Newton Network Newsletter: January 2011

Newton Network News:
Greetings from the Newton Network!

Welcome to the New Year! We hope you enjoyed your vacation and time with your families and friends. This month, we are pleased to introduce a new monthly feature in the newsletter and new resources to help you with your lessons and classroom activities. We also have more professional development opportunities for you and a chance to learn about the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

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

In This Issue:

Scott's hut on Ross IslandHeroic Age of Antarctic Exploration– The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration lasted from the late 1890s to the early 1920s. It began with the desire to be the first to reach the geographical South Pole, accomplished by Norwegian Roald Amundsen in 1912, beating Englishman Captain Robert Scott by a few weeks. The expeditions that explored the Antarctic gave us a new understanding of our oceans, geography, animal science, and much more. Learn more about Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition on PBS. The site also includes lesson plans on icebergs, using latitude and longitude, and nutrition for grades 5-8. View the lesson plan on emperor penguins, the largest penguin species, for grades 6-8.

Web 2.0– The Newton Network is pleased to announce a new monthly feature of the newsletter: Web 2.0 tools. Each month we will highlight a Web 2.0 website with free tools available to teachers of all grades and subjects.

This month we would like to introduce you to Class Tools. Class Tools offers teachers the opportunity to design games, quizzes, diagrams, and other activities for any subject. You can create arcade games, diagrams, and even electronic books using the material you teach in class. You then host the activity on your blog or website, allowing each student to complete the activity when they need to. Class Tools is free and does not require a membership.

NASA Explorer Schools– NASA Explorer Schools Project provides students in grades 4-12 the opportunity to become more involved in STEM education while learning about NASA and its missions. The NES Project uses a virtual campus to provide teachers and students with the materials they need. Participating teachers are also offered professional development opportunities through the virtual campus. Registration for the NES Project is free and available to all teachers and administrators in the U.S.

Professional Development– UNLV is offering an online course ENV 794, Global Climate Change. All tuition, fees, and books for the class are paid by the Nevada System of Higher Education Change Infrastructure Project. The class begins January 17, 2011 and is available to secondary science teachers. If you are interested, e-mail a copy of the forms; Non-Degree Seeking Graduate Student, Residency Application, and your 2010-2011 teaching contract to Juan McAlister at You can also contact Juan McAlister at (702) 992-2637 for more information.

PBS TeacherLine is offering teachers of all grade levels and subjects the opportunity to participate in spring classes. The classes begin January 26, 201. STEM education classes include “Inspire Elementary Students with Engineering” and the complete list can be found on PBS.

More information on TeacherLine and what they offer.

Webinars are a great way to continue your professional development when your schedule allows it. ThinkFinity has numerous webinars focusing on using the ThinkFinity website and other technology websites in the classroom. For the list of current webinars, visit Thinkfinity.

PBS Teachers offers free webinars for teachers. Archived webinars are also available for viewing and include topics such as “Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day” and “Middle Level STEM Education”.

EdWeek is hosting an upcoming webinar “Creating Quality E-Courses” that focuses on how to create successful online courses for students. EdWeek also archives past webinars that are accessible for six months past airing date. Past webinars include “Powering Up Mobile Learning”, focusing on integrating technology in the classroom. View a list of all available webinars.

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New ResourcesSidewalk Universe is the blog of a local amateur astronomer in northern Nevada. The author of the blog sets up his telescope at the Sparks Marina and teaches anyone who wants a look through the telescope about astronomy. He was the winner of the 2007 Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Las Combres Amateur Outreach Award for his educational outreach to k-12 students and the public. He frequently posts when he will be setting up the telescope and any events he might be attending on his blog.

TeachersFirst contains lesson plans and activities for all grade levels and subjects. They also include professional development information and opportunities and Web 2.0 resources. A free TeachersFirst account also allows you to organize your favorite lesson plans and create a homepage for your students and the parents to interact with.

ThinkFinity is part of the Verizon Foundation, and offers teaching and learning resources for students and teachers of all grades and subjects. ThinkFinity offers interactive lesson plans such as “Power Play”, a game about making and using power; after-school activities that involve both the student and parent; and professional development opportunities including webinars.

Annual Report– The Newton Network is a grant-funded outreach program sponsored by the Nevada Department of Education Mathematics and Science Partnership Grant. The Newton Network is based in the Raggio Research Center, College of Education, at the University of Nevada, Reno. The Raggio Research Center recently published its first annual report. You can view the annual report here.

Newton NetworkAnnenberg Media will be known as Annenberg Learner starting January 1, 2011 and will be updating its homepage and materials to include the new name. The web address and phone number (1-800-LEARNER) for Annenberg Learner will remain the same.

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