January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Car that Runs on Air

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Removed 1/4/2011 due to inaccurate information. Our apologies. We will post a new video in February. Thank you our readers for the correction.

2012 Conference Update

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Jessica Sawko

The planning for the 2012 California Science Education Conference in San Jose is well underway. While we are not able to make any formal announcements as of this issue of California Classroom Science (CCS), I can tell you that the program pieces are beginning to come together nicely. If you are at all interested in the changes coming down the pipeline for science education in California, including the Next Generation Science Standards, you will want to make sure you attend this year’s conference.

In addition to providing you with insight into what is coming in the future, the 2012 conference will also provide you with the tools you need in your classroom this year. Hands-on workshops will offer lessons, classroom management tips, and assessment guidance; Short Courses will provide you with an opportunity to explore a subject in more depth; Field Courses will give you a taste of the region; and networking opportunities will help you connect to your peers, giving you the boost you need for the remainder of the school year. (more…)

Free Lesson Plans on Weather

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Looking for lesson plan ideas to help explain weather phenomenon to your students? The Weather Channel offers free lesson plans to teachers registered with their site. (more…)

What is it December Explanation

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

The flower of a poinsettia plant.

Responses from readers:

Dick Filson: This seems seasonally significant as it appears to be the sexual parts of a Poinsettia.

Carolyn Reese: Poinsettia plant

Rick Yessayian: The actual “Flower” of the poinsettia. The larger red part, thought to be the flower are just modified leaves.

Kathy DiRanna Receives Learning Forward’s Susan Loucks-Horsley Award

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

The Susan Loucks-Horsley Award honors the memory of Susan
Loucks-Horsley by recognizing an individual who exemplifies Loucks-Horsley’s commitment to instill efficacy in others, collaborate across boundaries, and sustain impact on the field of professional learning. This year Learning Forward is please to present this award to Kathy DiRanna (life member of CSTA), an individual known for her leadership and commitment to quality science and mathematics education.

As statewide director of WestEd’s K-12 Alliance, DiRanna oversees grant-funded programs such as the California Math and Science Partnership and the California Postsecondary Education Commission. DiRanna has shaped the quality of science teaching over the past 25 years through her extensive work in systemic reform. In addition to working on numerous state committees and programs, she has co-developed several national projects and co-authored two books. (more…)

Legislative News

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

By now most of us have heard that a “trigger has been pulled.” What does that really mean? One of the first things we as science educators can do is slow down rumors and examine observable facts. If your school or district subscribes to School Services of California their Fiscal Report provides up-to-date, accurate information. This is one reliable source to start with and to encourage your colleagues to refer to.

CSTA works for you, its members, and all science educators in California, to keep an eye on state policy related to science education. That in itself is no easy task, and your membership dues are what enable CSTA to maintain a staff presence in Sacramento. Now more than ever members can help keep the educator voice in Sacramento by renewing or inviting colleagues to become members. (more…)

Science Resolutions

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Donna Ross

It is that time of year again. A period of reflection and promise.  Many of us are examining our chocolate consumption, exercise regimes, spending habits, and closet organization. But, this can also be a chance to look beyond your personal habits. (more…)

News and Events in Region 2

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Eric Lewis

January is here and things seem just a little bit off in the Bay Area. While I’ve been enjoying the weather, I keep wondering why I’m still watering my backyard. And, for all the folks that have been heading up to Tahoe – I’m glad the drive has been easy, but didn’t you want to see some snow? Actually, things seem a little off pretty much everywhere. I just got back from a trip back to New York to see my family. Over the past few years, I’ve hit plenty of different types of weather back East, but this year was the strangest. Not only wasn’t there any snow on the ground, but I also was at a playground with my daughter wearing just a long sleeve T-shirt. Now, the last time I was back East – over the summer – I was lucky enough to get an earthquake AND a hurricane. Then, in October, the East Coast was pummeled with snow – which has had a huge effect on all sorts of birds and other animals that lost their homes. (more…)

News and Events in Region 1: Environmental Education – Hot Topic for January

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Valerie Joyner

Two very important environmental education events will take place this month for all educators in Region 1.

First is the Northern California’s Bay Area Environmental Education Resource Fair, better known as the BAEER Fair, will be held on Saturday, January 21, at the Marin County Civic Center, San Rafael, from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm. This is the 35th anniversary of the BAEER Fair one of our areas most exciting environmental education opportunities await educators in Region 1. For more information, go to www.baeerfair.org, or call 510-657-4847.

On January 25, from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm, the Education and the Environment (EEI) Educators Workshop will be held at SonomaStateUniversity. The North Coast Chapter of CREEC will update classroom teachers and environmental educators on the new model curriculum from the Education and Environment Initiative. For more information view the informational flyer. (more…)

An Oldie but Goodie – Integrated Chemistry and Physics

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Lisa Hegdahl

When looking through my files for an article idea this month, I ran across a lab I did years ago when I taught summers at a Science camp.  (more…)


Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Rick Pomeroy

Originally coined as part of a recruiting campaign for World War I (Your Country Wants YOU!), this phrase and the various images of Uncle Sam and Lord Kirchner that adorned the posters were responsible for large increases in the enlistments of volunteers on both sides of the Atlantic in 1916-17.  Now, roughly 95 years later, CSTA wants and needs you. We need you to enlist (or re-enlist) as a member of CSTA, we need you to serve in positions of leadership, we need you to volunteer on the committees that do the work of this organization so that we can advocate for high quality science education for all children in California.

Membership is the core value of CSTA. When I took on the position as president of CSTA, I promised that this would be YOUR Association. CSTA exists for science teachers, to advocate for high quality science education for all children, to provide high quality professional development opportunities, and to provide a professional venue for science teachers to collaborate on innovative and effective strategies for preparing a scientifically literate population. This will only work when CSTA actually represents science teachers. (more…)

Virtual Courseware: Web-Based Simulations for Promoting Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Paul Narguizian and Robert Desharnais

There is wide acceptance that inquiry-based curriculum programs have positive effects on cognitive achievement, process skills, and attitudes towards science. Science instructors seek engaging, effective, and inquiry-based activities that are convenient to implement in their classrooms. While the web provides a vast resource of declarative information (some of it multimedia), there are few places on the web where instructors can obtain effective inquiry-based tools for teaching science. The Virtual Courseware Project fulfills this need with interactive, web-based simulation activities that emphasize the methods of science for both life and earth science topics.

With Virtual Courseware, students learn by doing: making observations, proposing hypotheses, designing experiments, collecting and analyzing data generated by the software, and synthesizing and communicating results. The activities include an online assessment quiz that consists of randomized interactive questions. The students’ answers are graded automatically and stored in a database server, and a printable certificate of completion is issued for each student. The instructor can access student and class results, allowing them to quickly gauge how well the key concepts were understood. The simulations are designed to enhance traditional curricula and provide a supplement to experimental laboratory and field work. (more…)

High Hopes—Emerging Opportunities

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Grahme Smith

We’re entering an exciting and transitional time in science education. The Center for the Future of Teaching and Learning at WestEd’s (The Center) recent publication High Hopes- Few Opportunities outlined the bleak status of California’s elementary science education yet provided several recommendations that are well within reach. As the Next Generation Science Standards emerge, so does an opportunity to develop new and empowering teacher professional development programs. (more…)

New, Remarkable, Grade 5-12 STEM Education Program Opportunity for School District and School Communities

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Announcing the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Fourth Flight
Opportunity – SSEP Mission 2 to the International Space Station (ISS). (more…)

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