December 2014 – Vol. 27 No. 4

The E Word

by Jill Grace

There’s so much excitement lately in the world of NGSS. There is an energy I haven’t felt since I was a new teacher. It’s palpable. Teachers are once again the learners, outside our comfort zones trekking along a new path, making new discoveries, trying new things. Some of these new experiences are fantastic and fill us with a new sense of purpose and inspiration. Some end up being things we profusely apologize to our students for, “Sorry guys, that pretty much didn’t work out at all, let’s try this instead”. No doubt this is an exhaustive process, mentally and even sometimes physically, and on some days we might wish we could crawl up on our couches under that super fluffy blanket (insert comforting beverage of your choice) and forget that change is upon us. But it’s also exhilarating. It makes you feel alive again.

Given all of the changes, I have been feeling pretty comfortable. I thrive in “big idea land” and love weaving multiple layers into my instruction, so the whole 3D aspect to NGSS is gratifying to me (3D = the blending of Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Cross Cutting Concepts). I love the challenge of getting my students to the point where they have their “ah ha!” moment and see it all come together. With my background in marine biology, a very “integrated” field, I’ve had an easier time wrapping my head around the middle school progressions and seeing the connections in a way that I can tell is harder for many of my colleagues. I’ve been feeling pretty great about it all. Except for one tiny little thing.

Engineering. Learn More…

Who Else Wants to Share Their Great Idea?

by Lisa Hegdahl

Colleagues Helping Colleagues

I have been to so many California Science Education Conferences over the years that I cannot be certain which ideas I obtained in which year, but I do know that most of what my lesson plans contain came from ideas I acquired at those conferences.  Destroying Water, Domino Derby, Student Periodic Squares, Buggy Car Physics, Valence Shell Ping Pong Balls, Vinegar/Baking Soda Conservation of Matter, Stellar Distances, just to name a few, were all given to me by colleagues that were willing to take the time to share a piece of their classrooms.

Your Great Idea

You know you have it.  That lesson that never fails to engage students at a high level of learning; that teaching strategy that works every time; or that technology application that brought your classroom into the 21st century.  Why keep it to yourself?  Share it with your colleagues at the California Science Education Conference, October 2-4, 2015 in Sacramento.  CSTA is now accepting workshop and short course proposals from classroom teachers, informal educators, university professors, education professionals, and other members of the education community.  Sharing our best practices with each other helps to make high quality Science education a reality for all students in California. Learn More…

CSTA Night at the Aquarium – A Good Time Was Had by All!

by Jill Grace and Laura Henriques

Close to 700 science educators enjoyed an evening of Science, Engineering and STEM at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific on Thursday, December 4th. This great CSTA event was co-hosted by Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific and CSTA and sponsored by Chevron.

In addition to having the entire aquarium to ourselves, there were five scientists who gave talks, two dozen table-top STEM/Engineering showcase presentations and the LBAOP’s Science on a Sphere. After eating dinner, glowstick-clad attendees visited the penguins, jellies, and other exhibits representing marine life of the pacific. Learn More…

Virtual Photosynthesis Lab

by Jeff Orlinsky

This month’s activity incorporates computer virtual labs into your curriculum. I am not endorsing any company’s product; in fact you can find these labs via an Internet search. My goal for this activity is to use the virtual labs ability to model what would happen if I had the time and place to do this lab in my classroom. The other advantage for this lab is that it is reliable. I am sure of the results and know my students will have data to analyze. Learn More…

Thermal Protection- Science with Blowtorches!

by Joanne Cozens Michael

STEM… the final frontier. Okay, not really, but it is our students’ future and it is up to us to get them as prepared as possible. One of the issues many educators face when teaching STEM is finding something that can cover multiple strands of the STEM “rope”. A few years ago, I attended Space Camp for Educators in Huntsville, Alabama, and was introduced to an amazing lesson sure to inspire engineering and creativity, get those STEM juices flowing, and captivate even the most reluctant of learners! Learn More…

Support CSTA and Take the Deduction on Your 2014 Taxes

by Jessica Sawko

CSTA is so fortunate to have so many hard-working and dedicated members. CSTA membership dues support the production and distribution of this newsletter, CSTA’s state-level policy activities, including NGSS implementation activities, the CSTA website, and a small portion of dues go to support our state-level legislative activities. 2014 is a special year for CSTA, as it marks the 50th anniversary of the filing to CSTA’s Articles of Incorporation. Many volunteer leaders were involved in that process 50 years ago and to this day it is volunteers that do much of the work of CSTA.

