September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

NGSS: Making Your Life Easier

by Peter A’hearn

Wait… What?

NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?

The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…

Taking “Risks” with NGSS: A Growth Model for the Classroom

by Rachel Poland, Patricia Evans, and Jill Grace

As we entered the classroom to face a room full of 7th graders at Challenger Middle School in San Diego Unified School District, it was hard to tell who was more nervous, us or the students. Our journey had started the week before as we had gathered to plan our lesson study as a part of the California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The lesson study is made up of a “planning day” where a team of teachers plans a learning sequence and targets for a teaching day where they can use a 5-E lesson plan to teach (Bybee, 2014). Most of our lesson study experience thus far had been designed to engage or explore a topic. We knew that with this time we wanted to work towards honoring the vision of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) by focusing on student conceptual understanding and seeing how we could shift our instruction to be three-dimensional (3D) using the Science and Engineering Practices (SEP) and Crosscutting Concepts (CCC) to help students reach conceptual understanding of the Disciplinary Core Ideas (DCI). This required that students be near the end of a unit of study and in the explain phase of their lesson sequence, so the decision was made to conduct our lesson study with the students in Patricia Evans 7th grade classroom. Learn More…

Last Chance to Register! Don’t Miss This Opportunity

2016Facebook-banner2The 2016 California Science Education Conference is just a few weeks away and more than 1,000 teachers are already registered for this incredible professional learning event. The exhibit hall is sold out, more than 200 workshops have been scheduled, and excitement and anticipation for this annual event are building! If you have not already registered, be sure to do so by Monday, October 3 to secure great rates and save you time when you arrive at the conference.

Let CSTA Help You Plan

CSTA has several tools available to help you plan your conference participation. These tools include:

Learn More…

Celestial Highlights, September 2016

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt 

Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…

Evening Planets in School Year 2016-17

by Robert C. Victor. Thanks to Robert D. Miller for the monthly twilight charts,

and to Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt for the graphs of planets’ rising and setting times. 

Monthly sky maps for September 2016 through June 2017 depict the changing positions of the five bright planets and the 16 stars of first magnitude or brighter visible from southern California. Planets are plotted daily at mid-twilight, when the Sun is 9° below the horizon, 39 to 53 minutes after sunset, depending on latitude and time of year. Star positions are shown as continuous curves, as stars drift west with the advancing season, a result of the Earth’s revolution about the Sun. Inspect the charts in sequence to follow a planet’s progress through the weeks or months of its apparition. Keep in mind that the Sun is below the western horizon. Mercury and Venus, inner planets, climb up from the western horizon only a limited distance, and then fall back to the same horizon. The outer planets Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn begin evening visibility at the eastern horizon (opposite the Sun) and end their apparitions sinking into the western twilight glow.  Learn More…

2016 Award Recipients – Join CSTA in Honoring Their Accomplishments

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference  on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!

Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

John Keller

John Keller

The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…

California State Board of Education Prepares to Take Action on New Accountability System

by Jessica Sawko
Updated 9/19/2016

On September 8, 2016, the California State Board of Education (SBE) took action to approve the first phase of the state’s new local/state/federal accountability system. The entire system is by no means complete and will continue to evolve and develop over the next few years. There are many components and a lot of new terms that teachers, parents, administrators, and the general public will need to become familiar with as they begin to explore both the big picture as well as the details of this new system – which the State Board intends to be “an integrated local, state, and federal accountability and continuous improvement system.” This month’s SBE agenda also includes an update on the development of the new science assessment scheduled to be piloted in the spring of 2017. The complete agenda and item attachments can be found on the SBE website. Use this same link to watch the meetings live online on the day of the meeting. Learn More…

One Year Ends, Another Begins!

By Lisa Hegdahl

June 30, 2016 was the end of my first full year as President of the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA).  During that time, I have learned a tremendous amount, worked with amazingly talented and passionate people, and had the opportunity to participate in events that would not have been available to me if I were not president.  While there is still much to do, I feel compelled to express what an honor it is to be part of an association that has accomplished so much in the past 12 months. Learn More…

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Conference_Side_Column_Register-Early

Some ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in your classroom

by Carol Peterson

1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…

Celebrating CSTA Members in the New School Year

by Lisa Hegdahl

April through July, 2016, the California Science Teachers Association welcomed the following New and Renewing Members
(CSTA/NSTA Joint Memberships may not be reflected in this list): Learn More…

