January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Get Your Students Started in Sky Watching

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Robert Victor

The current school year will be exceptionally rich for sky watching. October is a good time to get your students started! (more…)

Congratulations Awards Winners!

Friday, September 30th, 2011

CSTA congratulates Guadalupe De La O, Ziba Mayar, Ericka Senegar-Mitchell, and Dean Baird for their stuffing achievements! CSTA will honor them during the Awards Breakfast at the 2011 California Science Education Conference on October 22, at the Sheraton Pasadena Hotel.

Meet the 2011 Recipient CSTA Future Science Teacher Award:

Guadalupe De La O

Ms. De La O is a dedicated preservice teacher. She is bright, hard working, and committed to becoming an outstanding teacher. She takes advantage of opportunities which will help her grow as a teacher and she is receptive to feedback. I look forward to see where her career takes her. Having watched her mature as a teacher, and having taught with her, I am very confident in saying that I believe she’s going to be a great teacher! During her preparation program, she has shown a true commitment to becoming and exemplary science educator and I believe she will continue to grow in the science teacher leader who will guide her own students on to greatness. – Laura Henriques

Guadalupe De La O received her bachelor’s degree in Biology, Option Education, from CSU Long Beach. She completed her student teaching for single subject biology in 2011. In 2009 she was named a Robert Noyce Scholar. She taught science at two summer camps hosted by CSU Long Beach, the Young Scientists Camp and the Science Education Experience to Help Underserved Students Succeed! (SEE US Succeed!) – a program developed for K-8 homeless children in Long Beach USD. (more…)

Green Schools and Community Colleges Summits & Expo Coming Soon

Friday, September 30th, 2011

From October 17-18, the Green California Schools Summit and the Green California Community Colleges Summit will be held concurrently at the Pasadena Convention Center. Green Technology, which organizes the events, has announced that Carl Pope, Sierra Club executive chairman and co-chair of the newly-formed BlueGreen Alliance, will be the keynote speaker. (more…)

CSTA Member Notice of Annual Meeting and Report

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The annual meeting of the members of the California Science Teachers Association will be held on Friday, October 21, 2011 in Ballroom D/E of the Pasadena Convention Center. Located at 300 E. Green Street, Pasadena, CA 91101. Please join CSTA for an update on the business of the association followed by an interactive keynote presentation on the future of science education in America. (more…)

Sold Out Hotels ~ World Famous People ~ Exclusive Opportunities!

Friday, September 30th, 2011

What is it you ask?

Is it the World Series? No. The royal wedding of Will and Kate? Nope. The final launch of the space shuttle? NO!

It’s the California Science Education Conference! For the first time ever, the California Science Education Conference is coming to Pasadena and it is better than ever.

Sold Out Hotels:
Two hotels have already sold out, but we still have a few rooms at the Hilton – so make your reservations on-line today:http://www.conferencehousing.com/csta/Pasadena/.

World Famous People:
CSTA has pulled out all the stops for this year’s program. (more…)

Getting to Know Jim Brazell

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Keynote Speaker at our CSTA Annual Conference, October 21, 2011
What’s Next for Science Education in America?

by Valerie Joyner

This year we are extremely excited to have noted speaker, strategist, and technology forecaster Jim Brazell give the keynote address at our annual CSTA Conference on Friday, October 21. Jim is a compelling speaker and powerful story-teller who will engage us in a lively interactive session that is far more than a speech. We will all be thinking and talking about the future of science education.

What is technology? Is it a thing, a design, or way of thinking? Throughout the history of education, one thing has always remained constant… there will be change. Students have moved from Horn Books and pieces of slate, to chalkboards, whiteboards, and now Smart-boards. Curriculum has changed from the didactic teachings of Plato, to learning science while tilling the field, to rote memory of scientific facts and arithmetic. Our references have expanded from textbooks to include audio-books and on-line books. (more…)

Ed Begley, Jr. Practices What He Preaches!

