September 2015 – Vol. 28 No. 1

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: 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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More Than 1,400 Science Educators Prepare to Convene in Sacramento

Posted: Thursday, September 17th, 2015

by Deb Farkas

As we get ready to go full steam ahead with implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and eagerly await the new California Science Framework, there is no better place to be in early October than here in Sacramento, where you will find workshops, speakers, field experiences, short courses and more to inspire and re-energize your teaching. If you are not one of the more than 1,000 teachers to have registered, I invite you to do so today.

Don’t miss opening speaker, Ainissa Ramirez. Author, engineer and science evangelist, Dr. Ramirez will encourage us to ignite the spark of curiosity in all of our students and get them excited about science. Former astronaut José Hernández will close our conference with an account of his journey from migrant farm worker to engineer to mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery, and his work inspiring children to “reach for the stars.” We are also pleased to offer you a variety of highly regarded focus speakers in science and education. Learn about a strength-based approach to early science education, bringing deep sea data to the classroom, ZomBees, engaging students in engineering, and literacy, non-verbal communication patterns and social justice in the science classroom. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Trying NGSS with Paper Clips and Gummy Worms

Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

by Joanne Michael

By now, most teachers have heard of NGSS, know that it is not going away, and have realized they will be teaching this new set of standards within the next few years. While some are excited at the possibility of new happenings, others are terrified at the prospect of having to change curriculum that they have spent years fine-tuning and tweaking. A few districts are implementing NGSS early, working out the kinks and creating guides for the rest of the state, but what about the teachers that want to venture out and try the new curriculum without the support of the entire district? It seems daunting, but there are some ways to ease into the NGSS world. Learn More…

Written by Joanne Michael

Joanne Michael is the K-5 science specialist at Meadows Elementary in Manhattan Beach, CA, and CSTA’s intermediate grades 3-5) Director.

High School Teachers – We Need Your Help!

Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

CSTA and its partners are trying to get a sense of what high school science looks like across the state. We are interested in knowing how many years of science your district requires for graduation, what the typical course taking patterns are, and a sense of the high school science teaching workforce. If you are in a position to answer these questions please take the survey. If you can’t provide that information we ask that you share this link with your district science leader or other appropriate administrator. It should not take very long to complete (less than 5 minutes) and the information will help CSTA and our partners as we plan NGSS activities and support. Thank you for filling out the survey yourself or for directing it to the appropriate person.

Take Survey

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

CSTA Honors Rising Stars, Advocates, and Distinguished Contributors to Science Education in 2015

Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Legislator of the Year, Future Science Teacher, Honorary Memberships, and the new Bertrand Advocacy Award. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2015 California Science Education Conference on October 2 – 4 in Sacramento. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them! Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Northern Happenings for September–Region 1

Posted: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

September already – allow me to add my welcome back wish to the others you are hearing across all 29 counties that make up CSTA Region 1!


CSTA Regions Map

It has certainly been a busy summer with California Science Project events across the region, and lots of activity at Math Science Partnership Grant projects as well. As you come back to class this fall, consider your summer learning, and think about how you might share it at a future CSTA conference! This year you will no doubt be trying out what you learned in your classes. By next spring you will know what you could share with colleagues at the 2016 Science Educators Conference to be held in Palm Springs. It seems a long time from now, but if you have the idea in mind as you teach your students, you can be on the lookout for what would be wonderful to share with other K-12 teachers in California. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.