by Pete A’Hearn
“How come if people evolved from monkeys, monkeys aren’t turning into people now?”
I’m going to bet that any science teacher who has taught evolution has run into this question at some point. There are a bunch of incorrect assumptions behind the question, including the idea that evolution is a process that we could observe occurring during our lifetimes. This idea is directly addressed as part of the NGSS Crosscutting Concept of Scale, Proportion, and Quantity with the idea that:
- Phenomena that can be observed at one scale may not be observable at another scale.
- Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small.
(Note that this is not the crosscutting concept called out in the middle school evolution topic. Teachers will need to used multiple crosscutting concepts as well as multiple practices in building coherent units – not just the ones highlighted in the standards). Learn More…
by Peter A’Hearn
The NGSS has defined science learning as three-dimensional. There are Core Ideas and Science and Engineering Practices, which seem similar to content from the old standards. Then there’s this new thing- the Crosscutting Concepts.
So… do we really need the crosscutting concepts? How important are they to science? Consider a few examples from the history of science:
Galileo used a new tool, the telescope, which let him observe the universe at a different SCALE. He observed PATTERNS which he tried to establish CAUSE AND EFFECT relationships to explain. He ended up supporting a new SYSTEMS MODEL of the solar system. Learn More…
The Big Idea Page: A Creative Way to Emphasize the Crosscutting Concepts for Three Dimensional Learning
by Jennifer Weibert
Making three-dimensional learning a reality in the classroom of teachers starting to implement the NGSS can be a struggle. In many cases, the Crosscutting Concepts are often an afterthought. According to A Framework for K-12 Science Education, “…the purpose of the Crosscutting Concepts is to help students deepen their understanding of the disciplinary core ideas, and develop a coherent and scientifically based view of the world” (NRC, 2012). This is achieved via the Crosscutting Concepts, “because they provide an organizational schema for interrelating knowledge from various science fields into a coherent and scientifically based view of the world” (Achieve, 2016). The NGSS were designed for all three dimensions (Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Crosscutting Concepts) to work together allowing the teacher to create an environment where students make sense of real world phenomena. To measure the success of this in an NGSS aligned classroom, teachers need access to evidence of student understanding and thinking. The Big Idea Page was my solution for that. Learn More…
The first review period for the K-12 Computer Science (CS) framework – developed by Code.org, the Computer Science Teachers Association, and the Association for Computing Machinery, along with more than 100 advisors within the computing community – begins February 3 with the release of the high school (grades 9-12) layer of concepts and descriptions of K-12 practices. We invite you to review the framework and participate in the opportunity to shape a vision for K-12 CS education. Learn More…
by Joseph Calmer
I have been teaching science for 10 years. During that time I have taught biology, anatomy/physiology, chemistry, and physics. When the NGSS began to trickle down to us teachers, I began to see the light at the end of the science education tunnel. The authors of the NGSS seemed to grasp the interrelatedness of the different disciplines of science and were trying to explicitly demonstrate that interconnectedness through the new standards. As a science teacher and a person who has studied science for a long time, the connections between science fields are painfully obvious, but to a new learner, the obvious may not be so obvious. Learn More…
by Jenna Porter & Rich Hedman
Over the next few years, school districts throughout California will need to decide which curriculum course model to adopt for high school science. Unlike middle school, for which there are two relatively straightforward course models (preferred integrated and alternative discipline specific), high schools will have more than 4 distinct course model options (see Table 1). Which model would be best for high schools in your district? To assist you in answering that question, we offer some resources and points to consider, and make a recommendation for providing equitable opportunities for all students to access the new science curriculum. Learn More…
by Sue Campbell
Have you ever wondered how they make 3D movies and why some provide a thrilling experience for the viewers and others leave the audience disappointed and even a little sick? My curiosity led to me to do a little reading and research and I discovered that the difference comes in the planning and shooting of the film. 3D movies require different lighting, shooting angles, and more. So if the intent is to have a 3D movie, then the filming must be planned accordingly. Retrofitting a movie to be three dimensional is problematic and the results are usually disappointing. Learn More…
For those of you familiar with the California Science Education Conference, there is a change to our workshop that you need to know. Just as California NGSS is changing science instruction and learning in the classroom, CSTA recognizes that 60-minute workshops are no longer sufficient to provide professional learning about lesson sequences and how they fit into larger lesson segments. As a result, CSTA has modified our conference format to feature 90-minute workshops along with the traditional 3- and 6-hour short courses. This means you will have more time to go in-depth and reflect on your learning with fellow workshop attendees. No other conference in the state offers the breadth and depth of high-quality workshops presented by and for California science educators. A conference schedule at-a-glance is available on the CSTA website.
That is not the only change. The 2016 Conference proposal form will now ask you to share more information about what you and participants will be doing during the course of the workshop or short course; how your session demonstrates what NGSS looks like in the classroom; how the three dimensions of NGSS are integrated into your lesson; and how you see the session fitting into a classroom setting. A complete list of proposal fields is available online, as is the scoring rubric. Learn More…
by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller.
For much of February, early risers can enjoy all five bright planets before dawn. The waning Moon sweeps past all five bright planets Jan. 27-Feb. 6, and in its next time around, past four planets Feb. 24-Mar. 7. Jupiter begins rising in evening twilight.
