Newton Network Newsletter: December 2011

Newton Network News:

Greetings from the Newton Network!

Welcome to December! We hope you are looking forward to your winter break and the chance to relax and enjoy your family and friends. This month we are focusing on technology you can use in the classroom; including educational apps for smart phones and tablets, free software from Google, and, of course, Web 2.0 tools. Have a great break and a Happy New Year!

Once again, please pass your newsletter on to your colleagues and let them know that they can sign up for their own newsletter by going to the Newton website.

In This Issue:

Mars Curiosity RoverCuriosity- On November 26, 2011, NASA launched the Mars Science Laboratory. The laboratory included the latest rover, Curiosity. Curiosity is different than previous Mars rovers: it carries more scientific instruments like a drill and scoop, and even an X-ray diffraction instrument used for identifying minerals. Your students can follow the Curiosity and its journey.

PBS Learning MediaPBS Learning Media is a free online source of digital resources for educators. The resources include videos, interactive lesson plans, activities for Interactive Whiteboards, and more. Educators can save their favorite lesson plans and even share them with other teachers. PBS Learning Media also offers technical support and training on how to use their site and resources. Though PBS Learning Media requires educators to register, it is completely free.

Google Earth– Google provides many great resources for teachers of all subjects and grades, and one of them is Google Earth. Google Earth is free software available to everyone. It is an interactive program that allows users to view any place in the world in 3D.

Earth from SpaceGoogle also has lesson plans that can help you incorporate Google Earth into your classroom. To view the lesson plans, visit Google Earth for Educators and Google Earth Lesson Plan Library.

Educational Apps– Educational apps for your smart phone or tablet can be beneficial for both you and your students. Many apps can help students keep track of their homework and grades (such as Evernote, available for all types of smart phones and tablets), practice math (such as Kids Numbers and Math, available for Android), and much more. Best of all, many apps are free.

A complete list of the apps available through iTunes.

Educational Android apps are available on the market if you have an Android phone or tablet.

Web 2.0Zunal is a website that hosts webquests on every subject. Users can create their own webquests using templates provided, or search the thousands of free webquests available. Videos, games, quizzes, and more can be added to any webquest. Zunal requires teachers to register, but registration is free.

Professional Development– On December 5, 2011, NASA Explorer Schools and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) will be hosting a live webinar. The webinar will focus on using programmable Texas Instruments, calculators, and Norland Research Robots to solve algebra problems. You do not need to have any of the aforementioned technology to participate.

NASA Explorer Schools and the NSTA will be hosting another live webinar on December 7, 2011. This webinar will focus on the science of heat transfer and heat dissipation as it relates to NASA vehicles. There will also be an introduction to the engineering design challenge, Thermal Protection System.

Upcoming Events– The National Geographic Bee is a nationwide, geography competition held each year by the National Geographic Society. Its purpose is to encourage an appreciation of geography in teachers and students. Starting in September, principals may register their school for the competition. Deadline to register for $110 is December 15, 2011. Registration ends on December 15, 2011.

The Kids’ Science Challenge is a nationwide competition for elementary students in grades 3-6. Each year, students submit questions and experiments for real scientists and engineers to solve. This year’s topics are “Zero Waste”, “Animal Smarts”, and “Meals on Mars”. Registration is currently open and ends February 28, 2012.

It’s time to start getting ready for this year’s Science Olympiad! The Science Olympiad started 28 years ago as a grassroots organization and has since spread across the country. Teams compete in regional competition and then have the chance to move on to the national level. For more information and to view the registration form, visit Science Olympiad.

Newton Network

We need your submissions! Do you have a classroom activity that really excited your students? How about a really great web resource that you have found? We will help you share your resources with other teachers across the state. Send your activities, lesson plans or online resources to us and we will feature you in our newsletter and add your resource to our website. Please contact Robert Newbury at