2012 California Science Education Conference Field Trips
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.
by Jessica Sawko
2014 will be a very busy year for the Next Generation Science Standards in California. On November 6, 2013, the State Board of Education took action on the issue of the middle school learning progression that they had left undecided at their September 2013 meeting. Their decision was to accept the revised recommendation that California adopt the integrated model as developed by the Science Expert Panel (SEP) as the preferred model for California middle grades science instruction, and to reconvene the SEP to develop a discipline specific model based on the domain specific model in Appendix K. The SEP is meeting on December 4 and 5 to begin this task. Once the SEP completes their work (estimated March 2014) school districts will be able to evaluate both – and choose between the integrated and discipline-specific models based on which they think will best serve their students. No further State Board action will be required to adopt the alternative discipline-specific arrangement. I encourage you to read NGSS for Middle Grades: Tips for Implementation – Step 1, Don’t Rush for tips and information.
2014 will bring a number of opportunities for science teachers to become involved in the NGSS implementation process: Learn More…
by Jill Grace and Marian Murphy-Shaw
Since April 2013 when the national version of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) went public, California has been working at a steady pace to move from lead contributing state to active implementation. CSTA members and other readers of California Classroom Science may be the best informed educators in the state on NGSS at this time. This article is intended to aid middle grade teachers in communicating up-to-date information to your colleagues in science education and the educational leaders you work with.
The number one point which science education leaders, the California Department of Education (CDE), professional learning providers, and the NGSS Achieve group are all making is not to rush, there is no hurry, that 2016-17 is the probable target for full implementation. As with Common Core implementation, a sequence of events, resource preparation, policies, and teacher awareness and transition support will all occur over the next few years. Now that you can breathe again, here is a rundown of common questions and next steps to consider as you start the work towards toward NGSS implementation. Learn More…
by Susan Gomez Zwiep and Jody Sherriff
Reading, writing, speaking, and listening are integral to the development of new knowledge in science both by students in the classroom and by scientists in the field. The new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for ELA provide a new opportunity for science teachers to integrate ELA into science instruction in ways that mirror and support scientific thinking.
Consider this scenario: when you start a new unit about density and buoyancy think about what activity or series of observations might engage your students’ curiosity. As you introduce the unit, the goal is not to “teach” but rather, to get students talking so you can assess their prior knowledge. If you are someone who typically begins by reading part of the textbook or reviewing important vocabulary, resist these urges for now and instead start immediately with a hands-on activity. Learn More…
My First Science Conference…How Did I End Up Here? Reflections of a Non-Science Person Teaching Elementary Science
by Cheryl Romig
OK, so here’s my dirty laundry. I actually chose my major in college based on the number of science classes I would have to take. I can vividly remember lying on the dorm floor, college course catalog spread out in front of my freshman year, counting science classes and crossing off potential majors if I had to take more than two. That was my limit… two classes in four years would surely send me over the edge. Learn More…
In this past month the newspapers, magazines and television shows have been commemorating the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Kennedy inspired a generation to volunteer, to do for others and to give back to their nation. He asked Americans to step-up and to do more. As we remember and celebrate that spirit of serving, I ask you to consider what you can do for science education.
Over the past couple of months CSTA has been promoting opportunities for you to become more engaged in California science education. I have talked to people who have applied to serve on the California Department of Education’s Instructional Quality Commission and the Framework Focus Groups. Lots of you have thought about the workshop proposals you will submit for the 2014 NSTA Long Beach Area Conference – in Collaboration with CSTA! (Remember that the deadline for submission is January 15, 2014.) Learn More…