January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2


Saturday, October 30th, 2010

by Paul Ferreira

The first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, heralded the beginning of the popular environmental movement.  Today, forty years later, it has become the premier event focusing attention on environmental and environmental education issues all over the world.  But back then, it passed me right by as I concentrated my energy on graduating college as a biology major that spring. (more…)

Teacher Embarks on Polar Research Experiences

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

CSTA member Anne Marie Wotkyns, a 4th grade teacher at J.B. Monlux Math, Science, Technology Magnet Elementary School, always wanted to work with scientists in field locations, and in December she will be living her lifelong dream by joining a team of polar ice researchers in Antarctica for seven weeks studying sea ice processes, biology, oceanography, and biochemistry in the Amundsen Sea along the coast of Antarctica. (more…)

Book Review: The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell

Friday, October 1st, 2010

reviewed by Marian Murphy-Shaw

The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell, by Rachel Herz http://www.scentofdesire.com/

My summer reading included a wonderful exploration of the sense of smell through this engaging narrative with concise research-based explanations of the emotional and physiological vagaries of this one of our five senses. (more…)

Elementary Science: What Is It? Part I

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Tim Williamson

“It is perilous to generalize about anything in the U.S. education system—quality varies enormously from classroom to classroom—but science has long been a poor stepchild to mathematics and reading. (more…)

Governor Vetoes Science Ed. Legislation

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Last month we reported on promising legislation we anticipated would be signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger. Unfortunately, and for unclear reasons, the governor vetoed all of them, in rather combative terms.

AB 97 (Torlakson), would have established an Academic Standards Commission for science and history-social science, to be convened “as funding permits” to review and revise the science and history standards.

This was a bill introduced last year which had been held in the Senate Education Committee and which we had thought was completely dead. A few weeks before the end of the legislative session, it was resurrected and sped through Senate Ed. and Senate Appropriations in the final days of the session. According to Assemblyman Torlakson’s office, the governor had indicated he would sign the bill this time–he had vetoed similar bills on two previous occasions.

Unfortunately, he again vetoed the bill, saying that revising the standards now, before the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, would be premature and result in an “unnecessary, duplicative process.” See governor’s veto message. (more…)

Спутник-1, Anniversary 53

Friday, October 1st, 2010

by Richard Shope

I was nearly six years old. Eisenhower was President.  Mickey Mantle was playing for the Yankees, Hank Aaron for the Braves, as Milwaukee trimmed New York (more…)

Teaching Content IS Teaching Reading

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Professor Daniel Willingham describes why content knowledge is essential to reading with comprehension, and why teaching reading strategies alone is not sufficient that students read with good comprehension.

CSTA Member Wins Presidential Award

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Mark Fairbank, a science teacher at Paso Robles High School in Paso Robles, has been named a recipient of the 2009 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), the nation’s highest honor for teaching in these fields.  Fairbank is the only science winner from California and one of only 105 teachers nationwide to receive the prestigious award. (more…)

Tell a Story: Quantitative vs. Qualitative

Friday, October 1st, 2010

by Bonny Ralston, CSTA Middle School Director


All science students need to practice the skill of detailed observation.  In describing an object or an observation, it’s important to cite as many details as possible.  In order to engage students to observe all details, it is necessary to have them practice what they should be looking for.  Shape, color, and amount are the most common observations. (more…)

In Memoriam . . .

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Robert Rice
Robert Rice

CSTA Bids Farewell to One of its Heroes

Robert Rice, one of the founders of CSTA, died Sunday evening, August 29, 2010.  He was 99 years old.

Bob, along with Margaret Nicholson and others, started the Northern California section of CSTA in 1970, which eventually evolved into the statewide organization we know today.  He served as president of the association from 1951-1952, and was the association’s first executive director, serving in that position from his office at Lawrence Hall of Science from 1974 to 1985.

Bob was actively involved in science education, notably the San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair and the Northern California Western Nevada Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (both of which he co-founded) until very recently and was on the team that designed Lawrence Hall of Science.  He was president of the National Science Teachers Association in 1960-61, and in 1986 was a recipient of the NSTA Distinguished Service to Science Education Award.  Bob was also the first recipient of the CSTA Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, in 1981. (more…)

CSTA Award Winners Announced

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Larry Malone and Linda De Lucchi, project co-directors at the Lawrence Hall of Science at UC Berkeley, have been named the recipients of the 2010 Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award by the CSTA board of directors.  Malone and De Lucchi are the developers of the widely-acclaimed science inquiry program, Full Option Science System, or FOSS. (more…)

News from Region 2

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano counties

Region 2 News and Events

Insecta-Palooza at Sonoma State University, October 30.  Explore the fantastic world of insects, including basic bugs, garden allies, habitat gardens, aquatic insects, insect defenses, and Japanese theme special features: insect haiku exhibit, origami, film and silk moths.  A family-friendly event for all ages, from budding entomologist to  expert gardener, beekeeper to aquatic insect enthusiast.  Lectures, interactive labs, tours, children’s activities, displays, costume contest, silent auction, film, and much more.  More information on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/insecta-palooza.


