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Local and national professional development, teaching resources, grants, and student competitions. Stay connected as we work to support high quality science instruction for all!

Grants & Student Competitions
Calling All Teachers: Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Program

Registration for the 24th annual Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision program—the world’s largest K–12 student science competition—is now open. The deadline for all project submissions is February 1, 2016.

Through the competition, teams of 2 to 4 students are challenged to research scientific principles and current technologies as the basis for designing innovative technologies that could exist in 20 years. Students simulate real scientific research to outline how they plan to test their ideas and create mock websites to illustrate concepts. Student participants will have a chance to win a number of great prizes, including $10,000 U.S. Series EE Savings Bonds (at maturity). Canadian winners receive Canada bonds purchased for the equivalent issue price in Canadian dollars. And to celebrate ExploraVision’s 24th anniversary, the top 24 teachers who submit 24 eligible online entries will receive a Toshiba tablet.

Teachers can learn more information by visiting the frequently asked questions page on the ExploraVision website.

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National Opportunities
A Space Engineer’s Guide to Exploration

This week on Lab Out Loud, guest Shaun Whitehead shares his journey from dreaming of being an astronaut to becoming a space engineer and founder of Thumbsat. Whitehead now provides the engineering reality to put experiments in space with Thumbsat, a thumbsize platform for space exploration complete with microcontroller, camera, radio, GPS, and temperature sensors. Thumbsat data can be harvested through Thumbnet’s global network of monitoring stations (which can be built by schools). Listen to Lab Out Loud to find out how students can put an experiment into space.

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Science Teaching Resources
EQuIP Rubric for NGSS Science Released

The Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products (EQuIP) Rubric for science provides criteria by which to measure the alignment and overall quality of lessons and units with respect to the NGSS.


LinkEngineering is a community of educators working with PreK–12 students in classrooms or other settings. This includes—but is not limited to—teachers, teacher educators, and administrators. The site allows members to connect with each other and engineering education experts. LinkEngineering is a resource website that provides examples of engineering in educational settings. It also provides background information on engineering and engineering design.

BioMusic in the Classroom for February

An NSTA member declared BioMusic in the Classroom a “very cool” free resource (with teacher’s guide for K–12); in BioMusic, scientists study the sounds created by living organisms, focusing on patterns, pitch, and rhythm, as well as the use of sound for both aesthetics and communication. The National Optical Astronomy Observatory’s Early Childhood Astronomy Lessons teach preK–3 students about cool topics like shadows and the properties of light. And what could be cooler than Slow Motion Magnets and Upside-Down Water—just two of the many demonstrations, experiments, activities, and lessons on STEM topics at, developed by Guy Blaylock, associate professor of physics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Chill out this month with more Freebies for Science Teachers.

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