January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

What is it April Explanation

Monday, April 30th, 2012

For the month of April, the interesting aspect of the photo has more to do with how it was taken vs. what it is.

The photo was taken by a student, Alliana Munguia, at Cathedral City High School during a lichen study in Joshua Tree National Park. She came up with the idea of using a smart phone camera to take pictures through a loupe or a magnifier.

The yellow lichen is Acarospora socialis. The orange-yellow one (not much) is a Candelariella, mostly likely Candelariella aurella. – Kerry Knudsen, Lichenologist, UCR.

Responses from readers:

a. hernandez: The photo shows lichen with a ruler next to it.

Erik Cross: Ahhh the ever mysterious lichen, not sure which species though.

Los Angeles County Science Fair Names Its Winners

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Congratulations to the winners and participants of the 2012 Los Angeles County Science Fair! CSTA recognizes you, your teachers, and the fair organizers for your contribution to the advancement of science and science education.

The LA County Science Fair was held March 29 – 31, 2012 at the Pasadena Convention Center. 1,063 middle and high school students took part in the fair. Several CSTA members were involved in the organization of the fair as well as those working with students presenting in the fair.

For photos, videos, a list of winners, and more visit http://www.lascifair.org/.

Education Bills Make Their Way Through the Legislature as Governor Brown’s Proposal to Eliminate the Graduation Requirement Mandate Continues to Make Waves

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

by Jessica L. Sawko

As more information comes to light regarding the Governor’s plan to eliminate the Graduation Requirement mandate (second year, physical science requirement), CSTA and the public’s concern continues to grow. As reported in California Classroom Science in February and March, Governor Brown’s 2012-2013 budget proposal included the elimination of nearly half of the K-14 education mandates, including the Graduation Requirement mandate. (more…)

April Already!

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

by Eric Lewis

How incredible is it that we’re already in April. Testing will soon be upon and not long after that it will be summer time! I know that this is a tough time of year; especially with so many budgets so impacted. I hope that you all are focusing on being the best teachers that you can, regardless of the challenges that are put before you. It’s likely that you have either just had a Spring Break or will have one shortly; hopefully you’ll have a chance to get reenergized about your teaching. If possible, take advantage of some of the amazing science events going on in our region.

I hope that you will have the opportunity to attend the CA Science Education Conference in San Jose this year. I’m thrilled that so many of you have provided workshop proposals for our upcoming conference. I look forward to seeing you there!

Please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings. Also, encourage your colleagues to join CSTA. I’m hoping that we’ll have the opportunity to grow our organization and expand to meet your needs and your colleague’s needs. To that end, please feel free to email me directly so that I can represent your questions and concerns with the CSTA board as a whole.

Eric Lewis, lewise2@sfusd.edu.

Click here to view the updated event calendar with a wealth of science learning opportunities in April.

Sky Events in April 2012

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

by Robert Victor

During the first week of April, Venus and the Pleiades star cluster (the Seven Sisters) appear in the same field of view of binoculars. The moon will appear close to Mars and the star Regulus on Monday and Tuesday evenings, April 2 and 3. On Friday, April 6 the moon, just past full, will appear close to the star Spica and the planet Saturn. After that, the moon rises later each night, and will return to the early evening sky in late April when it will appear as a crescent near Jupiter very low in the west-northwest at dusk on April 22, and near Venus on April 24. On April 30, the moon for the second time this month will appear near Mars and Regulus, and on May 3 and 4, the moon will appear near Saturn and Spica. The moon will be full on May 5.  (more…)

Technology for the Classroom: An Examination of TED-Ed

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

by Donna Ross

Technology has become a central component of the science classroom, but it can be overwhelming to consider the vast array of resources. During the next few months I will review a few of my favorite free or low-cost options for teachers. This month I am starting with TED-Ed. In case you haven’t used TED talks, I will start with a brief overview before exploring their new educational initiative.

