PSTA News

Please check back often for updated PSTA news.

August 8th - Teacher Workshop "The Ethics of Science and Animals" Click here for more information

Feminizing Science and Math Role Models Discourages Female Students From Pursuing STEM Fields According to New Study

Efforts to promote more feminine role models in STEM fields may actually be discouraging middle schools girls from pursuing these fields, according to a new study published in Social Psychological and Personality Science.
The first study found middle school girls who read about the blatant female role models reduced the students’ interest, perceived ability, and future expectations in math, and they showed less interest in taking future math classes in high school and college than girls who read about role models with non-STEM-specific achievements. Study 2 suggested that girls who already disliked science or felt disconnected from it were even more likely to reject the feminine STEM role model than girls who like science already.
"The bottom line, though, is that this research suggests that we don't need to make role models or STEM fields 'girly' to motivate girls," they told me. "Instead, we should turn to what we already know makes a helpful role model. Girls have to feel like they can relate to or identify with the female scientists they see and learn about. ... Female role models should also be shown as actively involved in science rather than passive observers or tokens: show women really using equipment and conducting research. Teaching girls about what scientists and engineers really do, and especially highlighting their social usefulness and communal aspects, has been found to be motivating for girls."

June 2012 --The STEM Classroom

Have you seen NSTA's new e-newsletter on STEM? This month's issue focuses on generating electricity from water. It includes lessons you can use in your classroom tomorrow, suggestions for interdisciplinary activities, web resources, links to articles, and more. Every month we'll update you on calendar events/happenings in the STEM field and suggest ways you can network with your peers. Click here to view recent issues and sign up to get your own copy of the newsletter.



June 14, 2012 -
2nd Central PA STEM Regional Conference on June 14, 2012 at Milton Area High School.

March 12, 2012 --Norwin School District STEM Summit
The Norwin School District is hosting the First Annual STEM Summit on Monday, March 12, 2012 in the Norwin High School from 8:30 a.m. to noon. A part of the Summit will include sharing of best practices in STEM Education around the county. The tentative agenda for the STEM Summit will include a Keynote Speaker, STEM Panel Discussion, and Breakout Sessions to Share Best STEM Practices (Breakout Sessions will be 30 minutes in length).

February 2012 – PSTA Conference Proposal Time
Submit a proposal for the 2012 PSTA Conference to be held in November.  Check the conferences tab at the top for the new proposal form!

January 2012 --NSTA Releases Reader’s Guide to the Framework for K–12 Science Education. Download it now for FREE!
A Framework for K–12 Science Education provides a broad set of learning expectations for students as they study science and engineering throughout the K–12 yearsNSTA has released a handy Reader’s Guide that unpacks the three key dimensions of the Framework—allowing teachers, administrators, curriculum developers, university professors and others to more easily grasp how the soon-to-be-released Next Generation Science Standards will differ from the current standards. Authored by Harold Pratt, a former NSTA president, career science coordinator, and NRC senior program officer during the development of the National Science Education Standards (NSES), the Reader’s Guide offers the following for each chapter of the Framework:

  • An overview with a brief synopsis of key ideas
  • An analysis of what is similar to and what is different from the NSES
  • A suggested action to help readers understand and start preparing for the NGSS

The NSTA Reader’s Guide to the Framework for K–12 Science Education is an important companion to the Framework and will help science educators as they prepare to incorporate the upcoming standards into their teaching of science and engineering. Visit the NSTA Science Store to download a FREE copy, or visit www.nsta.org/ngss for a link to the Guide along with up-to-date information on work surrounding the Next Generation Science Standards. The Reader’s Guide also will be inserted in the January editions of all NSTA journals.


May 17–19, 2012 - STEM Forum & Expo,
Teachers should plan on being a part of the very first NSTA STEM Forum & Expo in May 2012. For K–8 teachers, high school and college educators knowledgeable about what secondary and college level students need to be successful in STEM course work, and administrators who must educate their teaching staff about STEM, this is a one-of-a-kind event.



