice options in public and private schools; he is proposing a $168 million increase for Charter Schools Program grants and a new $250 million private school choice program.

Continue reading …

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NSTA Books, eBooks+, and Journals win 2017’s highest honors in educational publishing – REVERE Awards

Logo of the AAP REVERE AwardsThe Association of American Publishers PreK–12 Learning Group has just announced 2017’s winners of the prestigious REVERE Awards, education publishing’s highest honors. The 2017 REVERE Awards honor print and electronic resources for PreK–12 teachers and learners in the classroom setting and beyond. Browse this year’s best of the best in educational resources in AAP’s gallery of 2017 REVERE Award winners and finalists, including these seven NSTA publications.

Supplemental Resources

Book cover of "Inquiring Scientists, Inquiring Readers in Middle School"NSTA Press’s book Inquiring Scientists, Inquiring Readers in Middle School: Using Nonfiction to Promote Science Literacy, Grades 6-8, by Terry Shiverdecker and Jessica Fries-Gaither, is Winner of the REVERE Award for Supplemental Resources–Interdisciplinary Resources. These research-based, classroom-tested lessons integrate all aspects of literacy (reading, writing, speaking, listening, and viewing) with engaging science activities for middle school students. The authors show that embedding nonfiction text and literacy activities into inquiry-based science honors the best practices of both disciplines. The lively activities cover topics from sunlight and the seasons to chemistry, toys, and accidental inventions, all presented in ways so students see the relevance and importance of science in everyday life.

Professional Resources

SNTA eBooks+ title "Nutrition" NSTA’s eBooks+ Nutrition, is Winner of the REVERE Award for Professional Resources–Innovation. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires making informed decisions about personal nutrition using information backed by scientific research. Nutrition, a highly interactive, self-directed professional learning experience, provides an overview of how food, nutrients, and energy are used by the body and how other factors contribute to making healthful choices. Rich with dynamic multimedia, interactive enhancements, and pedagogy, this e-book immerses educators in learning aboutNSTA eBooks+ title "Rocks" nutrition. NSTA’s eBooks+ Rocks is honored as a Finalist this year. The Rocks eBooks+ studies different kinds and categories of rocks, the major formation processes, and the cyclical nature of formation and transformation of rock. A third NSTA eBooks+, Discover the NGSS, is also honored in the category of Professional Resources–Instruction and Classroom Practice. Discover the NGSS: Primer and Unit Planner offers a comprehensive introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards. This interactive e-book undertakes an exploration of the three dimensions of the NGSS—the science and engineering practices, disciplinary core Image of NSTA eBooks+ "Discover the NGSS"ideas, and crosscutting concepts. Using numerous interactive elements, learners analyze classroom videos, answer questions, and develop arguments from evidence while becoming proficient at understanding the structure and significance of the three dimensions.

 

Book cover of NSTA Press book "Science Learning in the Early Years"In the category of Professional Resources–Specific Learning Populations, NSTA Press book Science Learning in the Early Years: Activities for PreK-2, by Peggy Ashbrook, is Winner of the REVERE Award. Engaging children in science activities in the early years capitalizes on their inquisitiveness while introducing them to key skills they’ll use through a lifetime of learning and investigation. This book provides more than 40 activities, all clearly presented and developmentally appropriate for young scientists PreK to 2. Throughout, the author’s focus is on play-based delightful experiences for early childhood learners that enhance and maintain children’s natural curiosity and abilities. The winning book encompasses many of Ashbrook’s writings in her Early Years columns for NSTA’s elementary journal Science and Children. Honored as a Finalist in the category Professional Resources– Subject Areas is NSTA Press book Book cover of NSTA Press book "Uncovering Student Ideas in Earth and Environmental Science"Uncovering Student Ideas in Earth and Environmental Science: 32 New Formative Assessment Probes, by Page Keeley and Laura Tucker.  Formative assessment probes give teachers an easy way to uncover ideas and misconceptions students have about a particular topic. Armed with this information, teachers can structure learning experiences that guide students to deeper understanding. This book offers assessment tools about key areas of Earth and environmental science such as water cycle, weather, climate, weathering and erosion, pollution, and human impact. Included are field-tested teacher materials that provide science background and link to national standards. This volume is the latest addition to Keeley’s 10-volume Uncovering Student Ideas in Science series.

