January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Cal TAC Nominations Accepted Through December 2

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

The California Council for Science and Technology (CCST) and the California Teacher Advisory Council (Cal TAC) request nominations for new members of Cal TAC.

Cal TAC is one of several activities of CCST intended to assist the state of California with the tools and knowledge that will lead to more and better evidence-based decisions, priorities, and investments on the part of the state in addressing the wide range of issues involving science, engineering, technology, and education. (more…)

Google Earth Geology Field Trip

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Courtesy of the California Academy of Sciences

Grades: 2nd – 7th Grade
Subject: Earth Science
Topics: Geologic Processes, Natural Resources
Duration: 20 minutes prep + 45 minutes activity (more…)

The Door Has Opened a Crack – Let’s Work Together to Push It Wide Open

Friday, November 4th, 2011

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

At this year’s California Science Education Conference our president Rick Pomeroy was able to express the thanks that many of us need to continue to express. Thanks to California Senator Loni Hancock for her work – her dedication – to SB 300 signed by Governor Brown on October 8. Thanks to Christine Bertrand, recently retired Executive Director of CSTA, who worked even after her retirement to see SB 300 through to the Governor’s desk. Finally, thanks to all of the CSTA members who made their voices heard about science education in California.

In case you were unable to express your voice or thanks it is not too late. Many of the letters to the Governor, that urged him signing SB 300, were from business or industry partners of educators across the state. No, this is not a CTE bill–it is referred to as the “Pupil instruction: instructional materials: content standards legislation.” In brief though what it does is move forward the updating of California’s science content documents for education and encourages the use of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) as the template for science standards that include engineering process, not just content, and parallels the more rigorous critical thinking and other 21st Century Skills seen in the math and reading/language arts California Common Core State Standards. (more…)

Pasadena Conference Drew a Good-Size Crowd

Friday, November 4th, 2011

“Host of new ideas to take back Monday, I am inspired!”

“So much to do, applicable to the classroom as well as professional development.”

“I really enjoyed the workshops, and look forward to using new strategies in the classroom!”

“Overwhelming amount of great information.”

These are just a few of the comments received from the evaluation forms filled out by attendees to this year’s CSTA conference.  Over 1,400 science educators convened in Pasadena this past October 21-23.  The sun was shining, the weather was warm, and spirits were high throughout the three days of the conference. This was the first time the California Science Education Conference had been held in Pasadena, and overall, attendees and exhibitors alike enjoyed the venue.

Discovery News Top 5 Favorite Turkey Facts

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

What is it October Explanation

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011

A ballroom chandelier from the Pasadena Convention Center.

What is it?

Thursday, November 3rd, 2011


Teachers Reach for the Stars to Teach Science

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Donna Ross

During the recent annual CSTA conference in Pasadena I had the opportunity to participate in the field course to NASA’s Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale.  We learned about SOFIA, a joint project between NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR).  Perhaps most importantly, we learned that the deadline for the next round of educators to partner with scientists on SOFIA flights is November 15. (more…)

Events and Resources in Region 1

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Valerie Joyner

Bay Area Science Festival

It’s time to “unleash your inner scientist” at the first-ever annual celebration of the Bay Area’s unparalleled leadership in science and technology. The 10 day festival, scheduled October 29 – November 6, will provide a wide range of science and technology activities – lectures, debates, exhibitions, workshops, etc. – at a variety of locations throughout the Bay Area. Check out the North Bay BASF Calendar (http://www.buckinstitute.org/basfcalendar) for events near you. (more…)

News and Events in Region 4

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Peter A’Hearn

Region four is impressively large and diverse. It stretches from the beaches of San Diego and Orange County, over the mountains of Southern California, across the deserts to the Colorado river, and up the scarp of the Eastern Sierra. It includes the highest point in the lower 48 states, the lowest point in North America, and the oldest tree on Earth. What an amazing place to be teaching science!

