September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Impossible Motion

Monday, February 28th, 2011


Created by Kokichi Sugihara of the Meiji Institute for Advanced Study of Mathematical Sciences in Japan. The Impossible Motion Magnet-Like Slopes was the first prize winner at the Best Illusion of the Year Contest 2010.

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

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

by Rick Pomeroy, with Sara and Ellen

I decided to change up the format of the Sara and Ellen articles for this edition.  Instead of me asking them questions, I thought it would be interesting to see what questions they might ask of me at this point in their first years of teaching. As you recall, Sara and Ellen were my students last year. Both have stayed in touch with me through these articles as well as through their work on their Masters of Arts projects this year. After reviewing their lists of questions, I have chosen four that I feel are representative of the kinds of questions many first year teachers may have.  If any experienced teachers have additional comments or other ideas, I would encourage you to post them as comments in the new eCCS format or reply to me personally at jrpomeroy@ucdavis.edu or to Sara and Ellen directly at SaraandEllen@gmail.com (more…)

Events in Region 1

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

March 5, 2011
Humboldt County, CA
Project WET Workshop

The City of Eureka Stormwater Division, North Coast CREEC Network; Humboldt County 4-H, and Sequoia Park Zoo invite you to a Project WET workshop focused on the issue of stormwater. Participants will walk away with a great overview of local stormwater issues, a better understanding of local examples of stormwater best management practices and a Project WET guide. CEU credit is available. To register, please contact Amber Neilson at: education@sequoiaparkzoo.net–or- (707) 441-4217.

March 11, 2011
Berkeley, CA
Seeing Radiation: Nuclear Science Experiments

American Nuclear Society will be presenting a free workshop for high school science teachers. Participants will receive a cloud chamber kit, Geiger counter, workbooks and classroom curriculum. It will include a tour of the Advanced Light Source or Cyclotron. Space is limited, so don’t delay. Click for more information.

March 12 and May 7, 2011
Woodland, CA
2011 Teacher Institute: “Best Practices of Environmental Education and Stewardship”

The California Environmental Education Foundation, in partnership with Yolo County Office of Education (YCOE), invites Northern California educators (Regions 1-6), who teach students of grades K-12, with preference given to grades 4-8, to participate in a unique Three-Saturday Teacher Institute [January 15; March 12; May 7] utilizing an Action Research model to maximize collaborative learning in environmental education and place-based stewardship. Primary fund support for the Institute comes from the Saxton Family Foundation and the state Department of Water Resources. The Institute will be held at YCOE Conference Center, 1280 Santa Anita Court, Suite 120, Woodland, CA 95776. Click for more information. An application is available at:http://www.creec.org/stories/storyReader$39
Application Deadline: December 15, 2010.

March 18-19, 2011
Sacramento, CA
Sacramento Regional Science & Engineering Fair

The annual Sacramento Regional Science & Engineering Fair showcases students in the greater Sacramento region who will become our future scientists, technology experts, engineers, and mathematicians. This regional competition celebrates achievement by middle and high school students, supported by devoted parents, teachers, and other mentors.

For more information visit: http://www.srsefair.org/

March 22, 2011 &
April 12, 2011
Sacramento, CA
Science in the River City

Science in the River City is an outstanding standards-based professional development program for 3rd to 12th grade science teachers. SIRC is held approximately once a month at Sacramento State during the academic year. The program is designed to deepen teachers’ understanding of science (through hands-on, inquiry-based labs and activities) and provide innovative ideas, lessons and strategies for teachers to use in their classrooms. The workshops are taught by university faculty or teacher leaders from the Sacramento Area Science Project.

For more information or to register on-line visit:http://www.csus.edu/mase/sem_inst/sirc.htm

March 23, 2011
Focus on Grades K-5

March 24, 2011
Focus on Grades 6-12

4:00-6:00 p.m.

