June 2015 – Vol. 27 No. 10

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.

Written by Heather Wygant

Heather Wygant

Heather Wygant teaches CP geology at Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill, CA and is a member of CSTA.

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S.F. Bay Area Science Events for July 2015

Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Minda Berbeco

Free Entry Days at:

Bay Area Discovery Museum, First Wednesday of the month
UC Botanical Gardens, First Wednesday and Thursday of the month
Oakland Museum of California, First Sunday of the month
CuriOdyssey, July 8th

Super-cool Science Parties and Lectures:

Nerd Nite East Bay, Last Monday of the month
Nerd Nite San Francisco, Third Wednesday of the month
Night Life, Thursdays, 6-10 pm, at the California Academy of Sciences
After Dark, First Thursday of the month, 6-10 pm, at the Exploratorium
Café Inquiry, Firth Thursday of the month, 6pm, at Café Borrone, Menlo Park

Learn More…

Written by Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco is the Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education and is CSTA’s Region 2 Director.

Better Together – California Teachers to Convene Across the State on July 31st

Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Mei Louie

Across the state, California teachers are driving innovation in the classroom and shaping our students’ futures. To support their critical work, a coalition of California colleges and universities is inviting teachers to unite on Friday, July 31, 2015 to build powerful networks, share successful classroom practices and access effective resources to implement state standards.

Thirty-three California campuses are opening their spaces and inviting an estimate of 20,000 teachers to participate in a one-day event. Teachers will have a unique opportunity to hear about proven best practices from nationally renowned speakers, fellow teachers, and leaders in education. The free convening will be led by teachers, for teachers, and will help towards building a powerful lasting network of peers. This is a chance for teachers to come together to collaborate in hope of creating a better future for California students. Teachers will walk away with concrete tools to immediately use in their classrooms to implement the California Standards including the Common Core. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

The Practice of Teaching Science

Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Lisa Hegdahl

About 10 years ago, at an after school meeting, our presenter posed the question, “Why did you become a science teacher?” Each of my colleagues gave answers such as, “I wanted to affect the future”, “I loved working with children”, and “I wanted to stay young”. As it came closer for my turn to share, I was in a panic. The truth was, I became a science teacher as a way to get out of a dead end job that had long hours and paid next to nothing.

I have often thought about that day and about the noble motives for entering our profession expressed by my colleagues. Perhaps only those of us who truly have some kind of selfless calling should endeavor to be science teachers.   My reflections led me, however, to the conclusion that it is not important how people answer the question, “Why did you become a science teacher?” but how they answer the question, “Why do you continue teaching science?” I continue teaching science because I love it.

I love teaching science for all the usual reasons – I love that I get to teach a subject of which there is always more to learn; I love that I get to observe my students discovering and making sense of the world around them; and I love that I get to delight in the moments when my students teach me something from a perspective I had not previously considered. And yet, I also love teaching science because it is about more than just what happens in my classroom. People say lawyers practice law and doctors practice medicine, suggesting that these professionals continually work to improve their skills and stay current on the latest methods. Similarly, good science teachers practice teaching science, always improving their skills and staying current on the latest methods.

After years as a Science Olympiad Coach, BTSA Support Provider, and Science Department Chairperson at my school site, the pursuit of improving my science teaching skills led me to join, and ultimately volunteer for, the California Science Teachers Association. I began by presenting workshops at the annual, CSTA hosted, California Science Education Conferences. Then, in 2009, Rick Pomeroy, my former UC Davis student teaching supervisor and CSTA President 2011-2013, asked me to join the planning committee for the 2010 California Science Education Conference in Sacramento.  He followed the conference committee request with invitations to chair the 2012 California Science Education Conference in San Jose, run for the 2011-2013 CSTA Jr. High/Middle School Director position, and finally, to submit my name for the 2015-2017 CSTA Presidency. Each of these experiences allowed me to network with and learn from other science educators and helped me gain new insights into science teaching.   In addition, they opened doors that led to other opportunities to become involved and influence science education at the state level – the CA NGSS State Rollouts, the California Curriculum Frameworks and Evaluation Criteria Committee, and the California NGSS Early Implementation Initiative.

Throughout my involvement in these activities, one thing is repeatedly confirmed for me – there are thousands of talented science educators across California.  Most of them are not on the CSTA Board of Directors, its committees, or work with its partners.  They are science teachers who go into their classrooms every day and do amazing things.  They practice teaching science with a passion for the subject and their students.  They are not recognized for their achievements or compensated for their hours of extra work, and yet they will be back tomorrow to do it all again – many spending their own time and money to improve themselves as educators.  As I take on the role of President of the California Science Teachers Association, I am incredibly humbled and proud to represent these teachers and I will strive to help them acquire and maintain the support, resources, and policies they need to continue to excel at the job they love.

I want to end with a huge Thank You to 2013-2015 CSTA President, Laura Henriques who is an incredible role model for leadership. Her grace, patience, and expertise were invaluable in preparing me for the next two years.

 

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is President for CSTA.

Making the Leap from the Classroom to TOSA

Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Kirsten Franklin

After 25 years as an elementary teacher, I decided to take the leap two years ago to become a TOSA (teacher on special assignment) to support K-12 teachers in my district in science and the common core state standards.  There is no specific handbook for doing this, but luckily, there have been great local and state resources to help. I have relied mainly on the trainings and guidance received from BaySci, a San Francisco Bay Area Science Consortium headed up by the Lawrence Hall of Science that my district has been part of since 2008. Membership in CSTA and NSTA, Twitter, reading the NRC Science Framework and the NGSS performance expectations over and over have also helped me to build understanding and confidence in the content and pedagogical shifts. Wrapping one’s head around the NGSS definitely takes time and multiple exposures! Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

What Does It Take to Get Kids Outdoors?

Posted: Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

by Lori Merritt

Our environment faces many challenges. Human behavior has greatly contributed to these negative changes. Children will be inheriting a world with many environmental problems and need to be prepared to face them. In order for children to care about the environment and have positive environmental behavior they first need to have experiences outside in natural environments (Chawla & Cushing, 2007; Handler & Ebstein, 2010). Unfortunately, children are spending less time in nature, making them less connected to their natural environment. In Louv’s Last Child in the Woods, nature-deficit disorder is described as “the human costs of alienation from nature, among them: diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties, and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses” (p.36). In order for our students to be healthy, and environmentally proactive members of society we need to lead them outdoors. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.