November 4-5, 2011 --Students for Sustainable Cities
The Keystone Center is offering Students for Sustainable Cities for middle school teachers and students at Carnegie Science Center on November 4-5. Students for Sustainable Cities is an interdisciplinary program designed to enable teachers to explore with their students the ways that environmental health, social well-being, and economic vitality are interconnected. Each teacher selects one student, and together they learn about sustainability concepts, explore local issues, and devise an action plan to address one of these issues using a Keystone Center curriculum framework. This FREE program includes breakfast and lunch on both days, parking, curriculum materials, a flip camera for project documentation, and mileage reimbursement.  Opportunities to receive a one graduate-level, re-licensure credit and Act 48 Credits are available. Space is limited – apply now! Contact Anne Love at alove@keystone.org or visit http://www.keystone.org/cfe/pel/services/students-for-sustainable-cities

October 25, 2011--NSTA Web Seminar: Making the Transition to Scientific and Engineering Practices: Visiting the Potential of the Next Generation Science Standards

Join NSTA on October 25, 6:30–8:00 pm (Eastern), for a web seminar exploring science and engineering practices, one of three major dimensions of the National Research Council report, A Framework for K–12 Science Education. The Framework serves as the foundation for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) now in development and scheduled for release late next year. To register, go to the NSTA Learning Center.

2011-2012 Academic Year  -
Reserve your Spot for PSBR Biomedical Workshops

Student Science Literacy Workshop – FREE -- Biomedical research continues to make amazing advances in alleviating human and animal disease and suffering.  This workshop is free and includes presentations and interactive discussions with researchers, a tour of laboratory and animal facilities, and materials to bring back to the classroom.   Currently scheduling for the 2011-2012 school year in the Philadelphia and Pittsburgh areas.  Other locations can be scheduled by request.  Contact us to schedule a workshop:  psbr@psbr.org.

December 1, 2011 -  Barbara Lotze Scholarship Applications to AAPT due

October 15, 2011 - State Department's Fulbright Teacher Exchange Program applications are due.

September 25, 2011 -
Participate in the NBC EducationNation Teacher Town Hall

Join educators from the across the country on Sunday, September 25, to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing our schools in the second-annual nationally televised Teacher Town Hall. Hosted by Brian Williams, the educator-only forum will provide a unique and visible platform for educators from across the country to make their voices heard. NBC News is also inviting teachers from across the country to join the conversation virtually by registering to take part in the conversation at EducationNation.com. Registration for this event will be available in early September 2011. This special event is part of the 2011 Education Nation National Summit, which consists of live events and panel sessions on Rockefeller Plaza in New York City and is complemented by education reports and programming across the network’s shows and platforms during the week of September 25

August 31, 2011 -
Cabrini Named Host Site for Science Olympiad State Office

 The Pennsylvania Science Olympiad State Office has a new home – Cabrini College, which also hosts the Science Olympiad’s annual Southeastern Pennsylvania Regional Tournament.  The state office had been operating for the past 27 years from the home of former Pennsylvania Science Olympiad State Office founder Dick Smith. The office has expanded to involve more than 300 schools across the state.  Teachers at middle schools and high schools in Pennsylvania who plan on entering teams in the 2012 Science Olympiad should visit www.cabrini.edu/pascienceolympiad for information on how to participate in one of the six regional tournaments.  Top teams from the tournaments will go on to compete at the state tournament held at Juniata College in Huntington, Pa.



July 19, 2011:

National Research Council Releases A Framework for K–12 Science Education:
Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas
K12 Science Education

The National Research Council (NRC) today released its much-anticipated report that presents a new framework for K–12 science education and identifies the key concepts and practices that all students should learn. A Framework for K–12 Science Education offers a new vision for K–12 education in science and engineering, and represents a significant shift in how these subjects are viewed and taught.

According to the report, "K–12 science and engineering education should focus on a limited number of disciplinary core ideas and crosscutting concepts, be designed so that students continually build on and revise their knowledge and abilities over multiple years, and support the integration of such knowledge and abilities with the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design."

The framework will serve as the basis for the Next Generation Science Standards, a state-led effort managed by Achieve, Inc. The framework will also inform the work of curriculum and assessment developers, researchers, teacher educators, and others.

Read the full report A Framework for K–12 Science Education
Read the NRC press release
Read NSTA press statement on the framework
Read the Education Week article on the release of the NRC framework
For a report brief, Q&A, and additional information, click here.

NSTA and the National Research Council will present a web seminar on Tuesday, July 26, at 6:30 p.m. to explore major new components of the framework. The web seminar is free and open to all. The web seminar will also be archived and accessible after the event.

For updates, resources, and insights on the conceptual framework, as well as the work surrounding new science standards, visit the dedicated NSTA web page—Next Generation Science Standards.

Order Now ---Earth Science Week 2011 Toolkits
Earth Science Week 2011 will be celebrated October 9–15. To give you plenty of time to prepare, the American Geological Institute (AGI) is now accepting advance orders for the 2011 Earth Science Week Toolkit, which contains educational materials for all ages that correspond to this year's theme of "Our Ever-Changing Earth." The toolkit will be sent in August 2011.  To learn more about this week and to pre-order your 2011 Toolkit, please visit the Earth Science Week site at www.earthsciweek.org or the AGI Publications page.

