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    Doug Sisterson, a senior manager at Argonne National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy's Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility, was the luncheon address at the 2012 ISEC Conference, Nov 1-3.
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    ISEC 2013 - Planning Underway

    Conference co-chair Carol Baker conducted the first planning meeting Feb. 2, and the second meeting will be at the Tinley Park Holiday Inn at 3 PM, March 22. ALL ARE WELCOME.

    Following review of the ISEC12 evaluations compiled by co-chair Wendy Jackson, and discussion of science education needs, planners centered on a theme of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for teachers and administrators. Following the March planning meeting, the Theme will be selected and the Call for Presentations will be posted here and on websites of other sponsors. The exhibitor’s package will be distributed to potential vendors by late April, and registration details will be posted here by late May.

    Conference coordinator Harry Hendrickson stated, “With combined forces of several science education associations, a very hot NGSS theme, great speakers, over 150 program sessions, a great south suburban location with easy access and free parking, and reasonable conference prices, we are aiming for a thousand conference participants. Science teachers need to attend this conference to keep up with changing standards and strategies.”

    NGSS Comment Period Closed

    Following the two week comment period in January, the final version of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is expected in late March 2013. Until then, NGSS will be off line while final revisions are being made by the writing teams and lead states.

    To learn more about NGSS, how they were developed, Illinois' role, and how you can prepare for them, visit the ISTA NGSS webpage at

    Secondary Science Education Conference

    The WIU 9th Annual Secondary Science Education Conference, March 1, 2013, is designed for high school science teachers across all disciplines – physics, environmental science, Earth/Space science, chemistry, and biology. The program will involve all areas of the sciences and a mix of activity-based and concept-based sessions. The focus will be on Next Generation Science Standards with a panel discussion as the main afternoon session. Registration is at 8:30 am and the conference will finish by 2:45 pm.

    Event sponsors include the Illinois Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers, Illinois Science Teachers Association, Scope Shoppe, and Flinn Scientific. Visit the WIU Science Education Workshop web site for a registration form and more information. A luncheon is included in the $35 conference registration fee and CPDU credit forms will be available. February 25 is the registration deadline.

    If you have questions about the conference, contact Prof. Laura Barden-Gabbei by e-mail at or by phone at 309-298-1546.

    PreK-8 Science Update Conference

    The WIU 27th Annual PreK-8 Science Update Conference will be held April 19, 2013. Science for the Next Generation Science Standards is the theme for this year's conference. The conference is intended for early elementary through middle school educators who desire to learn more about the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the approaching release of the Next Generation Science Standards. Presenters will be sharing ideas, strategies, and activities reflecting the Framework's practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas for use in the PreK-8th grade classroom. Over 20 presentations are planned for teachers during three 50-minute morning sessions, followed by a choice of up to six mini-sessions from about 15 offerings. Registration, coffee and exhibits start at 8 am. Following a lunch and raffle the conference will conclude at about 2:30 pm. The registration fee is $35 if received by April 5, $40 thereafter.

    CPDU credit forms will be available. For further information go to or contact Don Powers at or by phone at 309-298-1258.


    The winter issue of the ISTA journal, Spectrum (Vol 38, No 3), is available online in PDF format for download. Articles include "If You Had One Piece of Advice ... Science Department Chair Leadership Recommendations", "Physical Systems in Earth and Space Sciences", "Wind and Water: Teaching About Erosion", "Bullying is a Serious Concern for Schools and Teachers", and "Visualization in Science Education: Computer Animations and Simulations".

    ISEC 2012 - Great Success

     Over 450 science educators participated in the 2012 IL Science Education Conference held at the Springfield Crowne Plaza Hotel, November 1-3. The conference started Thursday with a great array of Haunted Physics and Spooky Science displays from the NIU STEM Outreach Center. Later that evening the exhibits opened and teachers and vendors enjoyed a reception while learning about the latest science education materials and equipment. A total of 65 exhibitors provided useful information, sample books, catalogs, and innovative classroom materials, as well as over a hundred raffle prizes.

    ISTA Charter member and past-president Maury Kellogg presented a 45th ISTA Birthday display outlining ISTA’s simple beginning and growth as an organization. New and very successful in the exhibit hall this year was the Science Flea Market. Many teachers brought in unused but useful materials that were cluttering up their science prep or classrooms. Conference registrants were provided with tickets to purchase these materials ranging from flasks to microscopes.

    The conference program featured Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Our plenary and supporting NGSS sessions featured Illinois members of the national writing team and ISBE Consultant, Gil Downey. Of the 110 scheduled presentations or workshops, 61 included strategies for teaching science standards and 32 included strategies for teaching special needs students. Conference proceedings can be downloaded from the ISTA Forums at

    The keynote luncheon speaker, Doug Sisterson, a climate scientist from Argonne National Laboratory, illustrated by cracking a whip how scientists get the right answer. He showed that global warming is real and caused by humans, but the effects on weather patterns are not yet known despite massive information gathering and processing.

    The Friday evening GALA planned by Tara Bell and Aggie Veld featured STAR TREK video clips & music, costumes, trivia, dancing, Spock ears and a STARLAB planetarium provided by the UI-Springfield. ISTA member Caesar from Chicago won the costume contest and will receive complimentary 2013 ISEC registration. ISTA President-elect Paul Ritter was nominated for ABC-TV’s Dancing with the Stars.

    The full conference wrap up article can be found at here.

    Conference T-Shirts-$10

    A limited number of small, medium, and large blue T-shirts featuring the Next Generation Science LOGO are available. To order, send a check made out to ISTA for $10/shirt to: Harry Hendrickson, 218 Cumberland Drive, Rochester, IL 62563. No credit cards please.

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