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Tim Williamson

You will have to look long and hard to find a man like Ed Begley, Jr.  He is a conservationist educator and a tenacious supporter of the “sustainability” lifestyle.  If ever there was a man who practices what he preaches, Ed Begley, Jr. is that man.  I had the privilege of listening to Ed when he was the California Science Education Conference keynote speaker in Palm Springs in 2005.  He captivates his audience with personal stories of environmental awareness, adding a touch of humor to keep you interested as well as entertained. (more…)

CSTA Launches Online Conference Program Book

Friday, September 30th, 2011

CSTA is pleased to inform you that the on-line program book for the conference is now posted on the web. This will allow you to save your own custom schedule, view it on your mobile device, review individual workshops, and much, much more.

Please note, adding workshops and other events to your conference schedule does not reserve you a seat in that session. It is simply for your reference. All workshops are fist-come first-serve. If you would like to purchase a ticket for a Field Course or Short Course, you may do that via registration.

Explore Events & Speakers
This year’s schedule will allow you to explore the detailed agenda using multiple visual formats and filters, create a personalized itinerary and discover other attendees, speakers, & exhibitors.

One Click To Start
Getting started is easy, simply connect your Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn account and we’ll show your friends & contacts also attending. Prefer to keep things private? Create a private account to keep your plans to yourself.

Your Schedule On The Go
Print out your plans to keep them handy or get the most up to date data by using your mobile device or subscribing to the schedule and synchronizing with Microsoft Outlook or Google Calendar.

And There’s Even More…
Get started today by visiting http://csta2011.sched.org/ and maximize your event experience!

Check out the “how to” video for a detailed explanation of its use:

“How to” video link: http://www.cascience.org/csta/conf_programbook_video.asp.

Online program is available at: http://csta2011.sched.org/.

“Changing Humans in a Changing Environment”

Friday, September 30th, 2011

Symposium on Human Evolution to be Webcast Live from NABT Conference in Anaheim on Friday, October 14, 2011

Would you and your students like to learn more about the dynamic interplay between the ecological forces that shaped the distinctive traits that make us human, and human actions that are changing the environment around us?  If so, you will be excited to learn that the annual NABT Evolution Symposium will be accessible via a free, live webcast on Friday, October 14th from 1:30 pm to 5:30 pm, Pacific time.

Teachers and students are encouraged to tune in to all or part of the free webcast for an opportunity to hear internationally renowned researchers discuss their fascinating, cutting-edge work in human evolution.  Classrooms all over the world will even be able to submit their questions online and have the speakers respond in real time! (more…)

Wyland: Merging Art, Science, and Conservation

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Dean Gilbert

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to meet marine conservation artist Wyland at an Earth Day event in the San Fernando Valley.  We were both there to celebrate the winners of the Robert Bateman Get to Know Environmental Science Art Contest. After the awards presentation, Wyland and I had lunch and discussed a variety of topics.  I shared my interest in science; he shared his passion for art.  Oddly enough, the topics we discussed were very much similar in nature, no pun intended.


Why does my bacon taste like rawhide?

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Carolyn Holcroft

Shirley Corriher will tell you, in the most wonderfully scientific terms, although let’s hope that question isn’t on the table as you spend the Saturday morning breakfast session with her at the 2011 CSTA Conference. As it turns out, an extra few seconds on the stove can mean the difference between a deliciously denatured protein and an unsavory porcine disaster. (more…)

Region 4 News and Events

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Peter A’Hearn

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”


As committed and passionate science teachers, we know that our job is to light fires in our kid’s minds.  Two different presidents, in the last three State of the Union Addresses, have spoken about the importance about ‘lighting the fires of science education’ so that American schools graduate more scientists and engineers. But often, the standards we teach read more like a list of contents for filling vessels than the sparks that will set imaginations on fire. Nor are the CST released test questions the fiery ones that will take minds on voyages of discovery. (more…)

Region 2 News and Events

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Eric Lewis

As always, it’s an exciting time for Science!  I’m not sure how many of you have had an opportunity to look over the new Framework for K-12 Science Education (download the FREE pdf here), but it seems to be a great move forward for Science Education.  I know that there is a lot of excitement over the new California Common Core Standards for English/Language Arts and Mathematics.  I hope that our standards are also so well received.  I’m also glad that California will be one of the lead states that will be working on creating the Common Core Standards for Science. (more…)

Hey students, there are many ways to attend the conference!

