Newton Network Newsletter: October 2011

Newton Network News:

Greetings from the Newton Network!

Welcome to October! It’s hard to believe we are already a couple of months into the school year. This month, fire prevention week is from October 9-15 and we’ve found several math- and science-based lesson plans regarding fire. You can also celebrate space week from October 4-10. And as always, we have exciting 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:

Sparky the Fire DogFire Prevention Week– Fire Prevention Week initially began as Fire Prevention Day to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire on October 8, 1871. The exact cause of the fire is unknown, though a popular story says a lantern kicked over by a cow started the fire.

Math can be very useful in studying wildfire environments. Illuminations has several lesson plans for grades 6-8 on fires and fire safety using algebra. For an interactive probability activity for grades 3-12, visit Illuminations.

Technology is also used to help predict how fires in the real world would behave under different circumstances. NOVA Online has developed its own fire simulator that students can use.

Not all fires are bad, however. Fires play a key role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Discovery Education has a lesson plan for grades 9-12 on forest fires.

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Photo of a supernovaWorld Space Week– World Space Week is celebrated globally from October 4-10 every year. Over 50 countries celebrate Space Week, including the United States. This year, celebrate World Space Week with your students.

Illuminations has a lesson plan for grades 6-8 on space travel using algebra. Students learn measurement and possible events that can happen during space travel.

For the older students in grades 9-12, Illuminations has math problems for modeling orbital debris. The lesson plan also has a technology component.

Discovery Education also has a lesson plan on what life in space is like for grades 6-8. Students will learn about the different technology and tools that are used on the space station.

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Web 2.0– Brain Flips is an interactive, online flashcard study tool. Students and teachers can create their own decks of flashcards by registering for free. Flashcards can contain text, images, sounds, and videos. Brain Flips measures how quickly you flip through the cards and even tests you on the correct answer. Brian Flips’ smart flashcards know which ones you need to study more. You can save the decks you create to the website to access them whenever you need to.

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Professional Development– NASA is hosting two online classes. The classes are free with a duration of five weeks each. “Project-Based Inquiry Learning” begins on October 5, 2011 and “Technology Integration—3-D Visualization” will begin on October 12, 2011. Visit Project-Based Inquiry Learning: Science Teaching & Learning for the 21st Century and Technology Integration for more information on the classes, respectively.

PBS is offering online courses for the fall. The online classes include “Teaching with WebQuests”, “Inspire Elementary Students with Engineering”, and “Teaching for Multiple Intelligences”. Courses start on October 26, 2011.

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”.

KNPB Public Television is partnering with Elko and Washoe County School Districts to provide the new eLearning for Educators (e4e) program. These online professional development courses will last six weeks starting October 12, 2011. Some of the classes include “Using Google Docs in the Classroom” and “Learning and Teaching with Web 2.0 Tools”. For more information contact Joe Elcano at or (775) 682-7917.

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. For more information on the conference and how to register, visit Nevada State Science Teachers Association.

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 for the competition begins on October 1, 2011.

Stanford University is offering free, worldwide online courses in the fall. The classes available are “Artificial Intelligence”, “Introduction to Databases”, and “Introduction to Machine Learning”. All classes are taught by leading experts in the field and are taught over ten weeks. Students will receive feedback on their progress and a certificate at the end of the term. For more information on the Artificial Intelligence course, visit Introduction to Artificial Intelligence. Classes begin October 10, 2011.

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 with a $90 fee is October 15, 2011.  After October 15, 2011 and until December 9, 2011, the fee is $110.  Registration ends on December 10, 2010.

NASA’s Dropping in a Microgravity Environment (DIME) is a competition for high school students. Students will design an experiment to be conducted in a microgravity drop tower. There is also a competition for 5-8 graders. Teams are required to have an adult supervisor and the winning team will conduct their experiment at the NASA Glenn Research Center in Ohio. Proposals are due November 1, 2011.

2012 Team America Rocketry Challenge is a model rocket competition held by NASA. Students in grades 7-12 can be on teams of up to ten students and will build a rocket that keep two eggs safe as it descends back to Earth. Registration must be completed by November 1, 2011. For more information, visit (

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