Plan ahead:
September 14, 2011 -- Social Media Summit at Harrisburg University ….look at their session offerings and register now!

July  2011 - NSTA Board Adopts New Position Statement: Quality Science Education and 21st-Century Skills

The NSTA Board of Directors voted to adopt a new position statement acknowledging the value of 21st-century skills within the context of science education. The statement advocates for the science education community to support 21st-century skills consistent with best practices across a science education system and notes that “exemplary science education can offer a rich context for developing many 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, and information literacy.” To view the statement, click here. To view all NSTA position statements, click here.

September 1, 2011 – Application deadline for PSTA Awards
July 30-31, 2011 --The Astronomical Society of the Pacific presents: In the Footsteps of Galileo: A Hands-on Workshop on Astronomy for Teachers in Grades 3 – 12 (and those who work with them) See more information here.

July  12, 2011 - K–12 STEM Education Policy Conference
This is one summer event you will not want to miss. Six leading STEM organizations—including NSTA, the American Chemical Society, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, the STEM Education Coalition, and the Hands-On Science Partnership—will be hosting an amazing conference this July 12–13 in Washington DC solely dedicated to STEM education policy. If you are interested in the future of STEM education, and want to make your voice heard, then plan now to join us this summer.

Space will be limited! For more information or to pre-register for the conference, contact Jodi Peterson, jpeterson@nsta.org.




June 20-24, 2011 -- Penn State Law & Education Institute
-- the 2011 Law and Education Institute with Penn State's College of Education is a fairly new event, founded in the last 3 or 4 years.  The Law & Education Institute covers religion, student rights, labor and employment issues in school, and a great deal more. It is approved for Act 45 and 48 credits (for teachers) as well as CLE credits (for lawyers). Please feel free to circulate this information to members. The URL to learn more would be: http://www.outreach.psu.edu/cape/education-law/index.asp. Thanks for your help.

June 15, 2011 - The First Annual Central PA STEM Regional Conference will be held on June 15, 2011 at the Pasquerilla Conference Center in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. The conference promises to be an excellent opportunity to learn more about STEM education and the STEM skills that are needed in the workforce of the 21st century. Attached is a conference flier. Registration is only $30 and is available via www.francis.edu/stemconference.html Additional information about the many excellent breakout session presentations are also available at the conference website. We hope to see you there!


June 13, 2011 --Apply now – 2011 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy
Science teachers located throughout the country, who will be entering their second or third year of teaching and whose schedule is a minimum of 51 percent middle or high school science, are encouraged to apply to the 2011 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy. Applications must be submitted no later than June 13, 2011 to be considered.

NSTA Fellows chosen for the program receive a comprehensive membership package, online mentoring with trained mentors who teach in the same discipline, and the opportunity to participate in a variety of web-based professional development activities, including web seminars. In addition, each NSTA Fellow receives financial support to attend and participate in NSTA's National Conference on Science Education, taking place in Indianapolis, March 29–April 1, 2012.

May 2011 --Anticipating the Science Conceptual Framework
In the first installment of a new web series, an NSTA article, Anticipating the Conceptual Framework for Science Education (PDF), takes an early look at the soon-to-be released framework and explores its development, role, possible content, and relationship to science standards. NSTA’s goal is to help science educators prepare for the Next Generation Science Standards by better understanding the framework on which they will be built.
The National Research Council (NRC) and Achieve, Inc., with support from NSTA and AAAS, have embarked on a two-step process to develop science standards. The first step is to develop a Conceptual Framework that is grounded in current research and identifies the science all K–12 students should know. The NRC is conducting this work and is expected to release the framework in late spring. This framework will not only be a guide for developing the standards—a process led by Achieve, Inc.—it will be a valuable resource for many in the science education community.

Check the website often for updates on the framework and standards work and to read additional articles that take an in-depth look at the content of the Conceptual Framework when it is released.


May 2011 -- New Report Say Elementary Teachers Critical to Advancing STEM Education
A new report released earlier this month by the Center for American Progress, contends that an often neglected but critical focus on improving STEM learning in U.S. school is a concerted emphasis on strengthening the selection and preparation of elementary school teachers so that they can adequately teach math and science to students.
“We cannot wait any longer to get serious about STEM policy,” said the report. “Strengthening our elementary school teachers in math and science is the first critical step in the right direction.”
The report includes five specific recommendations:

  • Implement teacher compensation policies that make elementary teaching more attractive to college graduates and career changers with strong STEM backgrounds;
  • Include more math and science content and pedagogy in schools of education;
  • Require teacher candidates to pass math and science subsections of licensure exams; and

Explore innovation staffing models that extend the reach of elementary level teachers with an affinity for math and science and demonstrated effectiveness in teaching them.