In November its cooling off fast which is great news for those of us living in the desert. The end of daylight savings time and the beginning of daylight wasting time has only one possible benefit- after school astronomy can begin earlier. In November the spectacular object you see in the east right  after sunset is a very close Jupiter. Even small binoculars will pick up the four Gallilean moons, and Jupiter is awesome in even a small telescope. (more…)

News and Events in Region 2

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Eric Lewis

While the glow from being around over 1,400 science teachers from across California is still pretty bright, I’m finding myself missing Pasadena and the myriad workshops that I didn’t get to attend.  If you’re like me, you might be wondering about all the things that you missed.  Well, be sure to continue looking under the science conference tab on the CSTA homepage.  If you click on the Sessions with Handouts you will be able to access some of the resources that were created and used for the conference.  Sure it would have been better to see the workshop in person, but I’ll take whatever I can get. (more…)

California Skies for November and Early December 2011

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Robert Victor

See brilliant evening planets Venus and Jupiter wide apart, and Mercury in a close pairing with Venus visible with binoculars in the first half of November. Early risers can enjoy two planet-star pairings (Mars-Regulus and Saturn-Spica) in November, and a total lunar eclipse on Saturday morning, December 10. (more…)

Times They Are a Changing

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Rick Pomeroy

As we decompress from the 2011 California Science Education Conference, I want to thank all of the people who worked so hard to provide the workshops, Short Courses, and presentations in Pasadena. This is your conference and the thing that makes it so valuable to teachers across California is that the majority of the sessions are presented by fellow teachers and educators sharing their ideas and experiences. Thank you to all who attended and to those who were with us in spirit. I would also like to thank the conference co-chairs, Dean Gilbert and Laura Henriques, and their committee for all of the work that putting on a meeting of this size requires. Finally, I want to thank the CSTA staff, Jessica Sawko, Connie Morrill, and Kayla Froehlich-Williams for the professional handling of the logistics of the conference. Until you have worked along side the staff and volunteers, you can’t possibly understand all of the mega and mini details that have to be attended to. (more…)

Science Education in Primary Classrooms

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Michelle French

I would like to begin by sharing where the “Photo of the Month” found in this issue of the eCCS came from. Last year, I received one of the best presents I will ever get. Paulina, a first grader in my class, walked into my room first thing in the morning and said, “Mrs. French, I have something for you.” She proudly presented her display of painted Styrofoam and toothpicks, and in a grand gesture, handed it to me. She said, “It’s the solar system. I stayed-up until 10:00 last night, and I made it all by myself for you.” The attached note stated, “Planits is a grat way to lern about siens.” I was blown away by her attention to detail and amount of effort she put into her childlike representation of the solar system. (more…)

High Hopes – Few Opportunities: The State of Elementary Science Education in California

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Valerie Joyner

The results of the research report High Hopes – Few Opportunities will not come as a surprise to science educators in California. On October 25, 2011, in partnership with The Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley, SRI International, Belden Russonello & Stewart, Stone’s Throw Communications, and Inverness Research, The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd released the report on the state of science education in California’s elementary schools. The results of this 2010-2011 study included research surveys of California elementary and middle school teachers, principals, school district leaders, case studies, the results of previous public opinion surveys, and focus groups. While Californians maintain the belief that “high-quality science education” should be a top priority; the reality is that it is not. (more…)

Nominations for Election to Board of Directors of CSTA, 2012-2014 Term

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Tim Williamson

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. As the immediate past president I am constantly being asked by CSTA members “How do I get more involved in the association?” (more…)

Should We Teach Our Students to Argue?

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Grahme Smith

We all love to get the correct answer. It feels great to be “right.”  As soon as we learn how to point, we are cheered for being able to identify the correct color of our toys, and to accurately count the number of peas on our plate. For toddlers, there are correct answers. They learn that adults know the answers and praise children for saying the “right” thing. (more…)

2012 CSTA Conference Planning Begins!

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Lisa Hegdahl

The 2011 California Science Teacher’s Association’s Annual Conference in beautiful Pasadena was an inspiring few days for all attendees. As one conference ends, the planning for the next begins. On November 12, the Conference Committee for the 2012 CSTA Conference in San Jose will meet to discuss possible focus speakers, keynote speakers, evening events, and field courses. (more…)

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