January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

NSTA Makes Recommendations to Achieve on NGSS First Public Draft

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

As a partner in the development of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), NSTA recently conducted a comprehensive review of the first public draft when it was released for input in May and has provided feedback to Achieve. NSTA’s report highlights a number of critical issues regarding the structure and content of the NGSS and offers seven recommendations to the writers to consider as they begin work on the next draft. (more…)

Summer Reflections

Friday, June 29th, 2012

by Eric Lewis

In the past few weeks, I have led and attended a few workshops.  One thing that has been jumping out at me is our need to not only develop our content knowledge in science, but to also build upon our pedagogy so that we can really support ALL of our students to learn science.  I have had many, many conversations with teachers in my district (and beyond) over the past few years about the challenges of meeting the needs of the students in our classrooms.  That said, I’ve never been more convinced that the vast majority of my colleagues are really knowledgeable about their content.  Content knowledge, while extremely important, is NOT the real crux of what our experienced teachers need.  Sure, a few new labs and elegant experiments are great to add to your repertoire, but the professional development that we really need is in how to meet the needs of our students – especially when students may be arriving in our classes lacking the skills that we expected them to have. (more…)

CSTA Member Selected to Explore the Ocean with Titanic Discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard’s Nautilus Exploration Program

Friday, June 29th, 2012

[San Francisco, CA] – Twelve educators from across the United States have been selected from a competitive pool of applicants by the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) to participate in the 2012 Nautilus Exploration Program. The selected Educators at Sea hail from schools and museums in seven states and represent ten school districts, including San Francisco Unified School District. CSTA member and region 2 director Eric Lewis, the Secondary Science Content Specialist for the SFUSD, has been selected as a 2012 Nautilus Exploration Program Educator at Sea. (more…)

The Second Year High School Science Graduation Requirement Is Safe!

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The legislature rejected Governor Brown’s proposal to eliminate the state mandate requiring a second year of high school science. On June 27, the legislature passed the education trailer bills (AB 1476 and SB 1016). The bills contained no language to modify the high school science graduation requirement as proposed by Governor Brown in his January and May budget proposals. Our most sincere thanks goes out to all of you who contacted their legislators and let them know that diminishing the high school science graduation requirements was a step in the wrong direction for California’s future. (more…)

2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching Winners Announced

Monday, June 25th, 2012

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today congratulated two California teachers who have been named by President Barack Obama as recipients of the prestigious 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) award. The two teachers were among 97 educators named nationwide.

The California science winner is Dean Baird, a physics teacher at Sacramento’s Rio Americano High School in the San Juan Unified School District. (more…)

A Look Back with an Eye on Tomorrow

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

by Rick Pomeroy

As the school year rapidly draws to a close, I hope you are making plans to use the coming summer months to renew your zest for science teaching, exploring new and exciting manifestations of the content you teach, and thinking about all of the great lessons, activities, and “Ah-Ha” moments that you experienced this year. We all know that the financial situation in the state and our schools will continue to be challenging for the coming year but this is not a reason to deprive ourselves of the pleasure that those great classroom experiences can bring.

At this time, I like to look back and think about the things we have accomplished over the past year and the things we can still look forward to. The year started with the flurry of activity around the adoption of the Common Core Standards (CCS). Though only written for Math and English/Language Arts, there has been a huge new level of attention to science particularly in the technical reading and writing sections of the ELA-CCS. While our fellow teachers were scrambling around developing implementation plans, comparing old and new standards, and discussing how these new practices might be assessed, science educators were getting their first peek at the future of science education standards. Over the course of the ensuing eight months, those Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have taken real form finally being released for public review on May 11th.  When the review period ends on June 1st, your comments and suggestions will be incorporated in the next draft to be released sometime in the fall of 2012. (more…)

Second Year Science Graduation Requirement – Update June 18, 2012

Monday, June 18th, 2012

The state budget vote that occurred on June 15 did not include this issue. The topic of the second year science graduation requirement is still being discussed and we are not out of the woods yet on this issue.

Because the issue remains fluid, and until such time as the governor signs the budget and the anticipated education trailer bill (expected early this week) CSTA urges you to continue to bring awareness around this issue by sharing this information broadly and signing the petition to Save ScienceClick here to find the contact information for your representatives at the state level. Clcik here for talking points. Please urge your reresentative to oppose the proposal to dilute the high school science graduation requirement.

