September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

California Science Educators Step Up to Serve!

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Two Californians have been nominated to run for leadership positions in the National Science Teachers Association.

Herb Brunkhorst is a name many of us know in California, an active member in CSTA since moving to California in 1986. Herb is running for President of NSTA.  Herb is running against Karen Ostlund of Texas. Please read their position statements online before casting your ballot.

Lisa Nyberg, another CA Science Educator, is running against Jon Pederson for the Preservice Division Director. Jon and Lisa have position statements posted online, as well. Please read them before you vote.

We are proud of Californians and their willingness to serve science education at the national level.

Voting for NSTA president opens December 22 and closes February 2, 2011. Voting is on-line only.  NSTA members should have already received their voting instructions via e-mail.  If you are an NSTA member and did not receive your e-ballot, please contact NSTA.

Preservice Teachers are STARs

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Far too many science teachers have a handicap: they have never done scientific research.  They know their subjects, but they have never experienced science as a exciting process, or used the scientific method in practice, or worked with scientists.  They are dedicated teachers, but how can they communicate these things to their students?

Four years ago a Lawrence Livermore Laboratory researcher named Laura Gilliam recognized this problem and obtained an NSF grant to do something about it.  Grant in hand, she contacted the California State University system’s chancellor for advice on coordinating the use of it.  The result was STAR, the Science Teacher and Researcher program. (more…)

Call for Proposals for 2011 CSTA Conference

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Conference LogoThe California Science Teachers Association is actively seeking classroom science teachers to present one-hour workshops and three- or six-hour Short Courses at the 2011 California Science Education Conference, October 21-23 in Pasadena, CA.  Science educators from throughout the state will gather for this highly-regarded annual professional development opportunity.  (more…)

U.S. Rises to International Average in Science

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

American students’ science performance climbed to the average for leading industrialized nations, while their mathematics performance remained below the average, despite gains in that subject from the last round of testing in 2006, based on results released today from a prominent international assessment. (more…)

What Lies Ahead for Science Ed.?

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

by Christine Bertrand

As teachers tasked with teaching science know, the last few years have not been kind to science education.  Especially in the elementary grades, as policymakers at the state and federal levels have ratcheted up the consequences for districts not meeting adequate yearly progress (AYP) in their math and reading scores, less and less science has been taught.  With the increase in teacher layoffs due to the state’s terrible budget situation, even secondary schools are seeing fewer science course offerings.

And as regular readers of California Classroom Science are aware, state policymakers halted the entire instructional materials adoption process, including the revision of the science framework that was due to be completed this year.  Is there any reason to hope for changes in the coming year? (more…)

Seeing Where the Microwaves Are in a Microwave Oven

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Microwaves are absorbed by wires creating current in the wires which can drive a neon lamp.  (more…)

Science Safety Tip #4

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

by Dean Gilbert

Negligence is the breach of a duty owed to someone to protect him or her from unreasonable risks of harm.   While science lab instruction presents potential hazards, prudent safety practices or “duty of care” greatly reduce accidents.

TIP #4- DUTY OF CARE INCLUDES:

√ Supervising students in the classroom
√ Providing adequate instructions
√ Maintaining lab equipment in proper working order
√ Providing safe facilities and equipment for labs
√ Warning students of any possible dangers

For more information regarding Duty of Care:
http://www.rbs2.com/labinj.htm

http://www.plu.edu/~labsafe/doc/negligence-duites.pdf

http://www.aapt.org/Resources/upload/safetypage1-11.pdf

http://www.acseduonline.com/courses/product.aspx?id=490

Region Four Report

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

by Pete A’Hearn

The Santa Rosa National Monument has a full schedule of events in December.  Check their website at http://www.desertmountains.org/events.html for more information.

December is a great time for astronomy if you can stand the cold.  Here is a report on sightings from Dr. Robert Victor at the Abrams Planetarium:

Venus reaches spectacular brilliance high in predawn darkness in December and is close enough to Earth for its crescent shape to be detected through binoculars.  An especially fine occasion for students to spot Venus in the daytime with unaided eye will come on morning of Dec. 2, as a waning crescent moon appears nearby, with encore performances on Dec. 31 and Jan. 29 and 30.

Jupiter dominates the evening sky this winter, with waxing moon nearby on Dec. 13 and Jan. 9 and 10.  Uranus can be spotted through binoculars in same field as Jupiter throughout December and January.

There’s a total lunar eclipse on the night of Monday, Dec. 20.  For California residents, the eclipse gets underway in late evening and becomes total before midnight.

An illustrated guide to these sky events and more, the Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar, and evening star maps for December 2010 and January 2011 are available, along with a finder chart for locating Uranus with binoculars, at www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/CSTADec-JanSkies/.