Far Northern California counties via video-conference

Strategic Science Teaching Workshop Building Content Literacy Through Literature

Learn to make use of Strategic Science Teaching, Grades K-12: A Sampler of Science Lessons Connecting Literature with the California Standards. During this workshop you will: • Enhance your science program with literature selections* aligned with grade level science standards. • Utilize fiction and non-fiction literature selections to launch a science investigation and feature literacy strategies. • Collaborate with teachers at your grade span on identifying student outcomes for science learning. Each workshop participant will receive a grade-specific literature selection, grade level science lesson masters, and practice with the literacy strategies that are emphasized for each literature selection. All workshops are provided via videoconference to a county office near you. Register at: K-5 Science (March 23)— or — Grades 6-12 Science (March 24). TheStrategic Science Teaching book is now available FREE online in PDF format at http://www.ccsesa.org/index/committees.cfm?cid=7. After February 4, contact Marian Murphy-Shaw at mshaw@siskiyoucoe.net.

March 25, 2011
Redding, CA
Map It, Manage It, Sustain It

The Forest Foundation is sponsoring a field trip opportunity for teachers and students. The one day event will be held at Shasta College in Redding and will be focused around introducing teachers and students to Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Send your RSVP ASAP to ensure a space for your school. For more information please e-mail mdunaetz@shastacollege.edu or call 530-410-4836.

April 23, 2011
Redding, CA
Whole Earth and Watershed Festival

Thousands of people are expected to attend this year’s festival to learn how they can live a healthier lifestyle, save money and energy, protect natural resources and discover how the work of many local groups help make our region’s communities better places to live. We are excited about the variety of “green” ways to get to the Festival this year! It’s a great day to dust off your bike, get on a RABA bus, carpool, walk, or run to the 2011 Whole Earth and Watershed Festival and join in the celebration of Earth Day (April 22nd) and Watershed Awareness Month (May). It’s sure to be an experience you and your family will not want to miss! More information is available at: http://wholeearthandwatershedfestival.org/homemain.html.

April 29, 2011
Incline Village, NV
Project WET Workshop

The California Project WET program in partnership with the Tahoe Center for Environmental Research, Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships, Nevada and Hawaii Project WET programs, and the Association for Experiential Education invite you to register for this action-packed, pre-conference water education workshop at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Research. The workshop will be focused on the use of Project WET activities to integrate knowledge of local water resources and issues, as well as methods to bring experiential education into the classroom. All participants will receive lunch and walk away with their own Project WET guide. Registration details will be available after February 1, 2011 at: http://west.aee.org/conferences.

What Contains Carbon?…¿Qué Contiene Carbono?…什麼東西含有碳?

Friday, February 25th, 2011

Courtesy of the California Academy of Sciences

Abstract

In this activity, students will learn that carbon is an extremely common element on the earth which can be found in many forms, in both living and non-living things.

Objectives

In this activity, students will:

  1. learn that carbon is an extremely common element on the earth.
  2. learn that carbon can be found in many forms, in both living and non-living things. (more…)

The Kaweah Oaks Preserve: A Jewel in Central California

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

by Michelle French

The last two years, my co-workers and I have taken our first grade students to the Kaweah Oaks Preserve (KOP).  According to its website, “Kaweah Oaks Preserve, a 322-acre nature preserve, protects one of the last remaining valley oak riparian forests in the San Joaquin Valley.”  It really is so much more than that.

KOP is an opportunity to take a journey back in time and imagine how ourKaweah Oaks valley looked hundreds of years ago.  Each year, close to 1000 students from the Tulare County area experience how science and nature are as beautifully intertwined as the wild grapevines that climb the majestic valley oak trees.  I recently had the pleasure of talking with Laura Childers, the Education and Volunteer Director of the Sequoia Riverlands Trust (SRT).  The SRT is a “non-profit land trust dedicated to conserving the natural and agricultural legacy of the southern Sierra Nevada and San Joaquin Valley.”  The trust controls and protects over 10,000 acres of land, including that of the Kaweah Oaks Preserve.