On our evening and morning mid-twilight charts, showing the five naked-eye planets and the 16 stars of first magnitude or brighter visible from southern California, stars always shift from east to west (left to right) in the course of the month, as a consequence of the Earth’s revolution around the Sun. Learn More…
by Pamela J. Gordon
More than any other class I took at Lynbrook High School (1973-77, in San Jose), the class on environmental conservation most informed my career as an environmental consultant and Climate Reality Leader.
So strong was our teacher Hal Skillman’s commitment to his students’ efficacy in protecting the environment, that half-way into his semester-long class, he suddenly announced to his idealistic students, “Tomorrow we’ll start a unit on economics.” “Economics?” my classmates and I wondered. “What does economics have to do with protecting the planet?” Without squelching my passion for protecting and improving the natural environment, Mr. Skillman demonstrated that making substantive and lasting environmental improvements necessitated the bridging of science and Capitalism. Learn More…
by Lisa Hegdahl
As I write this message, it is the waning days of January. Only the first month of 2016 and yet a great deal is happening in Science education within the California Science Teachers Association and the state of California as a whole. Indeed, this an exciting time to be a science educator. Let’s take a look back at all that has taken place these past few weeks.
California Science Framework Public Review Sessions
The beginning of January 2016 found California at the end of the first public review of the draft California Science Framework. A dedicated, 25 member, CSTA NGSS Committee under the leadership of co-chairs Laura Henriques, Past President of CSTA, and Peter A’Hearn, CSTA Region 4 Director, coordinated 30 Framework review sessions in 22 California counties in which 625 educators participated. In addition, many people sent their feedback directly to the California Department of Education. The members of the NGSS committee, those that read the Framework, and those who attended and hosted review sessions, volunteered in order to make the Framework useful for all of us. This represents countless hours of personal time. You can be confident that CSTA will keep you informed about the dates for the 2nd public review of the draft CA Science Framework currently scheduled for June-July 2016. A copy of CSTA’s response to the first draft is available here (1MB). I will be attending the two meetings where public comments are considered (February 19 and March 18) by the Science Subject Matter Committee of the Instructional Quality Commission to advocate on behalf of CSTA membership. Learn More…
The facilitator training is open to educators who are interested in leading Population Education workshops for their colleagues at schools, universities, and conferences around the region. Participants will include K-12 teachers, university education faculty and nonformal educators who work with teachers.
Thanks to foundation support, we are able to cover most of your expenses for the weekend event (two nights lodging, meals during the weekend and up to $500 travel stipend). Participants will also receive an extensive handbook of training materials and a variety of curriculum resources, including the latest edition of Population Education’s award-winning “dot” video, World Population. Learn More…
by Marian Murphy-Shaw
Here we are a month into the new year – how are your resolutions holding up? I recently had a wonderful conversation on this topic with a very thoughtful science education colleague. She shared a science education idea for a resolution. I decided to give it a try as well as share the idea here.
In the past, she recounted, she would take teachings from a book like “Good to Great” or “The Speed of Trust”, etc. and focus her efforts for a year on one of the themes for self improvement. This year she decided to focus on NGSS! Her resolution is to look for and make use of Crosscutting Concepts. Learn More…
by Patty Ladegaard, Donate Life California
A rite of passage for many high school students is applying for their first driver license or identification (ID) card from the California DMV. When doing so, students will be asked if they would like to join the state organ, eye and tissue donor registry. If they check “yes” a pink “DONOR” dot will be printed on their driver license to indicate their wishes. But how do teens get the information they need to make an informed decision about organ donation? When students study organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation in school, they are able to make a decision about organ donation based on scientific information and fact, rather than myth and folklore. It also allows them an opportunity to discuss the topic with family prior to visiting the DMV. Learn More…
by Laura Henriques
The CSTA Board of Directors likes to recognize excellence and significant contributions. There are many ways that CSTA recognizes contributions of our members. For example, the President publicly acknowledges member contributions to committees and authorship in California Classroom Science at the CSTA California Science Education Conference and in press in CCS. We know that the work of our organization is done by many and we like to recognize and acknowledge your contributions.
by Jenny Hostert
We would like to invite all CSTA members to share your thoughts on education issues through the annual Speak Up survey. Speak Up is a large-scale research initiative that provides a unique way for school and district leaders to learn about the views and aspirations of students, parents and educators around digital learning. Learn More…
Congress Moves to Foster Youth Computer Science Skills, District by District
WASHINGTON, DC – The Congressional App Challenge, a congressional initiative to improve student engagement in coding and computer science, is launching today and will run through January 21, 2016.
Representatives Mimi Walters and Hakeem Jeffries co-chair the 2015 Congressional App Challenge (CAC). Over a quarter of the House of Representatives have signed up to host student app contests in their districts. Currently, 116 Representatives from 37 states have signed up, and more are expected to do so in the coming days. Learn More…
Top Posts & Pages
- The Big Idea Page: A Creative Way to Emphasize the Crosscutting Concepts for Three Dimensional Learning
- A Little Humor with the Periodic Table for the Holidays!
- Considerations for Equitable NGSS High School Curriculum Implementation