The Actual Need for a Philosophy of Education

by Joseph Calmer, Ed.D

As the year begins, it is time for science teachers to think about their approach to this coming year. This year is an important one too, because of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The NGSS is in various stages of implementation across the state and among districts. The idea of NGSS is easy, but the actual practice of NGSS is difficult. Hopefully you’ve read the original framework ((NGSS Lead States, 2013). Maybe you’ve been able to read the California Draft Framework. When reading these tomes, you’ll probably find yourself agreeing with the authors. The teaching philosophy and pedagogy that frames the new standards are sound and are commensurate with current thoughts about teaching and learning (Bransford, Brown, Cocking, & ebrary, 1999; Hattie & Yates, 2013). The next step required for teachers is to turn theory into practice. Learn More…

Getting Started with Engineering

by Meredith Casalino

Having been in the classroom for nine years, I have seen all sorts of crazy things. One of those things is that kids will rise to virtually any challenge you give them, and if you let them build something you will have them completely hooked!  For the last three years I have had the incredible privilege to work on a strong 9th grade team at Da Vinci Communications, dedicated to interdisciplinary project based learning. Through this experience I was given the freedom, guidance, and support to integrate engineering into my physics classroom and have seen the power of this practice first hand.

Teaching kids processes to use in order to think and create like an engineer is a great way to get started. In my classroom I used the Project Lead the Way engineering design process, but there are lots of different takes on the engineering design process out there. I do recommend teaching your kids an engineering design process and sticking to it in order for them to have a richer, more meaningful engineering experience. Many schools or districts have one that they prefer so you many not even have to find one on your own. An engineering design process should include lots of flexibility, as well as ways to generate, evaluate, test, and revise multiple solutions to a single problem. Learn More…