Magazines

Cover of journal issue of The Science Teacher-Summer 2016The Science Teacher, NSTA’s journal for high school teachers, is Winner of the Magazines: Editorial–Departments and Sections REVERE Award for the “Focus on Physics” column. A new column launched in 2016, “Focus on Physics” uses cartoonish drawings and clearly written text to help teachers build an understanding of physical principles among their students. The Science Teacher sought out Paul G. Hewitt, author of a popular physics textbook, to write and illustrate this column.

Each year the REVERE Awards honor the best in education resources and draws attention to the rich array of high-quality teaching materials developed across the educational publishing community. Congratulations to the authors and to the NSTA Press Books, NSTA eBooks+, and NSTA Journals editorial, design, and production teams on these seven Winner and Finalist honors in the 2017 REVERE Awards. For the full list of the 2017 Winners and Finalists, visit the REVERE Awards pages.

Posted in Early Years, NSTA Press Books, The Science Teacher | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Responses

Ed News: Girls Draw Even With Boys In High School STEM Classes

News Roundup banner

This week in education news, girls now make up about half the enrollment in high school STEM classes; new proposed California bill would exempt teachers from paying state income taxes; U.S. Education Secretary releases new ESSA guidelines; results of the Illinois’ state science test delayed more than a year; and the Trump Administration proposes a $9 billion cut to the U.S. Department of Education.

Girls Draw Even With Boys In High School STEM Classes, But Still Lag In College And Careers

Thanks to long-standing efforts by teachers, administrators and nonprofits, girls now make up about half the enrollment in high-school science and math classes. But progress lags beyond the walls of high schools. The percentage of women majoring in STEM fields at California State University, for example, has remained a steady 37 percent since 2007, even though women make up 55 percent of all undergraduates. Click here to read the article featured in EdSource.

California Bill Would Exempt Veteran Teachers From State Income Taxes

Two California state senators think the solution to the state’s teacher shortages can be found in its tax code. Senate Bill 807 would exempt teachers with more than five years of experience from paying state income taxes for the next ten years. That would essentially give every veteran teacher a 4 percent to 6 percent raise overnight. Click here to read the article featured in Education Week.

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Ideas and inspiration from NSTA’s March 2017 K-12 journals

Regardless of what grade level you teach, you the resources in this month’s journals can help make this summer’s eclipse a memorable occasion for your students. Not all students will be back to school on August 21, so this spring is a good time to spark their interest and provide resources.

Each issue includes the 2016 Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12.

The Science Teacher — Eclipse

“Planetary science is well worth revisiting in our high schools, if only to give students better understanding and appreciation of the majestic Sun-Earth-Moon system we experience every day,” according the TST editor. Especially since many for many high school students, there most recent exposure to Earth and Space Science may have been in middle school (or earlier). This summer’s eclipse is a good context to revisit and expand their experiences.

The lessons described in the articles include connections with the NGSS.

For more on the content that provides a context for projects and strategies described in this issue, see the SciLinks topics Climate Change, Eclipses, Food Crops, Life on Other Planets, Moon Phases, Planets, Sustainable Agriculture, Sunspots, Torricelli.

Continue for Science Scope and Science and Children.

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Focus on Physics: Teaching Physics as the Rules of Nature

We all know that to enjoy a game, you must know the rules of the game. Likewise, to appreciate—and even comprehend—your environment, you must understand the rules of nature. Physics is the study of these rules, which show how everything in nature is beautifully interconnected. Physics taught as the rules of nature can be among the most relevant courses in any school, as educationally mainstream as English and history.