In his May revision of the 212-2013 budget, the governor made several changes to his education block grant proposal (designed to reform the education mandate system, of which the graduation requirement is a part). One thing he did not change was his proposal to eliminate the “Graduation Requirement” mandate, which requires high school students to complete two years of science to fulfill their graduation requirements. (more…)

Second Year Science Graduation Requirement – Update June 15, 2012

Friday, June 15th, 2012

The California Legislature has successfully protected the existing funding mechanism for the second year science class graduation requirement. The state budget vote that occurred today did not include this issue.

Because the issue remains fluid, and until such time as the governor signs the budget and the anticipated education trailer bill (expected early next week) CSTA urges you to continue to bring awareness around this issue by sharing this information broadly and signing the petition to Save Science. (more…)

Reducing the Science High School Graduation Requirement – A Step in the Wrong Direction

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

by Dean Gilbert

Science education is about more than a body of knowledge, about more than the accumulation of facts and formulas. It is about how we understand the world around us, how we learn to be problem solvers, and about developing skills essential in a changing world. Not only skills of science and engineering, but skills of an engaged, thoughtful, and efficacious citizenry.

Governor Brown’s proposal to eliminate the second year laboratory science high school graduation requirement, as a means of saving 250 million dollars annually, will have devastating consequences for our schools and the nation.  It contradicts every message being sent across the airwaves, at every level of government and industry, that science education is critical to the future economy of the United States. (more…)

KQED’s Forum: Gov. Proposes Nixing High School Science Requirement

Friday, June 8th, 2012

On June 7, CSTA president Rick Pomeroy was a featured guest on KQED’s Forum which addressed Governor Brown’s proposal to eliminate the second year science graduation requirement.

Application for Appointment to the English Language Arts/English Language Development Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Science teachers with expertise in literacy are encouraged to apply!

Applications must be received by 3 p.m. Thursday, August 16, 2012.

The State Board of Education (SBE) is recruiting members of the English Language Arts/English Language Development Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC). The CFCC will play a significant role in the revision of theEnglish Language Arts/English Language Development Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (ELA/ELD Framework). The ELA/ELD Framework will be revised to incorporate and support the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects, (commonly known as the CCSS for ELA), adopted by the California State Board of Education in August 2010, and to reflect current research in English language arts instruction. The ELA/ELD Framework will also include the new English language development standards (ELD standards) scheduled for adoption by the SBE in September or November 2012. The CFCC provides input into the initial draft of the revised framework in accordance with guidelines approved by the SBE. (more…)

The Results Are in…Meet Your New Board Members

Monday, June 4th, 2012

CSTA is pleased to announce the results of the 2012-14 Board of Director elections. The winners of the election are below. CSTA thanks all candidates and members for their participation in the elections. The board members terms will be July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2014. (more…)

Second Year Science Graduation Requirement Elimination: Governor Stands Firm

Monday, June 4th, 2012

by Jessica L. Sawko

In his May revision of the 212-2013 budget, the governor made several changes to his education block grant proposal (designed to reform the education mandate system, of which the graduation requirement is a part). One thing he did not change was his proposal to eliminate the “Graduation Requirement” mandate, which requires high school students to complete two years of science to fulfill their graduation requirements.

CSTA has been reporting and acting on the Governor’s proposal to eliminate the Graduation Requirement mandate since February (MarchAprilMay). In May, CSTA teamed up with the California STEM Learning Network (CSLNet). Our combined efforts have resulted in gaining support for our position of opposing the Governor’s proposal in the Assembly, but there is still work to be done in the Senate.  (more…)

News and Events in Region 2

Monday, June 4th, 2012

by Eric Lewis

As I’m starting to write this, it’s officially the last week of work in my school district.  I’ve been attending graduations every day and it’s not even June yet.  When I grew up, summer was more of a July and August affair; now it seems like summer is starting earlier and earlier (not to mention summer weather, but that’s a whole other story).

This summer is the first time in a while that I decided to take some time off.  No IISME this year, even though I had an amazing time last year working at KQED thanks to IISME’s summer program.  Of course, like most teachers, I spend a lot of time over the summer thinking about my practice, changing up my labs, adding new activities and projects to my curriculum, and seeking out professional development (short and paid, please) to help me to improve my practice.   (more…)

Accomplished Teaching Forum

Monday, June 4th, 2012

CTA is hosting a groundbreaking event for members interested in becoming National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) and for members that are already National Board Certified.