TED is a nonprofit that began nearly 30 years ago as a conference. The underlying goal was that there are some ideas so important that they are worth sharing. People were invited to come and give a brief talk that would be shared with others. Since then, the conferences have continued, generally two per year with up to 100 presenters sharing talks that last from six to eighteen minutes. Eventually, the goal became even bigger. It seemed that if the ideas were worth sharing, they were worth sharing even more widely. For the past five years, many of the talks have been shared with the world on the TED website http://www.ted.com/talks. (more…)

Spring Is Here!

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

by Valerie Joyner

What a crazy transition we have been experiencing with winter turning into spring and the weather turning from spring into winter. One day it’s 70+ degrees and the next it’s snowing or raining. Don’t forget to use daily weather and seasonal changes as a part of your curriculum. No matter what grade you teach, helping your students make connections to everyday events and situations brings together science and their everyday world.

Powerhouse Science Center
Plans are underway for the 2013 opening of the new Powerhouse Science Center in Sacramento. This new center will transform the 60 year old Discovery Museum Science and Space Center into a brand new high-tech, hands-on, science museum that will bring science, technology, engineering, and math to life. (more…)

What is it?

Sunday, April 1st, 2012


What is it March Explanation

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Photo courtesey of Donna Ross.

It is steel wool – magnified.

Responses from readers:

Ed Mascio: Macroscopic view of plastic material i.e. a scrubber used to clean dishes in the kitchen at 30x.

Peter A’Hearn: Magnesium ribbon or some other metal turnings.

Rick Yessayian: Ha ha ha…Looks like a “Brillo” pad up close.

“Teachers in Space” Becomes “Citizens in Space”

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Teachers in Space, a nonprofit program that seeks to put large numbers of astronaut teachers into American classrooms, is undergoing major changes. Teachers in Space is now becoming “Citizens in Space.” The new name indicates a new emphasis on citizen science as well as citizen spaceflight. (more…)

Inquiry Instruction Is Not Cold Fusion

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

by Rick Pomeroy

In last month’s issue of eCCS I wrote to you about the exciting opportunities that lie ahead for science education and several issues that threaten the implementation of these opportunities. As I said in that article, the political and financial issues and actions of the State often negate or diminish the actual implementation of new, cutting edge curricula and technologies. These actions ultimately hurt our students’ chances of competing on the national and world stage as leaders in science and technology.

In this article, I want to bring to your attention another situation that, if not addressed, might be construed by some as an argument against the power of critical thinking, investigation, and scientific inquiry as tools for improving literacy. In a recent article published in the Imperial Valley Press, it was reported that Michael Klentschy, former Superintendent of Schools in El Centro, CA, and author of Using Science Notebooks in Elementary Classrooms*, plead guilty to falsifying research findings that reported significant increases in students’ achievement scores as a result of integrated instruction in science. (more…)

Meet the Candidates!

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

The Nominations Committee of the California Science Teachers Association presents the following individuals for election to the CSTA Board of Directors for the 2012-2014 term.

The election is being conducted electronically and will open April 16, 2012. CSTA members eligible to vote will be sent links to the online ballot. Members for whom we do not have current email addresses or who requested a paper ballot were mailed a ballot and candidate statements.

The 2012-2014 elections will include voting for the following positions: treasurer, high school director, 4-year college director, region 2 director, and region 4 director. (more…)

Two Lessons for Spring – BZZZZ

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

by Rick Pomeroy

Non-Verbal Communications, Aka The Waggle Dance

Overview (more…)

New Research Finds Potential for Science Learning in Middle School Goes Untapped

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

California’s middle schools have the potential to provide students with high quality science education, but significant challenges limit opportunities for science learning, leaving that potential unfulfilled, according to new research released on March 22, 2012  in Sacramento. (more…)

The State of California’s Middle School Science Education

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

by Laura Henriques

What an interesting cross-roads we are at in science education! On the one hand we are told by the President and other elected officials that STEM careers and STEM education provide opportunities for our country to move forward. “STEM” is on everyone’s lips. The economic engines are going to be fueled by a STEM-literate citizenry. Those countries or states that do the best job developing this workforce will be at the forefront of innovation and economic success.

