January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Next Generation Science Standards Now Available for Public Review

Friday, May 11th, 2012

Achieve has released the first draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for public review. The NGSS will be available for review online until June 1, 2012. The website hosting the standards contains the draft standards and a wealth of background information. Click here to access the draft standards. (more…)

First Public Draft of the Next Generation Science Standards Available on Friday, May 11

Monday, May 7th, 2012

According to today’s (May 7) issue of the NSTA Express Newsletter, the first public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards will be available for public review on Friday, May 11. (more…)

2012 Conference Early Registration Option

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

You can now register extra early for the 2012 California Science Education Conference in San Jose. This is a great option for those teachers looking to use some of this year’s unspent funds to attend the conference in the fall. This option is only available using the early registration form available for download by clicking here. Because this is early registration, and not all of the details have been finalized, ticketed events are not available for registration. Ticketed events will be available for purchase when registration officially opens on June 1. (more…)

State Board to Hear Presentation on Next Generation Science Standards

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

On May 9, 2012 the California State Board of Education will hear its first formal presentation on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). It is item number 2 on the agenda. The board meetings are available for viewing on-line, so if you can’t make it to Sacramento, you are encouraged to view the meeting online to get the most current information on the Next Generation Science Standards and when they will be released. In addition to a presentation from CDE staff, Stephen Pruitt of Achieve will make a presentation to the board. Achieve is the organization coordination the writing of the NGSS. (more…)

Ocean Acidification Mock Conference

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Courtesy of the California Academy of Sciences

Through this lesson, students will learn what organisms are affected by ocean acidification by taking on the role of one of the stakeholders affected by ocean acidification and creating poster(s) to address their issue(s). (more…)

What is it?

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

Photo of the Month


The SMART Desk

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012


Connections Between Common Core State Standards, the Coming Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and Career and Technical Education for STEM

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

I recently participated in the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE) Professional Development Institute and the Annual meeting of the NSF-funded STEM Equity Pipeline Project. The meetings were rich and offered more information than I can sum up than this article. I encourage you to visit their websites for complete information. (more…)

Using MERLOT Voices to Build Community of Learners

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

by Laura Henriques, David Andrews, and Jaime Arvizu

This is the fifth in a series of articles related to using on-line resources to support student learning. Each article highlights a different National Science Digital Library (NSDL) resource used in the Building Locally, Linking Globally project (NSF DUE  0735011).

MERLOT is the Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching. Highlighted in an earlier eCCS article, MERLOT (www.merlot.org)  is a free service. There are several things that MERLOT provides. The on-line library of peer reviewed teaching and learning materials (called “learning objects”) is searchable by grade, topic and type. The e-portfolio generator called Content Builder is a free, simple way to create professional portfolios and classroom based websites. Both of these features were highlighted in Jaime Arvizu and Sara Meadows’ article. The feature of MERLOT which we are highlighting in this article is MERLOT Voices.  (more…)

Your CSTA Needs You

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

by Rick Pomeroy

As I begin to conclude my first year as your president, I have come to realize that running this Association takes a tremendous amount of effort and time from the professional staff in the office, the Board of Directors, the Conference Committee Members, and the CSTA members who have volunteered to assist these people with the day to day operation of CSTA. Unfortunately, we do not have as many volunteer members working on CSTA committees as we would like. This, in large part, has to do with our lack of outreach efforts to our members for this type of support. Starting with this article and the Survey  Form linked to this article, I hope to change this for next year and well into the future.

We are missing the voices of the majority of the members. In order to make a professional association work, the members need to be involved. As any of us who have ever participated in a volunteer organization know, it is not healthy for the organization nor the members to have a select few volunteers doing all of the decision-making and implementation of those decisions. As we move into these coming years of new standards, new assessments, and changes in the role of science in the core curriculum, it is important to have members involved at all levels. (more…)

Another Year Comes to an End!

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

by Valerie Joyner

It is hard to believe that summer is just around the corner!  The final weeks of school always bring us extra work and anxiety.  We are faced with AP tests, CST’s, projects, finals, grades, and planning for next year.  Not to mention those last minute parent conferences and letters of recommendation.  It is a trying time for each of us and all of our students, as well. Fortunately, this also means summer vacation is almost here.  Ahh! (more…)

The Time to Be Heard Is Now Soon!