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Laura Henriques

If you are a preservice science teacher, have we got good news for you! The upcoming California Science Education Conference in Pasadena has many things to offer you. CSTA has done all it can to help make conference attendance attractive to you!

Lots of Sessions Just for You – While you would be able to find value in just about all of the conference offerings, there are dozens of sessions specifically developed and tailored just for you. These sessions address topics such as classroom management, science safety issues, understanding what administrators are looking for when they come observe your teaching, assessment techniques, the unveiling of a new website to support new teachers, and strategies for teaching students with special needs and English learners. Many other sessions in the conference will address these topics, but the sessions listed in the new teacher strand were selected just for you! (more…)

My Dream Vacation

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Rick Pomeroy

While travelling this weekend, I got to thinking about what makes vacations special. Vacations either take you to places you have never been before or to favorite spots where you know the people and the activities. People often take vacations with friends, sharing new and exciting activities and places to eat. They often find themselves talking and visiting long into the night, solving life’s problems and renewing friendships through personal, not electronic, contact. (more…)

CSTA Annual Conference: Rich in Middle School Curriculum

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Lisa Hegdahl

It’s almost October!  Along with the cold weather, pumpkins, and scary costumes, it is also time for the annual California Science Education Conference (October 21-23).  And this year, for the first time ever, it is in beautiful Pasadena, California at the Pasadena Convention Center.  I have been an 8th grade Science teacher for over 20 years; it is a conservative estimate to say that 90% of the educational materials I use on a regular basis have come from the CSTA’s annual conferences. (more…)

Is More Science Learned in or Outside the Classroom?

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Grahme Smith

A recent article published in American Scientist entitled “The 95 Percent Solution” argues that Americans learn as much if not more science outside the classroom as within. In the article, John Falk and Lynn Dierking use data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) to show that in elementary school, Americans score high in science compared to other countries on these tests. We then score poorly during middle and high school, and then score well again as adults. It is argued that this “U” shaped trend is not based of the lack the quantity and quality science taught in middle and high school. In fact, students receive more science from teachers actually trained to teach science in these grades, yet during these years the scores of Americans go down. (more…)

Program Highlights for High School Teachers

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Heather Marshall

While setting up my schedule for the California Science Education Conference (October 21-23), I was looking at the variety of high school workshops being offered this year.  I was impressed by how many different categories there were!  This year, there are workshops geared toward every major science taught in secondary schools, plus environmental science, marine biology, technology, biotechnology, and even classroom organization. Some of these workshops will provide new ideas for experienced teachers and others will offer experienced ideas for new teachers. What ever your level if experience, there is something here for you. A few of the workshops or sessions that caught my eye are. (more…)

Meet Katy Sullivan – Focus Speaker

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Katy Sullivan, along with Ryan Russell of Hangar Prosthetics and Orthotics, will present as focus speakers at the 2011 California Science Education Conference. (more…)

What is it?

Thursday, September 29th, 2011


What is it September explanation

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Micrograph of  an arachnid insect using compound microscope. Magnification 200X.  ** Note: Shallow depth of field.

Responses from readers:

Sean Timmons: Epidermis?

Harry Post: The eyes/head of an arachnid.

Rick Pomeroy: I think it is the back of a fly.

Richard Moore: It’s a frog’s hairy upper lip that is seriously infested with black lady bugs.