As we talked over a cup of hot tea, Laura told me about how she came to serve in this position and espoused the SRT’s nature conservation efforts in Central California.   Her love of what she does is infectious, and she relishes exploring ways to educate both children and adults about the importance of nature conservancy. (more…)

Integrating Science and English Language Development

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

by Valerie Joyner

Teachers frequently see children light up with excitement about science activities, and nothing motivates language development like the hunger to express exciting new ideas.  For the past two years the Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry (IFI) and the Sonoma Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) have teamed up to explore the powerful connections between language acquisition and science.  Armed with funding from the U.S. Department of Education, the Vadasz Family Foundation, and the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, El Verano Elementary School has brought science lessons into the mainstream of English Language Development. (more…)

Events in Region 1

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

February 8, 2011
Incline Village, NV
Project WET Workshop

The Tahoe Resource Conservation District, Tahoe Center for Environmental Science, and Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships (SWEP) and invite you to the Tahoe Center for Environmental Science in Incline Village, Nevada to gain greater knowledge of your local watershed through the hands-on activities of Project WET. All participants will walk away with their own Project WET guide and the opportunity to register for CEU credit. Please contact Christine McMorrow (chrisitine@4swep.org) or Sarah Ford at: (530) 543-1501 x 114 -or- sford@tahoercd.org to register.

February 8, 2011
Santa Rosa, CA
Sonoma County Science Fair

Public viewing of projects will be on February 7 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Contact Mike Roa at mroa@scoe.org.

February 13, 2011
Carmichael, CA
Sacramento Darwin Day Celebration

TOPIC: Back to the Future: Or, What Can We Learn from Louisiana’s 2008 Science Education Act? The Louisiana Science Education Act that was passed in 2008 is the product of an alliance between the Discovery Institute, a creationist think tank in Seattle, and the Louisiana Family Forum, the Louisiana arm of Focus on the Family. Governor Bobby Jindal, a close ally of the Louisiana Family Forum, served as the lynchpin of the LFF’s plan to promote a version of the Discovery Institute’s model legislative statute on “academic freedom.” This model bill is really a creationist Trojan horse, and it is now the law in Louisiana.

Tickets are $7.50 in advance, or $10 at the door. For more information, visit sacdarwinday.info.

February 25-26, 2011
Central Valley, CA
STEMposium

The Central Section of the California Mathematics Council is holding its Inaugural STEMposium, located in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. Sessions focus on the value of STEM learning environments as a way to engage students and increase motivation in grades 6 to 12 classrooms. Exposure to real world contexts provides relevance as students grapple with and develop a deep understanding of the STEM disciplines that will be the basis for their careers in the 21st Century. Registration is $99 per person with a special rate of $250 for a school site team of three that includes an administrator/teacher combination. Each additional team member will be at the $99 fee. A private VIP dinner is provided for the first 100 people registered and includes a dynamic presentation on the TI Nspire with door prizes provided by Texas Instruments. For more information and to register click: cmc-math.org/organization/central/central.html.

March 5, 2011
Humboldt County, CA
Project WET Workshop

The City of Eureka Stormwater Division, North Coast CREEC Network; Humboldt County 4-H, and Sequoia Park Zoo invite you to a Project WET workshop focused on the issue of stormwater. Participants will walk away with a great overview of local stormwater issues, a better understanding of local examples of stormwater best management practices and a Project WET guide. CEU credit is available. To register, please contact Amber Neilson at: education@sequoiaparkzoo.net–or- (707) 441-4217.

March 18-19, 2011
Sacramento, CA
Sacramento Regional Science & Engineering Fair

The annual Sacramento Regional Science & Engineering Fair showcases students in the greater Sacramento region who will become our future scientists, technology experts, engineers, and mathematicians. This regional competition celebrates achievement by middle and high school students, supported by devoted parents, teachers, and other mentors.

For more information visit: http://www.srsefair.org/

March 23, 2011
Focus on Grades K-5

March 24, 2011
Focus on Grades 6-12

4:00-6:00 p.m.