On the other hand we have shrinking budgets for K-16 education. Stakeholders at all levels are fighting for their piece of an ever-diminishing pool of resources. In an effort to reduce the costs of education, the Governor even proposed reducing the high school science graduation requirements to one year, down from two. If a STEM-literate, well educated workforce helps run the economic engines for the state, wouldn’t we want to have students taking more science?


Adolescent Preventative Health…Now Available in a Text Message

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

“Make one SMALL change TODAY to be healthier tomorrow” This is the main principle behind the Today is for Tomorrow (“T4T”) campaign designed by ISIS in partnership with the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).  Designed to connect California teens with preventative health messages that pertain to a healthy body, mind and environment, T4T is a weekly text messaging service that disseminates preventative health tips, online resource links and a clinic locator feature to teens. Weekly messages include tips on topics such as healthy relationships, alcohol and drugs, nutrition and reproductive health.

For more information on this innovative preventative health service, review the one-page program overview, and/or contact Andrea@isis-inc.org.  And to spread the word to your students, click here for to access T4T’s teen promotional flyer.

Your Opportunity to Weigh-In on the Future of California’s Assessment System

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

Opportunity to Attend Assembly Bill 250 Public Meetings – Six Locations Statewide – Assembly Bill 250 (Chapter 608, Statutes of 2011), signed into law on October 8, 2011, requires the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to consult with specific stakeholder groups in developing recommendations for the reauthorization of the statewide pupil assessment system. The recommendations will include, but not be limited to, a plan for transitioning to a system of high-quality assessments and shall consider the sixteen areas outlined in statute in the reauthorized assessment system (including the assessment of science in all grade levels at or above grade 4 and incorporating a variety of item types and formats, including, but not limited to, open-ended responses and performance-based tasks). (more…)

Scientific and Engineering Practices Replace Investigation and Experimentation

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

by Peter A’Hearn

At last weekend’s CUE conference, I spoke to many publisher reps. I asked if their companies were starting to look at the NGSS and how they were approaching it. The most common response I got was, “We’ll just change the standards correlations on what we’ve already got.”

So, no big deal, there’s nothing new under the sun. My reading of the NGSS, however, suggests that there should be some big changes required in the way curriculum is designed and delivered to meet the vision of the NGSS framework. One of the best examples is to look at how different the “how we do science” part of the framework is from the one we currently use in California. (more…)

Clean Tech Competition Announces 2011-2012 Finalists and Grand Prize Winning Teams

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

ARLINGTON, Va., Mar 20, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Applied Materials, Inc., in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), today announced the grand prize winning teams and finalists in the first-ever Clean Tech Competition student challenge, presented by Applied Materials. The competition, a collaborative student design contest developed to inspire the next generation of leaders and innovators in the field of clean technology, immerses high school students in real-world challenges that illustrate the powerful potential of clean technology to address problems that confront humanity. (more…)

California Science Education Conference to Include Next Generation Science Standards Strand

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

by Lisa Hegdahl

By the time the California Science Education Conference is held in San Jose, October 19-21, the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS) will be nearing its final draft.  In anticipation of the interest science educators will have regarding the standards, the California Science Teachers Association will provide an NGSS strand during their annual conference.

Helen Quinn Photo Credit: Dan Quinn

The opening keynote speaker will be Helen Quinn, Emerita Professor of Physics at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.  Helen Quinn assisted in the development of the California State Science Standards and was the chair of the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on a Conceptual Framework for New K-12 Science Education Standards, the committee that authored A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas. Dr. Quinn is an authority on the Framework, the document that is guiding the development of the NGSS.


Conference Hotels Now Accepting Reservations – At Historically Low Rates

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

CSTA is pleased to announce that it has negotiated hotel rates for the 2012 California Science Education Conference not seen since 2005! The San Jose Marriott will serve as our host hotel with rooms also available at the Hilton, Hyatt Place, Sainte Claire, Fairmont, and Ramada Limited. The housing reservation site is now open and you can make your reservations today. At these low rates, the room blocks are sure to fill up fast, so if you are planning to attend the conference this October, CSTA encourages you to make your reservations early. (more…)

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