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

by Peter A’Hearn

The first draft of the Next Generation Science Standards were expected to be released by the end of April. Now that it is May 1 and the draft standards have yet to be released to the public, CSTA has learned that the revised release time frame has been revised to mid-May. The review window will be only three weeks long once the draft is released, so please stay tuned to CSTA for word when the draft is available and take some time to study and give feedback through http://www.nextgenscience.org/. You can choose to provide feedback on only the areas in which you have the most expertise. CSTA will be working with other statewide organizations to alert members to public review sessions as well.  That information will be made available soon after the draft standards are released. (more…)

CSTA Call for Awards Nominations – Only Two Weeks Remain!

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

May 15 is the deadline for nominations for the 2012 Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award and the Future Science Teacher Award. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. (more…)

My First Science Olympiad Experience: A Primary Teacher’s Perspective Part 1

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

by Michelle French

As a primary teacher, I had never thought about attending a Science Olympiad.  That changed when I had the opportunity to talk with Tulare County Office of Education’s Science Instructional Consultant, Jennifer Janzen.  When I asked Ms. Janzen about interesting science education opportunities in Tulare County, she informed me that on April 14, 2012, the Northern California State Science Olympiad would be held at College of the Sequoias (COS).  COS is the junior college in my hometown of Visalia, CA.  Additionally, Ms. Janzen said that the Tulare County Elementary Science Olympiad would be held at El Diamonte High School in Visalia on April 21.  I was excited to hear this news and made plans to attend both of the events.  (more…)

CDE Releases Updated Science Safety Handbook

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

by Dean Gilbert 

The California Department of Education has released the 2012 edition of the Science Safety Handbook for California Public Schools.  Thanks to the efforts of representatives from various state agencies, educational and research institutions, the Science Safety Handbook, available in PDF format, has been thoroughly edited to provide updated information on:

  • state and federal legislation affecting science instruction,
  • first aid issues in the classroom,
  • general laboratory safety precautions,
  • safety in the biology, chemistry and physics laboratories,
  • legal citations, safety agreements, laboratory safety checklists and tests, field trip permission forms, plus many other ancillary support documents.

An added feature in this 2012 edition is a chapter devoted entirely to Safety in the Elementary Science Classroom. (more…)

A Focus on Practices in the NGSS: What Does It Mean for Your Teaching?

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

by Cynthia Passmore

There is a buzz about the Next Generation Science Standards. Many science teachers I speak to look forward with a mix of anticipation and anxiety to the release of new standards. Change can be hard, but for most of us in the science education community, we see that it is necessary to keep our field moving forward. So, what will the future hold and how will the new vision for science education articulated in the Framework and the NGSS play out in real classrooms? For this article I’d like to put forward some thoughts on one strand of the new standards, the “Practices.” Last month in this venue, Peter A’Hearn explained how the new focus on practices is different from the current California investigation and experimentation strand and why this approach is productive (see also Osborne, 2011). My purpose here is not to re-hash that account, but to put forward some ideas about how the focus on practices could actually look in a science classroom. (more…)

Call to Action – Science Graduation Mandate Elimination

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

by Carolyn Holcroft and Marian Murphy-Shaw

In recent months, CSTA has been working to keep members informed about the status of the high school science graduation requirement. Under title 5 section 51225.3, California high school students must complete a minimum of one biological science course and one physical science course in order to graduate, and that second year of science is estimated to cost the state upwards of $200 million annually. Since the state is currently facing its most dire financial situation in decades and state leaders are exploring all options for cost savings, perhaps it’s not surprising that the second-year science mandate has been targeted in Governor Brown’s 2012-2013 budget proposal. At this time it is unclear whether his ultimate objective would be to eliminate only the mandate (and thus absolve the state’s financial obligation going forward) and keep the requirement via statutory change, or if the requirement for the second year of science would be eliminated altogether. (more…)

Continuing to Increase Knowledge

Tuesday, May 1st, 2012

by Eric Lewis

I have always loved science. And, I like to think that I’m pretty good at science, too.  So, I was pretty rocked to my core while attending a professional development recently and finding giant holes in my knowledge.

The topic we were covering in the PD was energy.  And, I’ve taught about energy.  Maybe I have haven’t taught a lot about potential energy or kinetic energy, but I’ve taught about the energy from fusion, the energy from photosynthesis, and the energy from metabolism.  At this PD, we were discussing energy that I had not named in quite some time:  gravitational potential energy, chemical potential energy, heat energy…I had a vague recollection of connecting calories and joules and how kinetic and potential energy were connected. (more…)

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