Far Northern California counties via video-conference

Strategic Science Teaching Workshop Building Content Literacy Through Literature

Learn to make use of Strategic Science Teaching, Grades K-12: A Sampler of Science Lessons Connecting Literature with the California Standards. During this workshop you will: • Enhance your science program with literature selections* aligned with grade level science standards. • Utilize fiction and non-fiction literature selections to launch a science investigation and feature literacy strategies. • Collaborate with teachers at your grade span on identifying student outcomes for science learning. Each workshop participant will receive a grade-specific literature selection, grade level science lesson masters, and practice with the literacy strategies that are emphasized for each literature selection. All workshops are provided via videoconference to a county office near you. Register at: K-5 Science (March 23)— or — Grades 6-12 Science (March 24). The Strategic Science Teaching book is now available FREE online in PDF format at http://www.ccsesa.org/index/committees.cfm?cid=7. After February 4, contact Marian Murphy-Shaw at mshaw@siskiyoucoe.net.

Extreme Sunbeam

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Jem Stansfield of BBC’s Bang Goes The Theory, travels to the Solar Furnace Research Facility in Southern France to see what kind of damage highly concentrated sunlight can do (a lot, apparently).

What is it?

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

Feb. photoSubmit your guess and check back next month for the answer.

The answer to last month’s photo.

Pasadena…Home of Science and Engineering in Southern California

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

. . . and the 2011 California Science Education Conference

The beautiful city of Pasadena will host the 20th annual California Science Education Conference.  CSTA invites you to this charming Southern California “city that feels like a village.”  Not only does Pasadena offer excellent convention facilities, hotels, and restaurants, it is also home to institutions that are recognized worldwide for the important contributions they have made to science and technology since the early 20th century.

Some of the biggest advances in astronomy, medicine, geology, and space exploration have occurred here, making it a great location in which to host the 2011 California Science Education Conference.

Pasadena’s reputation as a major center for science continues to attract great minds eager to make the next big discovery.  Pasadena is the home of many venerable science and engineering institutions, including Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and California Institute of Technology (Caltech).  Below are a few fun facts about these institutions: (more…)

A Rose is Born

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

CSTA Science Education Conference 2011, Pasadena

Pasadena, the city of the famous Tournament of Roses parade, is soon to become the “City of Science.”  The 20th California Science Education Conference will be held in this beautiful Southern California city this fall.  The conference committee has been hard at work creating a program that will burst into bloom October 21-23, 2011.

You say it’s a bit early to be thinking about a conference that is nine months away?  It is actually a perfect time to begin thinking about this conference.  You may not know it, but your school district is starting to plan for the distribution of its Title II monies for the 2011-12 school years’ professional development activities.  Past Title II money distributions have typically gone to the so-called high-needs areas of math and reading/language arts.  It’s my guess that this is because many teachers are not aware that these monies can and should be divided equally between all of the content areas.  (more…)

UC Museum of Paleontology Wins the Prestigious SPORE Award

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

by Judy ScotchmoorUnderstanding Science

[Editor’s note: In our January issue of CCS, CSTA announced that the UC Museum of Paleontology’s Understanding Science and Understanding Evolution websites had been awarded the prestigious Science Prize for Online Resources in Education—the SPORE award.  The following article by the project coordinator (and past CSTA board member), Judy Scotchmoor, describes the background and significance of the two websites.] (more…)

Acids and Bases Lab

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

by Jeff Bradbury and Patricia Buchanan

Name ____________________

Date _____________________

Partners’ Name ____________

Question: When using materials to clean our house, are the products used usually acidic or basic, Why do you think so?

Purpose: To determine the importance of acids and bases while measuring the pH of different substances.

Part 1 Introduction:

In this lab you will be working in groups of two.

Acids were first recognized as substances that taste sour (The sour taste of lemons and limes is due to citric acid), will dissolve certain metals, and will dissolve some types of rocks.

Bases were characterized by their bitter taste and slippery feel (Hand soaps and toothpastes, for example).

A neutral solution is neither basic nor acidic.  Acids and bases will react together to form neutral solutions.  One can say that an acid will neutralize a base and vice-versa.

Indicators are substances that change color depending on whether they are in an acidic or basic solution.

In today’s lab you will observe some characteristic chemical and physical properties of acids and bases.