May 2011-- Energy Sec'y Chu, Education Sec'y Duncan, and NSTA Exec. Dir. Eberle Team Up to Announce New Energy Education Initiative
Last week U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu joined with U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan and NSTA Executive Director Francis Eberle to announce the launch of the America’s Home Energy Education Challenge, a competition that will be run by NSTA to educate students about the benefits of energy efficiency, motivate them to play an active role in how their families use energy, and help families across the country save money.

This fall, school teams in grades 3–8 participating in the Home Energy Challenge will be asked to implement energy efficiency activities that reduce the energy use in their homes. Teams will be asked to monitor and measure their energy consumption over a specific three-month period and compare it to data from the same period the year before, to track if they have successfully reduced their energy use. Participating schools can compete for more than $200,000 in prizes that will be distributed at the regional and national levels of the competition, including some additional prizes for honorable mention competitions. All participating schools and students will receive a DOE certificate of recognition, along with benefitting from the energy and money savings that come with energy efficiency improvements.


Students can also earn an Energy Fitness Award via a number of online activities where they will improve their knowledge of energy use in buildings, better understand energy-saving techniques, identify local energy-saving opportunities, develop an energy savings plan, and learn to undertake various energy use calculations.

“Energy efficiency is all about helping families save money by saving energy,” said Secretary Chu.  “America’s Home Energy Education Challenge leverages the passion and curiosity of students to encourage families across the country to reduce energy waste in their homes while inspiring the next generation of America’s energy leaders.”

“Science teachers nationwide will recognize that America’s Home Energy Education Challenge is a valuable teaching tool that encourages active learning about energy and science and will help students to connect science to real world applications,” said Dr. Francis Eberle.

To register to join America’s Home Energy Ed ucation Challenge or to find more information, please visit www.homeenergychallenge.org.


March 2011 - Find Local Scientists in Your Area with the National Lab Network
Planning and preparing for science fair and end-of-year projects? There are a number of ways that the National Lab Network can help. Many teachers participated in National Lab Day (NLD) last year. Well, NLD has expanded and rebranded to National Lab Network (NLN) NLN gives you instant access to thousands of volunteer scientists, engineers, technology experts and even mathematicians who are waiting to help you! Just go to www.nationallabnetwork.org, sign up so the volunteers can also look for you.

2011 National Environmental Education Week, April 10–16
Register today to join thousands of educators and students across the country in exploring our vital connection to the ocean during National Environmental Education Week (EE Week), April 10–16, 2011. EE Week, the nation's largest environmental education event held each year the week before Earth Day, inspires environmental learning and stewardship among K–12 students. EE Week connects educators with environmental resources to promote K–12 students' understanding of the environment. The 2011 theme is Ocean Connections.

 

February 1, 2011 – The Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia, PA will officially launch the International Year of Chemistry (IYC 2011) is a worldwide celebration of chemistry and its contributions to the well-being of humankind. Explore chemistry all year through special CHF events and programs and countless other IYC 2011 activities across the globe.
January 30, 3011 – Pennsylvania Society for Biomedical Research sponsors Essay Contests for Middle School and High School students.  Check out the content guidelines and encourage students to enter.

January 15, 2011-
Participate in a survey to help pick webinar topics.--Green Teacher magazine is excited to announce that we will be hosting up to 30 one hour, free webinars, from February through November. Each will address a particular environmental education topic and feature one or more guest presenters. To ensure that the webinar topics meet the greatest needs of environmental educators, we are have created a short survey at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/76KDMXX.    Help us decide whether we should have a webinar on teaching young children about energy conservation, or one on leading youth groups on outdoor hikes – or both, or something entirely different!  The survey will be available until February 9th and takes but five minutes to complete.  All responses will be kept confidential.