This is an excellent opportunity to engage your members interested in professional practice. Please share this with your members that are NBCTs.

A’s and Chevron Launch “Science of the Game” Program to Bay Area Schools

Monday, June 4th, 2012

A’s outfielder Josh Reddick to launch program at Lincoln Elementary School in Richmond Tuesday

Young people in the Bay Area may wonder how Yoenis Céspedes can hit a baseball 462 feet. Now they’ll know. The Oakland Athletics and Chevron Tuesday will launch “Science of the Game,” a unique educational program that deepens interest and understanding among Bay Area youth by applying science to baseball.

A’s outfielder Josh Reddick and the team mascot Stomper will launch the program Tuesday, May 22 at 1 p.m. at Lincoln Elementary School in Richmond (29 Sixth Street). Reddick will pass out “Science of the Game” workbooks to more than 130 fifth and sixth graders and work through a few of the science problems with the students. (more…)

District-Level Race to the Top to Focus on the Classroom, Provide Tools to Enhance Learning and Serve the Needs of Every Student

Monday, June 4th, 2012

2012 Competition Proposal Available for Public Comment Until June 8

The U.S. Department of Education announced today proposed criteria for the 2012 Race to the Top program—a nearly $400 million competition that invites school districts to create plans for individualized classroom instruction aimed at closing achievement gaps and preparing each student for college and career.

“Today, we’re taking the next step forward. We’re announcing a new Race-to the Top competition for school districts that is aimed squarely at the classroom level and the all-important relationship among teachers and students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. (more…)

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Creates Science, Technology, Engineering, Math Task Force

Monday, June 4th, 2012

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced the creation of a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Task Force to look at how to improve learning and engage more students in scientific and technical fields, widely considered a key to the state’s economic future.

“California has always led the way in science and technology—and our future success depends on fostering an interest in these fields among our students,” Torlakson said. “Our classrooms are filled with the leaders of tomorrow, and we need to give them every opportunity to reach their potential.” (more…)

A Predawn Lunar Eclipse, a Transit of Venus, and Other Sky Phenomena in June 2012 and Beyond

Monday, June 4th, 2012

by Robert C. Victor

We hope you enjoyed the annular or partial solar eclipse of May 20. Perhaps you’ll want to start planning to take in the next two total solar eclipses within the U.S.: On August 21, 2017 (seen as total within a narrow path from Oregon to South Carolina), and on April 8, 2024 (total from Texas to Maine).

Here are some fascinating events to close out the (traditional schedule) school year, and some very striking arrangements of planets, moon and stars to encourage your students to “keep looking up” during the summer months. (more…)

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Update

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The first public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) was released for review on Friday, May 14th. The review period for this draft closed at the end of the day on June 1st. If you did not have an opportunity to review the standards during this first round, CSTA strongly encourages you to participate in the second round of public reviews, anticipated for late fall of this year. Information about the draft standards can be found at http://www.nextgenscience.org/next-generation-science-standards.  A copy of the May draft of the standards is available for download from the CSTA website. If your time is limited, you might consider reviewing only a portion of the standards in your area of expertise. What ever route you choose, your comments are important to the continued development of the standards in a form and structure that will guide science instruction for years to come. (more…)

Next Generation Science Standards Online Forum

Friday, June 1st, 2012

CSTA is hosting an online discussion forum for its members on the Next Generation Science Standards. Please take advantage of your membership and participate in this online forum with your fellow CSTA colleagues. Help us represent your voice in this issue by participating in the forum and letting CSTA and your fellow teachers what your thoughts on the draft standards are.

Click here to log-in. After you log in, use the link on the left “NGSS on-line forum”.

What is it May Explanation

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Photo of the MonthThey are tube worm casings. Photo courtesy of: http://pdphoto.org/PictureDetail.php?mat=pdef&pg=6835.

Responses from readers:

Dorrit: Baby octopus hatching nest.

Michael Keith: Tube worm

Whitney Thwaite: These are the shells of tube worms that live in the ocean.