CSTA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and accepts donations to support our leadership programs, such as our leadership event held at the annual conference and designed to help nurture, inspire, and support California’s emerging leaders in science education.

As the end of the year approaches and you consider making contributions to charities and non-profits that support you and your values as a science educator, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to CSTA’s 50th anniversary fund. This fund was established at the beginning of 2014 and the monies donated to this fund support CSTA’s leadership development program. Donors who donate $50 or more will receive a commemorative 50th anniversary pin. Donations to this fund are tax deductible (please check with your tax-preparation specialist). Click here to donate online today.

If a donation to CSTA’s 50th anniversary fund is not a match for you this year, I hope you will consider supporting CSTA as you shop for holiday gifts (and year-round). Learn More…

A Community Engagement Model for Grade 5-14 Authentic STEM, Starting February 23, 2015

by Jeff Goldstein

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education invite schools, school districts, and community colleges to explore participation in Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Mission 8 to the International Space Station. This STEM education opportunity immerses grade 5-14 students across a community in an authentic, high visibility research experience, where student teams design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station (ISS). The program nurtures ownership in learning, critical thinking, problem solving, navigation of an interdisciplinary landscape, teamwork, and communication skills – all reflective of the Next Generation Science Standards, and reflective of the skills needed by professional scientists and engineers. Learn More…

Celestial Highlights for December 2014

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller

Near the start of December each year, the first magnitude star Aldebaran, eye of Taurus, the Bull and “follower” of the Pleiades or Seven Sisters, is visible all night as Earth makes its annual passage between Aldebaran and the Sun. Look for Aldebaran low in ENE at dusk, high in south in middle of night, and low in WNW at dawn.

On New Year’s Eve, the brightest star, Sirius, the Dog Star, reaches its high point in the south in the middle of the night, 6° higher and almost exactly 12 hours after the Sun reaches its midday perch. You can observe Sirius for much of the night, but not at dusk or dawn, because the star’s path from rising to setting is too far south and too short to keep it above the horizon through the long winter night. Some 21-22 minutes earlier and 36° below where Sirius reaches its highest, observers in southern California can try for Canopus, second brightest star visible in the nighttime skies of Earth. From Los Angeles and Palm Springs, it’s only 3°-4° up. Learn More…

Season’s Greetings

by Laura Henriques

Happy December! I am exhausted but really happy after the Long Beach Conference. It was great to see so many CSTA members! With more than 5,200 people in attendance (most from California), this was one of the biggest NSTA regional conferences ever. Sessions were packed, some to the point of overflowing. I applaud NSTA’s efforts to extend the conference into Saturday afternoon and I thank the conference presenters who were willing to repeat their workshop on Saturday. (To get handouts from the sessions please visit the NSTA Conference site, browse sessions and select the session(s) of interest. If the presenter has uploaded handouts you will find them posted with the session information.) Learn More…

Events in December 2014 and early January 2015 in CSTA’s Region 2

by Minda Berbeco

Opportunities abound in CSTA’s Region 2, which includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Solano counties.

Mid-Late December 2014:

Kitchen Chemistry: The Science Of Food
Saturday, 12/13/14 3-4pm
Chabot Space and Science Center
Everyone’s a chemist in the kitchen! It’s time to play with your food and explore the microbiology, nanoscience, physics, and chemistry of the edibles we love.  Enjoy demonstrations and hands-on experiments on everyday treats and ingredients – from yogurt to yeast, oobleck to ice cream! For more information, visit their website at: https://14884.blackbaudhosting.com/14884/page.aspx?pid=196&tab=2&txobjid=c245e802-3550-49eb-b1dd-1a840aa1061d Learn More…

Nominations for Election to the CSTA Board of Directors, 2015-2017 Term

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors.This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There is a time and energy commitment, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Applications can be downloaded from the CSTA website.