Mathematical need not mean computational
Physics has the reputation of being overly mathematical, intimidating many students who are otherwise attracted to science. My teaching experience tells me that it’s not mathematics per se but rather computation that intimidates students. That’s an important distinction. Every serious physics course is mathematical, containing equations. But it also can be noncomputational. By postponing problem solving until a follow-up course, an introductory, noncomputational physics course can be enjoyed by math whizzes and math weaklings alike.

Continue reading …

Posted in The Science Teacher | 1 Response

Science 2.0: Help Students Become Global Collaborators

One day Jared was teaching about the boiling points of common liquids. The year was 1999, and students had to take his word for it when he said those points would vary slightly in the mountains of Nepal versus coastal Miami. Imagine if those students could have investigated the phenomenon collaboratively with peers across the globe. Nowadays, they can.

Meeting the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards makes it possible for students to become global collaborators. The Global Collaborator standard articulates that students should:

  • use digital tools to connect with learners from various backgrounds and cultures;
  • use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts, or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints;
  • contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal; and
  • explore local and global issues and work with others to investigate solutions (ISTE 2016).

Global perspectives
Two strategies can help foster a global approach in our science classrooms. First, students must have a basic understanding of the perspectives of others and the research work of scientists across the globe.

Google can enable this strategy, but standard search results are specific to the student’s own country. To search another nation, find its country code (a part of URLs), to identify the country of origin. NASA offers a comprehensive list. Then, to find search results for a specific country, follow the search terms with “site:.countrycode.” So, the search “Human impact on climate change,” for instance, becomes “Human impact on climate change site:.cn” to bring up results from China. The search results will be much different from those in our own region.

Global classrooms
After students begin to understand the perspectives of others, the second strategy is to have them conduct science inquiry with global communities, where they work together, share results, compare-contrast data, and evaluate their findings.

Find relevant resources within the citizen science movement. National Geographic has a web page dedicated to citizen science projects that will help students connect with others. The Teaching Resources section of that page offers activities, lessons, and educator guides to walk your class through their first citizen science exploration.

Wikipedia has a fantastic list of citizen science projects created by a global community of contributors. Virtually anyone can join the projects within their own classroom. Citizen seismology, to give one example, helps students understand the tectonic movement of our Earth and allows scientists to better predict earthquakes and provide warnings to communities in the most affected areas.

The website www.scistarter.com is famous for a project that involved adding sensors to packages shipped across the globe just to see what types of environmental conditions and abuse those shipments experience going from point A to point B. Students can search the site for projects that pique their interest. To search for a project via a more kid-friendly interface, go to www.pbskids.org/scigirls/citizen-science. Or, students can propose a project of their own to the larger scientific community at http://bit.ly/2jsBrLy.

Conclusion
When students explore and learn with others from around the world, they become global collaborators, developing the skills that may help us solve the most challenging scientific problems of the coming decades.

Ben Smith (ben@edtechinnovators.com) is an educational technology program specialist, and Jared Mader (jared@edtechinnovators.com) is the director of educational technology, for the Lincoln Intermediate Unit in New Oxford, Pennsylvania. They conduct teacher workshops on technology in the classroom nationwide.

Reference
International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). 2016. The 2016 ISTE standards for students. Arlington, VA: ISTE. http://bit.ly/ISTE-standards.

Editor’s Note

This article was originally published in the March 2017 issue of The Science Teacher journal from the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

Get Involved With NSTA!

Join NSTA today and receive The Science Teacher,
the peer-reviewed journal just for high school teachers; to write for the journal, see our Author GuidelinesCall for Papers, and annotated sample manuscript; connect on the high school level science teaching list (members can sign up on the list server); or consider joining your peers at future NSTA conferences.

Posted in Science 2.0, The Science Teacher | 1 Response