2012 California Science Education Conference Field Trips
Posted: Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
by Heather A. Wygant
The California Science Education Conference is in San Jose this year on October 19-21 2012, and we’d love for you to join us for Professional Development, collaboration with science teachers across the state, and fun field trips! This year we have four field trips planned:
Then, on Saturday, October 20 we have, “Monterey Bay Aquarium Visit,” and on Sunday, October 21 we have, “Living Wetlands- Environmental Education,” at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
Friday, October 19 – “Body Flights and the Physics of Terminal Velocity.” Participants will travel to iFLY, an indoor skydiving facility which houses a 1000-horsepower wind tunnel and flight chamber for skydivers. The wind rushes upward past you at 120 mph and supports you against gravity – you don’t fall! This field trip includes “jump training,” two flights in the flight chamber with an instructor, an experimental session measuring the terminal velocity and stability of objects in flight, observing turbulence, and measuring airspeed/pressure with aircraft instruments. A short lecture on fluid dynamics and aerodynamic drag is presented and customized to the student grade level of teachers who attend. These are the same activities that your students would if you took them on a visit there.
Friday, October 19 – “Discovering Ancient and Future Earthquakes.” This is an opportunity to travel back through time with Geologist Christopher DiLeonardo, Ph.D., to examine California’s geologic past. Climb through the remnants of an ancient volcanic landscape, while Condors soar overhead. Examine the evidence for earthquakes, long forgotten. Look for clues to the past written in stone and hidden with caves of this scenic wilderness. Learn the origin of the shaped rock spires from which the Pinnacles National Monument derives its name. Follow the past into the future while tracing the active tracing the active Calaveras fault neighborhoods and parks in downtown Hollister. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and footwear and be prepared for some hiking in the morning and in the early afternoon. The field trip will conclude in Hollister where we will have the opportunity to look at the mixing of neighborhoods and the tracing of an active fault near the downtown area.
Saturday, October 20 –“Monterey Bay Aquarium Visit.” As one of the world’s premier aquariums, and dedicated to the habitats and species of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary, MBA recognizes that teachers are essential partners in fulfilling its conservation, education, and science goals. MBA values educators and takes pride in offering exceptional, free professional development opportunities to teachers throughout the year. During this field trip participants will experience hands-on activities, learn about programs for teachers and students, touch and discover tide pool exhibits, and receive discounts at the bookstore and gift shops. Teachers will be given VIP treatment with early admission, a behind-the-scenes tour, participate in up-close encounters with marine species and ocean activities in the Discovery Labs. After visiting the Aquarium teachers are free to roam the wonderful stores, restaurants, galleries, etc. of Cannery Row and enjoy the beautiful ocean breezes and vistas while shopping.
Sunday, October 21 –“Living Wetlands- Environmental Education” at the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Take a trip to Alviso to visit the Environmental Education Center of the Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the first urban National Wildlife Refuge established in the United States. This beautiful site is dedicated to preserving and enhancing wildlife habitat, protecting migratory birds, protecting threatened and endangered species, and providing opportunities for wildlife-oriented recreation and nature study for the surrounding communities. The Environmental Education Center at the southern end of San Francisco Bay is surrounded by uplands, marshes, salt ponds, and a freshwater tidal slough. Trails and a new boardwalk through the seasonal wetland habitat make it easy to explore the natural wonders of the South Bay. During the field trip activities, participants will explore the topics of water use, wetlands, and habitat preservation. A key focus for the Living Wetlands program is to demonstrate the relationship between our personal habits and their effects on local habitats and overall watershed health. All activities are correlated to fit California content standards.
Ticket prices and times can be found on our website at: http://www.cascience.org/csta/conf_schedule.asp or by using the links above.
Hope to see you at some or all of these great field trips!
Heather Wygant teaches CP geology at Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill and is CSTA’s high school director.
Posted: Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
by Jessica Sawko
For many months our members have been requesting clear information from the state department of education (CDE) regarding the purpose of the “science CSTs” that are being administered this year in grades 5, 8, and 10 and well as how the test scores from those assessments will be used for accountability purposes. The following was excerpted from a letter from the California Department of Education released on April 22:
California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress for Science
As educators from across the state begin or continue to implement the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS), questions have been raised regarding the role of the summative science assessments which students in grades five, eight, and ten will participate in during the spring of 2015.
During the transition to the new science standards and assessments, the federally required science assessments in grades five, eight, and ten (i.e., California Standards Tests, California Modified Assessments, and California Alternate Performance Assessment) will continue to be administered until an assessment aligned to the CA NGSS is developed and approved by the SBE. A new assessment is currently under development and scheduled to be operational in 2018–19.
Because the current science tests are not aligned with the new CA NGSS, the results will not be used in any accountability reports; however, the scores will be publicly available. As in prior years, AYP is based only on ELA and mathematics. Science is not included in AYP calculations.
As reported by CSTA previously, API will not be calculated for the 2014/2015 school year. More information about the suspension, what that means for reporting in 2015/2016, review this letter dated March 17, 2015 that was sent to administrators.
Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
CSTA’s counterparts at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) has been actively representing the voice of science teachers in Washington D.C. This morning they sent out this call to action:
The U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are currently working to reauthorize (rewrite) No Child Left Behind. Please contact your members of Congress immediately, and ask them to make STEM education a national priority. At the Legislative Action Center of the STEM Education Coalition website, you can send a letter to your elected representatives, asking them to
- Maintain a strong focus on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education.
- Continue the focus on math and science as required elements of any state’s accountability system.
- Provide states with dedicated funding to support STEM-related activities and teacher training.
It is urgent that educators take a moment to write to your elected officials, and send this message to colleagues and networks in your school or district.
Posted: Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
by Jessica Sawko
On March 31, 2015 participants from the Science Assessment Stakeholder Meetings held in July 2014 were invited to participate in a follow up meeting to provide input on what a formative component, a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Digital Center, should look like for California. This NGSS Digital Center could include formative assessment tools similar to that of the Smarter Balanced Digital Library for ELA and mathematics. This meeting will take place at the end of April 2015. This is very exciting news as it gives some insight to the direction the state may take with the future statewide assessment system to support the Next Generation Science Standards. Learn More…
Posted: Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
by Laura Henriques
Women are far less likely than men to earn pSTEM (physical Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) degrees or work in the field. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but it has gotten a bit of press lately. US News and World Reports had an article highlighting a Clinton Foundation Report showing women in developing countries have less access to cell phones (and therefore the internet) than men. This results in decreased access to health care, fewer job options, a lack of flexibility with work and childcare related issues, and a lowered sense of empowerment. That article linked to several other articles about the lack of diversity in STEM fields in the US, the leaky pipeline and more. Learn More…
Posted: Wednesday, April 1st, 2015
by Sara Dozier
Like me, you are probably excited about the opportunities that the Next Generation Science Standards offer students and teachers. For the first time in 17 years, our science standards are asking us to engage our students in science learning that is engaging, meaningful and just plain fun. In addition to our excitement, though, there is also some apprehension. Learn More…