SAFETY

Safety goggles must be worn at all times. Hydrochloric acid, HCl, and acetic acid, HC2H3O2 can harm eyes, skin, and clothing.  Handle with care.  Any acid spilled on the skin or splashed into your eye should be rinsed with a large volume of water. NaOH and NH3(aq) solutions are corrosive to the skin and can harm your eyes.  Any base spilled on the skin or splashed into your eyes should be rinsed with a large volume of water.

Measuring pH with pH (Universal indicator) paper:

In your spot plate, obtain a sample (half-fill the wells) of each of the solutions shown in the table below.  Dip a small (1cm) piece of Universal Indicator paper into each well.  Record the color of the paper and match the color to the pH scale on the tube of paper.

Measuring pH with cabbage juice:

Make sure there is no Universal Indicator paper in the solution wells.  Obtain a piece of purple cabbage (one leaf) from the reagent bench.  Break it up into small pieces and boil it in about 150 ml of de-ionized water in a 250 ml beaker.  Add 15 drops of the cabbage juice extract to each of the wells of your spot plate.  Make sure you add the same amount of extract to each well.  Record the color of each solution.

Complete the table that compares the colors of each pH indicator at each pH

Table 1: Chemicals and their pH

Solution Color of cabbage juice Color of pH paper pH
.1 M HCL
.01 M HCl
.001 M HCl
.1 M NaOH
.01 M NaOH
.001 M NaOH
Windex
Milk
Orange Juice
Distilled water
Honey
Vinegar
NaCl
Tap water
Lemon juice

Compare your results with others in your group. Re-test those that are different.

Dispose of all solutions into the sink.

Complete the table showing the color of cabbage juice at each pH. 1-14.

Cabbage juice color pH
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14

Acid Base Notes

Properties of Acids and Bases
Chemistry of Acids and Bases

Questions and Answers:

1.       Which substances had different pH’s than you expected?

2.       Why are acids and bases important?

3.       Were the household cleaners basic or acidic or both?

4.       What does pH mean to you now?

Jeff Bradbury is a professor of chemistry at Cerritos College in Norwalk and is community college director for CSTA; Patricia Buchanan is the Cal Grip Grant Project Assistant at Cerritos College. The original idea for this activity came from the Los Angeles County Office of Education 15 years ago, which the authors modified.

CDE on iTunes U

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

The California Department of Education has partnered with Apple Inc. to launch CDE on iTunes U, a place where teachers can download lectures, discussions, audiobooks, podcasts, and many other forms of educational content.   (more…)

News and Events in Region 2

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

Feb. 5 & March 5, 2011
San Francisco, CA
Birding at Heron’s Head Park

San Francisco Nature Education Announces 2011 tours of Heron’s Head Park. Come by and experience the thrill of observing and learning about the waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds that call the park home during the winter. Recent sightings include Harlequin Duck and White-tailed kite. Tours will be led by interns from Lowell and Lincoln High Schools equipped with spotting scopes. Free event; donations accepted. Free parking is available near entrance. Meet at 10:00 am at Heron’s Head Park for tours that leave every 30 minutes with the last tour at 11:30 am. Heron’s Head Park is located at Jennings Street & Cargo Way, two blocks south of Pier 96. For more information visit our website at www.sfnature.org, call us at 415-387-9160, or email us at info@sfnature.org. Co-Sponsored by Port of San Francisco and Golden Gate Audubon Society.

Feb. 7-9, 2011
San Francisco, CA
Assessing for Learning

Offered by the Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry. For a detailed workshop brochure, visit http://www.exploratorium.edu/ifi/workshops. For questions, call 415-561-0397.

Feb. 19, 2011
Solano County, CA
Project WET Workshop

This FREE workshop is provided by the Solano County Water Agency, Solano Irrigation District School Water Education Program (SWEP), with support from the City of Vallejo- Water Division. This informative, fun, hands-on workshop will demonstrate the use of Project WET activities to engage student learning of local water issues. Concurrent-training sessions will be provided for K-6th grade educators and 7-12th grade educators. Educational materials, breakfast and lunch will be provided free to all Solano County participants. CEU credit is available. Limited to the first 25 educators that register. Contact Ursula Heffernon at: (530) 661-7149 –or– uheffernon@pacbell.net.