Upcoming Events

Oct
1
Sat
2016
8:00 am Understanding Climate Change in ...
Understanding Climate Change in ...
Oct 1 @ 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
BAY AREA EDUCATORS! Climate change is having a profound impact on California water resources, as evidenced by changes in snowpack, sea level and river flows. Join the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Climate Change team[...]
Oct
9
Sun
2016
12:00 am 2016 California STEM Symposium @ Anaheim Convention Center
2016 California STEM Symposium @ Anaheim Convention Center
Oct 9 @ 12:00 am – Oct 11 @ 3:00 pm
We are returning to the Anaheim Convention Center for the 2016 California STEM Symposium! We are excited to welcome old friends and new comers to what has become the largest annual gathering of STEM educators[...]
Oct
13
Thu
2016
8:00 am Next Generation Science Standard... @ Raddison Hotel - Fresno
Next Generation Science Standard... @ Raddison Hotel - Fresno
Oct 13 @ 8:00 am – Oct 14 @ 4:30 pm
Rollout #3 Agenda Day 1  7:30 – 8:00 Registering and Continental Breakfast 8:00 – 8:30 Plenary Session, Welcome, and Set-up for the 2 Days 8:30-9:15 CA NGSS Assessment Update 9:15-9:30 Environmental Principles and Concepts 9:45-12:15[...]
Oct
20
Thu
2016
8:00 am ONWARD: Leading the NGSS Impleme... @ Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel
ONWARD: Leading the NGSS Impleme... @ Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel
Oct 20 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
A Pre-Conference Event for District-Level Science Coaches and TOSAs Join us and your colleagues for an in-depth NGSS event before the 2016 CSTA conference begins. The cost for this event is $85 per person with[...]
Oct
21
Fri
2016
8:00 am 2016 California Science Educatio... @ Palm Springs Convention Center
2016 California Science Educatio... @ Palm Springs Convention Center
Oct 21 @ 8:00 am – Oct 23 @ 1:00 pm
2016 California Science Education Conference @ Palm Springs Convention Center | Palm Springs | California | United States
You’re Invited – Register Today! 2016 will be an exciting year for science education in California. Implementation of the California NGSS will be in year three, theCalifornia Science Curriculum Framework will be released for a[...]
Oct
23
Sun
2016
8:00 am Intro to NGSS and 3-D Learning (... @ San Diego County Office of Education, Annex B
Intro to NGSS and 3-D Learning (... @ San Diego County Office of Education, Annex B
Oct 23 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Implementation Stage 1 A one-day experience where teachers learn about the vision, goals, and instructional shifts of NGSS. They explore grade level standards and are introduced to the CA Science Framework that guides NGSS curriculum,[...]
Oct
25
Tue
2016
4:00 pm Get Techie with Weebly @ Sacramento County Office of Education, Computer Lab
Get Techie with Weebly @ Sacramento County Office of Education, Computer Lab
Oct 25 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Plan, design, and publish your own free website or blog for your classroom. Building a site has never been easier with Weebly. Learn more about this website builder to create powerful, professional websites without any[...]
Oct
26
Wed
2016
9:00 am Science Leadership & Professiona... @ San Diego County Office of Education, Room 306
Science Leadership & Professiona... @ San Diego County Office of Education, Room 306
Oct 26 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
On-going network designed to bring leaders of science reform and professional development together with the goal of building capacity of all stakeholders to effectively implement the Next Generation Science Standards in the region
Nov
4
Fri
2016
8:00 am Understanding Climate Change in ...
Understanding Climate Change in ...
Nov 4 @ 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
BAY AREA EDUCATORS! Climate change is having a profound impact on California water resources, as evidenced by changes in snowpack, sea level and river flows. Join the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Climate Change team[...]
Nov
7
Mon
2016
8:00 am Next Generation Science Standard... @ Santa Clara County Office of Education
Next Generation Science Standard... @ Santa Clara County Office of Education
Nov 7 @ 8:00 am – Nov 8 @ 4:30 pm
Rollout #3 Agenda Day 1  7:30 – 8:00 Registering and Continental Breakfast 8:00 – 8:30 Plenary Session, Welcome, and Set-up for the 2 Days 8:30-9:15 CA NGSS Assessment Update 9:15-9:30 Environmental Principles and Concepts 9:45-12:15[...]
Nov
8
Tue
2016
8:00 am Biology in the NGSS @ San Diego County Office of Education
Biology in the NGSS @ San Diego County Office of Education
Nov 8 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
A one-day exploration of the different biology course models outlined in the CA Science Framework. Participants will analyze each model and discuss implications for teaching and learning.
4:00 pm Get Techie with Google @ Sacramento County Office of Education, Computer Lab
Get Techie with Google @ Sacramento County Office of Education, Computer Lab
Nov 8 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
In this course, you will learn about Google Drive and how to use: • Google Docs to create and format text documents and collaborate with other people in real time. • Google Forms to make[...]
Nov
9
Wed
2016
8:00 am Chemistry in the NGSS @ San Diego County Office of Education
Chemistry in the NGSS @ San Diego County Office of Education
Nov 9 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
A one-day exploration of the different chemistry course models outlined in the CA Science Framework. Participants will analyze each model and discuss implications for teaching and learning.
Nov
10
Thu
2016
8:00 am Physics in the NGSS @ San Diego County Office of Education, Room 306
Physics in the NGSS @ San Diego County Office of Education, Room 306
Nov 10 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
A one-day exploration of the different physics course models outlined in the CA Science Framework. Participants will analyze each model and discuss implications for teaching and learning.
Nov
15
Tue
2016
8:00 am Next Generation Science Standard... @ Marina Village Conference Center
Next Generation Science Standard... @ Marina Village Conference Center
Nov 15 @ 8:00 am – Nov 16 @ 4:30 pm
Rollout #3 Agenda Day 1  7:30 – 8:00 Registering and Continental Breakfast 8:00 – 8:30 Plenary Session, Welcome, and Set-up for the 2 Days 8:30-9:15 CA NGSS Assessment Update 9:15-9:30 Environmental Principles and Concepts 9:45-12:15[...]
Nov
29
Tue
2016
8:00 am Next Generation Science Standard... @ Tehama Department of Education
Next Generation Science Standard... @ Tehama Department of Education
Nov 29 @ 8:00 am – Nov 30 @ 4:30 pm
Rollout #3 Agenda Day 1  7:30 – 8:00 Registering and Continental Breakfast 8:00 – 8:30 Plenary Session, Welcome, and Set-up for the 2 Days 8:30-9:15 CA NGSS Assessment Update 9:15-9:30 Environmental Principles and Concepts 9:45-12:15[...]
Nov
30
Wed
2016
4:00 pm Get Techie with Screencasting @ Sacramento County Office of Education, Computer Lab
Get Techie with Screencasting @ Sacramento County Office of Education, Computer Lab
Nov 30 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Learn how to create screen recordings and videos to share information with your students. You will learn how to screencast using Jing and Screencast-O-Matic
Dec
1
Thu
2016
8:00 am Intro to NGSS and 3-D Learning (... @ San Diego County Office of Education, Room 401/402
Intro to NGSS and 3-D Learning (... @ San Diego County Office of Education, Room 401/402
Dec 1 @ 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
Implementation Stage 1 A one-day experience where teachers learn about the vision, goals, and instructional shifts of NGSS. They explore grade level standards and are introduced to the CA Science Framework that guides NGSS curriculum,[...]

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