Spring is Science Olympiad Season – visit http://projects.juniata.edu/scioly/index.html to find out more about Science Olympiad in Pennsylvania

National Wildlife Week-- March 14-20, 2011. ---In 2011 National Wildlife Federation is celebrating its 75th anniversary. To mark this milestone the focus of National Wildlife Week will be all about wildlife—the wildlife we’ve protected for 75 years and the wildlife we are still working to protect today. There will be free downloadable posters, fun activities and project ideas for every day of the week. www.nwf.org

Nominate an Innovative High School Science Teacher --Calling all U.S. high school science department chairs and administrators: It’s time to nominate teachers for the 2011 AAAS Leadership in Science Education Prize for High School Teachers. The $1,000 prize honors a high school science teacher who has advanced science education by developing and implementing an effective strategy, activity, or program.  The winner will also receive a complimentary one-year institutional subscription to Science magazine and will be invited to attend and make a brief presentation at the annual Shanghai International Forum on Science Literacy of Pre-college Students as a guest of the Shanghai Association for Science and Technology. To access prize details, nomination forms, and application forms, click here.

January 25, 2011 --On Tuesday, January 25, 2011 at 6:30 pm NSTA will host a web seminar that will  review the newly released National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)  2009 Science report.  To join us in this free web seminar to inform and discuss the NAEP 2009 report on science.  Click here to register.

January 14, 2011 – Earlybird Deadline for NSTA National in San Francisco - Ring in the new year with updated content knowledge, new teaching strategies, and the latest in best practices. Reserve your spot at the premier event for science teachers scheduled for March 10–13 in exciting San Francisco. Save the most when you register by January 14, the earlybird deadline. Check out what NSTA has in store for you!

March 9, 2011 -- Heading to San Francisco for the NSTA National Conference?  Why not go a day early to participate in the National Science Education Leadership Association’s Professional Development Institute.  For more information

January 15, 2011 – Proposals due for NSTA Regional Conferences

January 1, 2011 – PSTA Officers Begin Terms

January 1, 2011 –
Happy New Year from PSTA!!!!


December 2, 2010 – PSTA Announces Award Recipients
The following were recognized during the annual PSTA Awards Banquet held on Thursday, December 2, 2010 at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center.

November 14, 2010 - NSTA and Children's Book Council Release 2011 List of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12
NSTA and the CBC have selected the annual list of Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12. The list of titles includes everything from conservation to physics and features read-aloud books, encyclopedia-type texts, and even poetry. Teachers, parents, librarians, and anyone else who loves reading with children will want to get their hands on these titles.

November 9, 2010 - Intel Survey of Teen Intends to Spark Debate about Math and Science Confidence vs. Performance
Despite high personal confidence in math and science, American teenagers are not confident in their country’s ability to compete in these subjects, a new survey released earlier this month by Intel suggests. The findings reveal that teens, as individuals, may not feel a part of what they acknowledge is a math and science problem plaguing the country—a problem illustrated by the United States’ poor performance on global rankings.

The teens surveyed primarily attributed their minimal confidence in our national math and science abilities to a lack of hard work and discipline, but not a lack of school funding or resources. This may suggest they need to be challenged more in the classroom. Yet, the silver lining is that, contrary to perceptions that American teenagers are apathetic about math and science, students highly value the importance of these subjects and understand the role of math and science to their futures.  To read more about the findings, visit http://newsroom.intel.com/community/intel_newsroom/blog/2010/11/09/are-american-teens-asking-for-a-challenge

November 2010 - NSTA Board Adopts New Position Statement—Teaching Science and Technology in the Context of Societal and Personal Issues
The NSTA Board of Directors voted recently to adopt a newly revised position statement advocating for K–16 science instruction to be provided within the context of personal and societal issues. The statement recognizes the influence that science and technology have on our lives, and how these issues provide a rich and motivating context in which students can learn the principles and practices of science and technology. The statement gives recommendations on what students should know and be able to do and how science instruction should occur within the context of societal and personal issues.

November 2010 - Presidential Advisors Release Plan to Improve K–12 STEM Education
A new report by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) that will go directly to President Obama makes specific recommendations to better prepare America’s K–12 students in STEM subjects and how to better inspire all students to challenge themselves with STEM classes, engage in STEM activities outside the school classroom, and consider pursuing careers in those fields.

Among the recommendations in the report, Prepare and Inspire: K–12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America’s Future, are that the Federal government should:

  • Recruit and train 100,000 great STEM teachers over the next decade who are able to prepare and inspire students;
  • Recognize and reward the top 5 percent of the Nation’s STEM teachers, by creating a STEM master teachers corps;
  • Create 1,000 new STEM-focused schools over the next decade;
  • Use technology to drive innovation, in part by creating an advanced research projects agency—modeled on the famously innovative Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)—for education;
  • Create opportunities for inspiration through individual and group experiences outside the classroom;
  • Support the current state-led movement for shared standards in math and science.

PCAST is comprised of 20 of the Nation’s leading scientists and engineers appointed by the President to provide advice on a range of topics.


 

 

 
     
 


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