March 4, 2011
San Jose, CA
Project WET Workshop

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is offering a unique experience that will not only engage you in Project WET activities, but will also provide a wealth of information on local water issues and additional materials that can be incorporated into the activities. Each participant will walk away with their own Project WET guide, a new appreciation for the magic of water, and the opportunity to receive CEU credit. Contact Kathy Machado at: (408) 265-2607-2331 –or — kmachado@valleywater.org.

April 1, 2011
San Francisco, CA
STEMposium

STEMposium is the collaboration of leaders in STEM education who are sharing their innovations in how to teach, learn and engage STEM in the classroom through 60 second videos. Students, teachers and other educational innovators are invited to upload their videos through this site. The most compelling videos will be selected through several rounds of reviews, starting in February and ending in March. Selected presenters will be invited to speak at the STEMposium Event on April 1, 2011 in San Francisco. These videos will be identified within one of five tracks: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Integrated STEM.

For more information visit: http://www.stemposium.org/home

Registration for the Sunday, May 1, 2011 Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour is now open. Register now at http://bringingbackthenatives.net/ to receive your garden guide in the first mailing.  This event is expected to fill; registering at this time will reserve your place on the tour.

4-H Programs Focus on Science

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

by Steven Worker, Martin Smith, Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, Richard Mahacek

4-H, the nation’s largest nonformal youth education program, has made a commitment to help address youth science literacy needs in the U.S. through its 4-H Science Mission Mandate.  This effort seeks to engage youth across the country in out-of-school time science programming that is experientially based, uses inquiry methods, and supports the National Science Education Standards.  By offering engaging science programming in nonformal settings, youth are provided with a variety of options that address different learning needs and promote excitement in learning about phenomena in the natural world. (more…)

Enforcing Safety in the Science Lab

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

by Heather A Marshall

In many schools, teachers are blessed with administrators who understand the difficulty of ensuring safety in a science classroom, and they back teachers in any way they can to help support teachers in their safety  requirements.  However, when the “referral to the office” strategy doesn’t work because students don’t see any consequences for their actions, teachers are required to devise other means of dealing with disruptive and potentially unsafe behaviors in the lab.  (This is assuming the teacher has already conferenced with the student, and with the parents before any referral to the office.)

One such strategy I have used is to exclude a student from the activity by sending him or her to the office to sit (suspend from class for the day), and the student receives a zero for the lab activity.

Another method I have used is to keep disruptive students in the class into the passing period if they waste my class time.  I tell them the amount of time they waste for me in class they can make up during their passing time.  Students are very possessive about their passing time; they like to hang with friends, so this threat often works well.  However, you do have to actually hold them to prove you will do what you say.  I have found this very effective with my constant chatterers and disruptors.

The send-out-with-a zero-for-the-day strategy I have used with students not following laboratory directions, so the “kick out” is for the safety of everyone in the room.  Typically I only have to do this once as well; from then on, the students know I will not deal with inappropriate behavior in the lab.

So even if you are in a district or site where referrals to the office, in terms of discipline, doesn’t work, you can use some of these strategies to take control again.

Heather Marshall teaches CP geology at Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill and is CSTA’s high school director.

(This is assuming the teacher has already conferenced with the student, and with the parents before any referral to the office.)

Family Science Fair Nights

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

In the last issue of CCS, I talked in a general way about family science nights as a way to get families involved in doing hands-on science together.  In the next few issues I will go into more detail about a few types of family science nights. (more…)

Truth in Labeling

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

by Pete A’Hearn

One of the high schools in my area decided this year that they would not do science fair anymore.  It used to be a requirement for honors classes.  It was what made an honors class different from a regular biology class.  The decision was made because doing an independent science project took too much time away from the preparation for CST testing.  Since doing the project wasn’t directly correlated with any CST test questions, it wasn’t deemed to be worth the time spent.  Yes, there are Investigation and Experimentation standards on the test, but only 10 percent, and it is often to see how doing an actual project directly prepares the kids for the test. (more…)

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