Science Safety Tip #2

Friday, October 1st, 2010

by Dean Gilbert

No matter which geographical area in California we live, there is the potential for a natural earthquake disaster.  It is imperative that every science teacher assess his/her school lab facility and chemical and equipment storage areas for unsafe and hazardous conditions.

Reducing and/or eliminating these hazards throughout your classroom, lab, and storage areas can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death for both students and yourself.

TIP #2- Earthquake-Proof Your Chemical Storage Area (more…)

Energy in Chemical Reactions Lab

Friday, October 1st, 2010

by Jeff Bradbury and Patricia Buchanan

Name ____________________

Date _____________________

Partner’s Name_____________

Question: Food provides us with energy to live, but how much of this energy can actually be found in a single peanut?

Purpose: To determine the heat of a chemical reaction.

Part 1 Introduction

Background Information:

1.       What is a calorie?

A Calorie is a unit of heat.  It is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water 1 degree Celsius.  You will actually measure the calories of a food product and compare this to the calories on the container.  Food Calories usually have an upper case C.  1 Calorie = 1000 calories.  Today you will measure calories and then convert them to Calories.

2.       How are heat and temperature different?

Temperature is the average amount of kinetic energy contained in the molecules of a substance.  It is measured with a thermometer and the units are degrees Celsius.  Heat is the total amount of energy in a sample of substance.  It is measured indirectly and the units are calories.

3.       How is heat measured?

To measure calories in food, for example, the food is burned in a combustion chamber.  The heat from the combustion reaction of the food is used to raise the temperature of a sample of water.  Knowing the mass of the water and the temperature change of the water the heat gained by the water can be calculated using the following equation:

M X C X ΔT = Heat change in the water (q)

M is the mass of the water.  Δ T is the final temperature of the water—the initial temperature of the water (Δ T means change in temperature).  C is a constant called specific heat.  It tells how a particular substance absorbs heat.  All substances absorb heat differently.  It takes one calorie of heat to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Celsius.  C for water is 1 cal/g oC. (more…)

A Year in the Life of Two First Year Teachers: Part Two

Friday, October 1st, 2010

by Rick Pomeroy, with Sara and Ellen

In our last issue, you were introduced to Sara and Ellen, two first-year teachers, one in northern California and the other in southern California, both of whom are teaching chemistry.  In the first edition, we learned a little bit about their anticipation for their first days of school.  This month, we get a short glimpse into how their years began.  (more…)

Just one of the benefits of attending the CSTA Conference …

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Temecula middle school teacher joins island ecology research team

Friday, May14th, 2010
Issue 19, Volume 14.
Ashley Cook, Valley News Staff
Science teacher Cheryl Buettner explains the properties of water to her class. Paul Gallaher photo.

A Temecula science teacher recently received a fully-funded environmental research trek to a Caribbean island.

Cheryl Buettner, a teacher at the River Springs Charter School, is one of 22 educators from eight states to receive fellowships distributed by the nonprofit Earthwatch Institute, an international advocacy group made up of nature-oriented volunteers. (more…)

California Student Teams Win National Challenge

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Two California students teams were named the grand prize and third place winners for the elementary level, grades 3-5 division for the 2010 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge. (more…)

7th-Graders Discover Mysterious Cave on Mars

Friday, October 1st, 2010

By Clara Moskowitz
Senior Writer, Space.com
posted: 21 June 2010
03:14 pm ET

A group of seventh-graders in California has discovered a mysterious cave on Mars as part of a research project to study images taken by a NASA spacecraft orbiting the red planet.

The 16 students from teacher Dennis Mitchell’s 7th-grade science class at Evergreen Middle School in Cottonwood, Calif., found what looks to be a Martian skylight—a hole in the roof of a cave on Mars. (more…)

Science Methods Instructors: A Classroom Resource for You!

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Science Methods Instructors: Introduce your preservice students to CSTA and professional enrichment.  New and prospective teachers will benefit by understanding that they are an important part of the larger science education community and that professional growth in their career is a lifelong endeavor.  Introduce your preservice students/teachers to the benefits of belonging to their professional organizations and participating in ongoing professional development activities, including the California Science Education Conference.  Download activities to use with your preservice students.

Use this PowerPoint presentation to help familiarize your students with their professional organization and enhance the activities.

Service Organization or Consumer Organization?

Friday, October 1st, 2010

by Jeff Bradbury

Whenever there is a crisis or difficulty in my life it causes me to reflect on my priorities and my purpose in life.  I think that with our current “Great Recession,” many professional organizations, like CSTA, are asking deep questions about priority and purpose.  So often difficulty in life produces good changes.  CSTA is no different.  CSTA continues to put on the best science educators conference in the state.  I don’t think the economy has diminished our conference much at all.  Nevertheless, the economy is having a huge effect on CSTA’s budget and, maybe, even our future.  As a board member, this makes me reflect on our purpose and priorities.  It makes me consider why I joined CSTA in the first place.  (more…)

The “e” Alternative

Friday, October 1st, 2010

by Rick Pomeroy

This is a simple scenario-type lab that addresses the same concepts and processes that the traditional “e” microscope lab addresses but in a way that engages students in using evidence to solve a simple problem.  (more…)

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