Newton Network Newsletter: January 2012


As many of you know, the Newton Newsletter is well established and into our seventh year. We have expanded and continued to develop our website and now we even have a popular presence on Facebook. We communicate to more than 75% of all the teachers, and more than 95% of the high school teachers in Nevada.

However, the funding source supporting us will end this summer. We are presently in search of new funding and have some pretty good prospects. That said, the most important information we can provide to potential funding agencies is YOUR opinion.

Do our brief summaries make it easy for you to get helpful information quickly? Do the links get you to places and things you can use? Does Facebook help you access information? Do our Web 2.0 tools expand and extend your educational practice?

Bottom Line: Does our Newton Network help you - the Educators of Nevada?

This is not a formal survey and we are not asking specific questions of you. Our request to you is that you forward this newsletter back to Michael Leverington ( or Robert Newbury ( with a simple message such as: "I read the Newton Network Newsletter every month", or "NN helps me find helpful new activities for my classroom", etc. For our own reference and that of potential funders, we would appreciate your brief and honest opinion of how our efforts serve you.

This notice is placed in both the January and February newsletter (but you only need to respond once :). With your feedback and support, we will move forward with seeking funding, and continue to do our best to serve the most important readership in the state: you, Nevada's Educators.

Newton Network News:
Greetings from the Newton Network!

Welcome to 2012! We hope you had a wonderful winter break with your family and friends. To start off the New Year, we have some great activities for your students and information on grants. We also have professional development opportunities for you and new resources you can use in the classroom.

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:

STEM Resource Center– PBS’s STEM Education Resource Center offers free STEM resources for grades PK-12. The STEM resources are broken down by both subject and grade, making it easy to search for what you need. Resources include videos, interactive online games and websites, Web 2.0 tools, lesson plans, and more. The STEM Education Resource Center also has professional development opportunities and free webinars for teachers.

Earth to the Solar System

NASA’s From Earth to the Solar System (FETTSS) is an online collection of space photos that is open to the public. You can create your own space exhibition by downloading the photos from the FETTSS website for free. The FETTSS also has supplemental materials to help you create your own exhibit.

Water Planet Challenge and GrantThe Water Planet Challenge (WPC) is all about understanding how much we depend on water and what we can do to ensure we keep it clean. The WPC provides seven action guides you and your students can use to get more involved. Action guides include “What’s On Your Fork?”, which provides information on how food and water are linked. The WPC also has free resources for teachers, including resources on gulf spills, energy and water efficiency and more.

The Water Planet Challenge Grant is to help students and teachers improve the quality and safety of our water supply in their community. The grant is funded by the National Education Association Foundation and is for $2,000. Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis.

Web 2.0PBWorks Education is an online classroom workspace made for teachers and students. Teachers can create their own workspaces to reach their students and parents outside the classroom. Teachers can publish notes, lectures, videos and more to their workspace. PBWorks Education also allows teachers to create group projects and find other classrooms to interact with. The basic edition is free for individual teachers.

Professional Development– The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and NASA will be hosting free webinars for teachers in the coming month. One webinar is “Properties of Living Things: Searching for Life on Mars”, aimed at teachers of grades 5-8, and will take place on January 10, 2012. Part of the webinar will include an experiment involving baker’s yeast and extreme temperatures.

Complete list of NSTA/NASA webinars.

On January 3, 2012, NASA will be partnering with the Learning Environments and Research Network (LE&RN) to host a live webinar, “Algebraic Equations”. This webinar will discuss an algebra activity that students can use to analyze data from NASA and the possibility of discovering new planets.

ISTE and NASA are working together on the Learning Laboratory: Magnetic Space Project. The Magnetic Space Project’s goal is to create learning and educational artifacts to aid teachers and students in understanding Earth’s magnetosphere. Selected teachers will work with NASA scientists and engineers to create the artifacts. For more information, visit The Learning with a Mission Facebook page.

Upcoming Events– 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.

The Wallops Rocket Academy for Teachers and Students (WRATS) provides high school teachers with technical flight experience to assist their students in a hands-on NASA experience. Teachers and students participate virtually to assist with engineering and science data collection.

The Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award is for K-12 teachers and technology personnel who demonstrate exemplary use of technology in the classroom. Teachers and technology personnel must be nominated by January 16, 2012.

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