As the new region four director, I need help tracking all the events in a big and spread out region.  You can help me to include events in your part of region four by sending me information  about events and opportunities at pahearn@psusd.us.

Kinetic Theory Lab

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

by Jeff Bradbury and Patricia Buchanan

Question: All of these individual experiments found in this lab relate to one another. In knowing this, what one property of gases is demonstrated in the following experiments? (more…)

A Little Humor with the Periodic Table for the Holidays!

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

 

Tim Williamson

Many of you who teach the “Periodic Table” may have discovered that it can be very difficult to engage your younger students in understanding this rather intimidating chart.  Especially for those 3rd and 5th grade teachers where some sort of periodic table interaction is part of their science standards.

I’ve been using a fun and unique getting-acquainted-with-the-periodic-table game with my preservice elementary science methods teachers at CSULB for many years.  It’s a great way to introduce elementary students to the periodic table and helps take away some of the “scary feelings” associated with the chart. (more…)

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

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

by Rick Pomeroy, with Sara and Ellen

Sara and Ellen: California Science Education Conference Reflections

Now that the 2010 California Science Education Conference has been put to bed, I thought it would be informative to ask Sara and Ellen about their experiences in Sacramento.  Both attended the conference in Sacramento, and both have some important things to say about their experiences.

Rick: What was the most beneficial thing you gained by attending?

Ellen: The most beneficial part of the CSTA conference was the resource room.  The workshops are also amazing, but to have hundreds of resource tables in rows ready, willing, and able to help all science teaching disciplines was wonderful.  I was able to get many free gifts such as: class sets of periodic tables, maps and posters, lesson plans, and lab equipment.  I also came in contact with many vendors who could help suggest different laboratories for classrooms and email lists to join. (more…)

Don’t Miss Your Chance . . .

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

to present a workshop at the 2011 California Science Education Conference in Pasadena.  The conference is only as good as the educational sessions presented there, and we need teachers of ALL grades and ALL disciplines to share their expertise, strategies, and good ideas with their colleagues around the state.  This means YOU!

Proposals are now being accepted for one-hour workshops and three-hour short courses.  Check out the details and apply online at http://www.cascience.org/csta/conf_wsprop.asp for workshops and http://www.cascience.org/csta/conf_scprop.asp for short courses.  Lead presenters of workshops and short courses who are members of CSTA receive complimentary conference registration.

The Night Sky in December

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

by Pete A’Hearn

December is a great time for astronomy if you can stand the cold.  Here is a report on sightings from Dr. Robert Victor at the Abrams Planetarium.

Venus reaches spectacular brilliance high in predawn darkness in December and is close enough to Earth for its crescent shape to be detected through binoculars.  An especially fine occasion for students to spot Venus in the daytime with unaided eye will come on morning of December 2, as a waning crescent moon appears nearby, with encore performances on Dec. 31 and Jan. 29 and 30.

Jupiter dominates the evening sky this winter, with waxing moon nearby on Dec. 13 and Jan. 9 and 10.  Uranus can be spotted through binoculars in same field as Jupiter throughout December and January.

There’s a total lunar eclipse on the night of Monday, Dec. 20.  For California residents, the eclipse gets underway in late evening and becomes total before midnight.

An illustrated guide to these sky events and more, the Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar and evening star maps for Dec. 2010 and Jan. 2011, are available, along with a finder chart for locating Uranus with binoculars, at www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/CSTADec-JanSkies/.

Pete A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is region 4 director for CSTA.

Short Course Proposals

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Short Courses are one of the more popular types of programs offered at the California Science Education Conference.  More often than not, Short Courses are three-hour programs that offer an opportunity for participants to really get an in-depth, hands-on learning experience.  Some conference participants enjoy Short Courses so much that they fill their entire conference schedule with Short Courses.

Short Courses are offered at three times during the course of the conference, on Friday, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm and on Saturday, 9:00 am – 12:00 pm and 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.  They are ticketed events, meaning that not only is there a limit on the number of participants, there is also guaranteed seating and the opportunity for presenters of Short Courses to be reimbursed for the course materials.

If you are interested in presenting a program of this type at the 2011 California Science Education Conference in Pasadena, CSTA is now accepting proposals.  CSTA members who present a Short Course are provided with a complimentary registration to the conference.  For information on how to submit a proposal to present a Short Course, please visit http://www.cascience.org/csta/conf_scprop.asp.  There you will find a link to the proposal form as well as more information regarding Short Courses.

Have you ever attended or presented a Short Course at the California Science Education Conference?  If so, please share with us your experience.

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