Judy: Brittlestars

Peter A’Hearn: Tube worm casings on rocks in a tide pool

Paul Detwiler: There are two marine species in the photo; both construct calcareous tubes to house themselves. The larger tubes belong to the scaly worm snail Serpulorbis [probable species = squamigerus (Vermetidae: Mollusca)] and the tiny white spirals are the tubes of the polychaete Spirorbis sp. (Serpulidae: Annelida).


2012 California Science Education Conference Registration Opens!

Friday, June 1st, 2012

by Lisa Hegdahl

June is here and it’s time for teachers to say goodbye to students and get ready for vacation.  Before you head off for your summer holidays, consider registering for the 2012 California Science Education Conference, October 19 – 21 in San Jose.  This year’s conference promises to be one of the most important conferences in years, with cutting edge information about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  The NGSS will have a significant influence on the revised science standards to be considered by the Board in March and July, 2013. SB 300 (Hancock) authorized the drafting of new science content standards that take the NGSS into consideration.  The California State Board of Education must adopt, reject, or modify the new standards by July 30, 2013. With California participating as a lead state partner in the development of the NGSS, all signs are pointing to the NGSS being a part of the future of science education in California. (more…)

What is it?

Friday, June 1st, 2012


A Photo Finish for the School Year

Friday, June 1st, 2012

by Laura Henriques and Katie Beck

CSTs and AP exams are over.  Students and teachers can all breathe a sigh of relief. (more…)

Governor Brown on the High School Science Graduation Mandate

Friday, June 1st, 2012

(Our apologies for the ad, there was nothing we could do about that.)

You’ll notice an error which the news crew inserted:

In reviewing the Intel literature the reporter thought the “E” in STEM was for Education instead of Engineering.

For more information on this issue, click here.

Technology for the Classroom: An Examination of YouTube Education

Friday, June 1st, 2012

by Donna Ross

In the last installment of Technology for the Classroom, I considered the value of TED-Ed for classroom use.  This issue will examine several uses of YouTube.  Among people with computers and smart-phones, YouTube has become ubiquitous. Even late-night comics mine YouTube videos for humorous gems.  Most students, including those at the elementary grades, have searched for YouTube videos and many have posted their own creations.  However, as I watch those funny cat videos I inevitably seem to be bombarded with material that makes me question the appropriateness for a school setting.   For example, I searched for a video on DNA replication and I was faced with thousands of videos, many with comments that definitely were not school-friendly. Along with some reasonable choices, I also was presented with “popular videos” that, based on the content and the number of views, caused me to despair for the future of our society. But, before despair takes over, let me share some ways to make better use of YouTube for educational purposes. (more…)

Reflections on Elementary Science

Friday, June 1st, 2012

by Valerie Joyner

Today marked the end of my classroom teaching career.  It is hard for me to believe I have been teaching K-6 for over 37 years.  I fondly remember the early days of my career when there were no state standards or federal mandates, and each of us constructed most of our own curriculum for our students. Every elementary teacher had his/her favorite science units they had developed and used year after year.  My science curriculum was no different. I developed exciting, and sometimes not so exciting activities, explorations, and experiments with kits, books, realia, and a few outdated textbooks. There were no Smartboards, computers, or internet websites to go to.  No state adopted texts or testing of science in 5th grade.  It was a simpler time. (more…)

Exam Reviews and Games!

Friday, June 1st, 2012

by Heather Wygant

I found a cool website that teachers can use as a tool in any subject review for exams.  This site can help you make Jeopardy, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, and Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? games that can be used for reviewing content. Just before STAR testing, I used the Jeopardy game to review the kids on material that would be covered on the STAR test. They loved the game, and it made them feel prepared and confident going into the STAR testing. I am going to try this method again for final exam reviews next week!

Using games is great not only as a review tool to re-teach and remind, but it can also be used as an extension tool, to go beyond the basics with students who have mastered the material. I ask students who have mastered the material to generate questions for the games for extra credit. There are several sites that allow you to generate games for free.  The one I am using is: http://www.wolfescience.com/byojeopardy/#. Here is the Jeopardy game I created for my high school geology class: http://jeopardylabs.com/play/chs-geology-review-jeopardy  Check it out and make your own versions for your students!  Or browse the games already created, you might find one already made covering the subject you want!

Heather Wygant  teaches CP geology at Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill and is CSTA’s high school director.

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