Newton Network Newsletter: November 2011

Newton Network News:
Greetings from the Newton Network!

Happy Thanksgiving! This month, your students can learn about chemistry by studying food and food science. Then we take a look at this month’s Web 2.0 tool and upcoming events for both you and your students.

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:

Chemistry–PBS offers many lesson plans on the subject of chemistry. One lesson, Dangerous Science, for grades 6-12, discusses how chemistry sets have changed due to changes in technology and safety concerns.

For the younger students, grades 3-8, growing crystals in your classroom can be a great way to get them interested in chemistry. This lesson plan from PBS uses common household materials to grow crystals right before your eyes.

The College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State hosts a site with links to experiments and activities for teachers and students. With many free resources for teachers and numerous experiments for students of all ages, this is a great resource for studying food and chemistry. Experiments include studying the speed of light using marshmallows and enzymes in jam processing.

More chemistry lesson plans.

Food Science– Food is vital to human life. Without its nutrients, our bodies would not be able to function.

PBS Teachers has an online video that talks about how the body absorbs nutrients from the food we ingest.

With another lesson plan from PBS, students study Antarctic explorers and their diets to learn more about food and nutrition. Students also learn about calories and how the body uses food as fuel.

Food can also be a great way to teach math to the younger students. In a lesson plan from Illuminations, K-2 students study the food pyramid and different types of food to practice addition.

Team Nutrition is a USDA program geared towards helping our nation’s youth gain a better knowledge about nutrition. Team Nutrition provides resources to teachers to incorporate nutrition in their lesson plans. For their teacher’s resource page, visit USDA Team Nutrition.

Web 2.0Instacalc is an online calculator that students can use. Instatcalc requires no sign-up and is completely free. Users can perform many different calculations and even program and design charts. If you need to save a calculation, Instacalc can do that too and provide you with a link that leads right back to the calculation you need.

Professional Development– Educators Professional Development is hosting a few professional development opportunities in both Las Vegas and Reno over the next few months. Workshops include “Creating a Digital-Rich Classroom” and “Improving Student Learning”.

Nevada State Science Teachers Association is holding a mini conference on November 5, 2011 at the University of Nevada, Reno. The conference will focus on effectively teaching STEM education. Early registration begins October 1, 2011 and costs $25.

The National Science Foundation Geoscience Education Program is supporting a Nevada professor’s work with high school students to submit projects to regional Intel ISEF affiliated science fairs next spring. The professor needs science teachers who are willing to work as “science fair coaches” for participating high school students. Projects must be related to an aspect of climate change science, and must be judged in the students’ regional fair. Teachers will receive a stipend and a check for supplies upon acceptance into the program. Teachers must also attend a video conference workshop on Intel ISEF rules and inquiry tentatively scheduled Saturday Dec. 3 to be given by Brett Moulding. If you have any questions, contact Dr. Paul Buck,

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 National Geographic Bee is a nationwide, yearly geography competition held 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.

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