State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces California Will Lead Effort in Writing New National Science Standards

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

SACRAMENTO—Demonstrating the state’s leadership in science, technology, and its commitment to 21st century learning, California has been chosen as one of 20 states to lead a nationwide effort to develop the next generation of science standards for public schools, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced today. (more…)

Call to Action – Your Support Is Needed to Make the Revision of the California Science Standards Possible

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

The time is now to begin the long road to reforming science education in California. In the next few days, Governor Jerry Brown will have the opportunity to sign SB 300 (Hancock), which will provide for the revision of the K-12 academic science content standards. The current standards, adopted in 1998, are out of date and do not include many of the advances in biotechnology and nanotechnology, gene research, environmental issues, or even the reclassification of Pluto as a dwarf planet. Without SB 300, there is nothing in law that requires the standards ever to be reviewed and revised, leaving students and teachers with a set of standards that are inadequate to address and promote the scientific literacy so necessary to return California’s economy to the economic viability of years past. (more…)

What is it August explanation

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

This image was taken using an electron microscope. It is of the radulas of a nudibranch.

The image was taken by Kristen Roberts, a graduate student working at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

Responses from readers:


Keith Thompson: Snail radula?

Krystal: a radula?

Robert Bethune: Sharkskin?

Jen: Serrations of Shark Teeth?

Ted Hampton: Electron Microscope view of shark or ray (skate) skin

Rose James: It’s the scale on a butterfly wing

Kevin Keedy: Looks like an electron micrograph of some sort of carnivorous mollusk’s radula. Do I win something? :>)

Thank you to all who participated!

What is it?

Thursday, September 1st, 2011


An Investigation of the Use of Science Notebooks in California Classrooms

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

by Arthur Beauchamp

You can help answer some important questions about the use of science notebooks and can win a $50 gift card!

In what ways are teachers and students using science notebooks in California?  Are there widespread common practices in the use of science notebooks?  Where does the impetus for the use of science notebooks come from and in what ways is the use of science notebooks supported?  These are potentially important questions for California teachers of science, researchers and education policy makers. (more…)

Challenge Your Students to Develop “Clean Technology” with Cash Prizes Totaling $17,000

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

For middle and high school students, ages 13-18, who attend school in the San Francisco/Bay area-the NSTA/Applied Materials Clean Tech Competition offers a real-world problem to solve that demonstrates the powerful potential of clean technology. The inaugural year’s challenge will involve students in two of the world’s most historic centers of innovation-the San Francisco/Bay Area and Xi’an, China. The competition will engage youth of all skill, ability and interest levels in a common challenge to highlight the roles that science and technology and the strategy of design play in solving problems that transcend national boundaries and to help prepare students for success in life.  Teams in each region will compete for $17,000 in cash prizes. (more…)

Supporting Partnerships Between Informal and Formal Educators

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

by Grahme Smith

The current trend among informal education centers is to transition from passive “dispensers of information” into dynamic places that encourage active learning. The goal is to create an exchange of ideas between these Institutions and the public so that the learning is more engaging and relevant for everyone. In an age where information is only a click away, more emphasis needs to be put on self-discovery and experiential learning. This same trend, in which students gain knowledge from their own experiences and ideas, is happening in formal classrooms as well. While students still need to learn basic concepts and facts, it is more important that they are able to reason, problem solve, and come to their own informed conclusions. By supporting and empowering students to take control of their own learning, they become more invested in the material. When the content is relevant and personal to them, they gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the issues. The same is true in any profession. A chef is more proud of a recipe she creates than the one taken from a cookbook, just as we are more proud of the partnerships and lessons we develop than the ones we are told to implement. I would like to use this space to foster a dialog between formal and informal educators so that we can better understand each other and can be empowered to form authentic partnerships.


Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

An interview with Rebecca Newburn, teacher of sixth graders at Hall Middle School in Larkspur, CA, and creator of the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library.

Lewis: What gave you the idea for this?

Newburn: BASIL (Bay Area Seed Interchange Library) in the Berkeley Ecology Center is a seed library that has been around for 12 years. I loved the idea of a seed lending library and wanted to make the seed saving education a more integral part of the program and have it more available to the general public. Hosting the Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library in the Richmond Public Library felt like a perfect fit since both serve to benefit the public and have access to resources and education as cornerstones. (more…)

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