Nominations for the following positions on the CSTA Board of Directors are now being accepted:

Directors will serve a two-year term beginning July 1, 2015, and ending June 30, 2017. Learn More…

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Dec
31
Wed
2014
5:00 pm Cafe Inquiry @ Cafe Borrone
Cafe Inquiry @ Cafe Borrone
Dec 31 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Meet up with rationalists, skeptics, and freethinkers south of San Francisco.  Cafe Inquiry is a social event hosted by the Center for Inquiry. We’ll meet at Café Borrone between Kepler’s Books and the British Banker’s[...]
Jan
1
Thu
2015
all-day Free Entry Day at the UC Botanic... @ UC Berkely Botanical Garden
Free Entry Day at the UC Botanic... @ UC Berkely Botanical Garden
Jan 1 – Jan 2 all-day
Enjoy free admission to the UC Botanical Garden on the first Thursday of the month. Parking is limited. Docent-led tours for groups are not available on Free Thursdays. In order to minimize the impact on[...]
6:00 pm After Dark: First Thursdays @ Exploratorium
After Dark: First Thursdays @ Exploratorium
Jan 1 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
After Dark: First Thursdays @ Exploratorium | San Francisco | California | United States
A ticket to Thursday evening adult-only hours does not guarantee admission to special programs with limited seating. Tickets for limited-capacity programs will be made available to visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. Please Note: Adults Only (18+)[...]
Jan
7
Wed
2015
8:30 am Introduction to the Next Generat... @ Solano Co. Office of Education
Introduction to the Next Generat... @ Solano Co. Office of Education
Jan 7 @ 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
This full-day workshop will highlight the many shifts required of both teachers and learners under the Next Generation Science Standards.  In the morning session, participants will engage in an overview of the NGSS and its Three[...]
7:00 pm The East Bay Science Cafe @ Cafe Valparaiso
The East Bay Science Cafe @ Cafe Valparaiso
Jan 7 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Held the first Wednesday of every month in the Cafe Valparaiso on Solano Avenue in Albany from 7 to 9pm. 1403 Solano Ave., Albany, California 94706. The East Bay Science Cafe is an informal forum[...]
Jan
8
Thu
2015
6:00 pm NightLife at the Academy @ California Academy of Sciences
NightLife at the Academy @ California Academy of Sciences
Jan 8 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Every Thursday night a new adventure unfolds.  Set out with friends on a journey to the stars and to the depths of the sea with a cocktail in your hand and wonder in your eyes—[...]
Jan
15
Thu
2015
6:00 pm NightLife at the Academy @ California Academy of Sciences
NightLife at the Academy @ California Academy of Sciences
Jan 15 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Every Thursday night a new adventure unfolds.  Set out with friends on a journey to the stars and to the depths of the sea with a cocktail in your hand and wonder in your eyes—[...]
Jan
22
Thu
2015
9:00 am CFCC Meeting #5 @ California Department of Education, Room 1101
CFCC Meeting #5 @ California Department of Education, Room 1101
Jan 22 @ 9:00 am – Jan 23 @ 4:00 pm
The fifth of six meetings of the Science Curriculum Framework CFCC. Share/Email:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new[...]
6:00 pm NightLife at the Academy @ California Academy of Sciences
NightLife at the Academy @ California Academy of Sciences
Jan 22 @ 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
Every Thursday night a new adventure unfolds.  Set out with friends on a journey to the stars and to the depths of the sea with a cocktail in your hand and wonder in your eyes—[...]
Jan
28
Wed
2015
9:00 am Next Generation Science Standard... @ RCOE Conference center in Riverside
Next Generation Science Standard... @ RCOE Conference center in Riverside
Jan 28 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
As part of the NGSS Awareness Series, this workshop will focus on how to use the Science Literacy Professional Learning Module as a resource to help K-12 teachers better understand how literacy (speaking, listening, writing[...]

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NGSS PD Coming to Fairfield and Walnut

CSTA_CASCD

CSTA and CASCD have teamed up to bring you and your curriculum developers a one-day professional learning opportunity. Both CSTA and CASCD members may register at member rates. Event dates and location are:

Introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards: A Paradigm Shift in Teaching and Learning
This full-day workshop will highlight the many shifts required of both teachers and learners under the Next Generation Science Standards. In the morning session, participants will engage in an overview of the NGSS and its Three Dimensions. During the afternoon sessions, participants will be invited to experience either a K-5 or 6-12 session. Each of these sessions will further explore the NGSS with an emphasis on the impact it will have within K-5 and 6-12 classrooms. Learn More…