January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Buzzwords for 2012-2013

Monday, July 30th, 2012

by Rick Pomeroy

NGSS, STEM, Standards, CCSS, Race to the Top, waivers, Common Core, Standards, Assessments, and SmarterBalance are all terms and phrases being batted around amongst education policy makers, teachers, administrators and the public over the past several months. As we prepare for the upcoming, 2012-13 school year, each of these terms will gain more significance in the lives and minds of teachers. As I have described in past columns, CSTA has been invited to the table for discussions involving all of these initiatives and your leadership team and staff has represented you at public comment meetings, work group meetings, task force gatherings, and legislative hearings. Fortunately (or Unfortunately), the frequency of these meetings and the importance of the terms and their associated impacts on science teaching are only going to increase this year. With that said, this will be the year for you to be involved in many of these initiatives. (more…)

Sally Kristen Ride, Ph.D., Trailblazing First American Woman In Space, 1951 – 2012

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

Sally Ride died peacefully July 23, 2012 after a courageous 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer. Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, commitment, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless.  (more…)

President Obama Announces Plans for a New, National Corps to Recognize and Reward Leading Educators in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Obama Administration will announce the President’s plan for the creation of a new, national Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Master Teacher Corps comprised of some of the nation’s finest educators in STEM subjects. The STEM Master Teacher Corps will begin with 50 exceptional STEM teachers established in 50 sites and will be expanded over 4 years to reach 10,000 Master Teachers. These selected teachers will make a multi-year commitment to the Corps and, in exchange for their expertise, leadership and service, will receive an annual stipend of up to $20,000 on top of their base salary. The Administration will launch this Teacher Corps with the $1 billion from the President’s 2013 budget request currently before Congress. (more…)

Your Opportunity to Provide Input into the Future of Science Assessments

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

There have been a lot of questions circulating around the future of science assessments and what they will look like in the near future of Common Core assessment and the Next Generation Science Standards. The short answer to most of the questions is, no one knows. Last year, AB 250 (Brownley) authorized the Superintendent (SSPI) to put forward a plan for “transitioning to a system of high-quality assessments.” However, the law only offered an authorization for assessing the Common Core standards specifically. The law did require that the planning process include, among other things,  a discussion around the assessment of science in all grade levels at or above grade 4. The law directs the SSPI to report the recommendations to the fiscal and appropriate policy committees of both houses of the Legislature on or before November 1, 2012. (more…)

STEM Task Force

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

A volunteer group appointed by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction to explore the status of STEM (Science, Technology, Education, and Mathematics) education in curriculum, instructional practices, professional learning, etc.

On May 24, 2012, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla convened 55 volunteers to become members of the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Task Force. (more…)

CDE’s Brokers of Expertise

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

CDE’s Brokers of Expertise site includes lesson and Web activities, videos, and other resources for use in the classroom.  (more…)

Audri’s Rube Goldberg Monster Trap

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

What is it?

Monday, July 2nd, 2012


What is it June Explanation

Monday, July 2nd, 2012


Olympicene is part of a family of compounds related to single-layer graphite, also called graphene, that have shown some practical promise in the fields of optics and electronics.

Photo courtesy of PopSci.

For more information about how this molecule was created and photographed visit http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-05/scientists-photograph-olympicene-smallest-five-ringed-molecule.

Responses from our readers:

Rick Pomeroy: is it the pattern of fire around the core tubes in a boiler?

ZT: Electron microscopy of carbon nanotubes, perhaps? and Graphene or carbon nanotubes.


Bring “Curiosity” Into Your Classroom! – NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity Landing Educator Conference

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Join in the historic landing of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity at Gale Crater Aug.3-5, 2012, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.   Bring the excitement of Mars exploration to your classroom with standards-aligned, STEM-based, hands-on activities and take home image-rich learning materials.  (more…)

News and Events in Region 2 – Summer Is Here!

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

by Eric Lewis

While summer has been on for nearly a month already, I am just starting to have a chance to relax.  I’m excited that I’ll be doing some science research over the next few weeks on the Nautilus.  In my role as Educator-at-Sea, I’ll be a part of the Corps of Explorers (scientists, teachers, shipmen, students, etc.) that will be investigating everything beneath the surface of the Southern Black Sea!  Be sure to see what we find by visiting Nautilus Live. (Click here for information on how interact with me and ask questions while I am at sea.)

As a part of my summer activities, I have been taking the time to reflect on science education and our role as teachers. I encourage you to read and comment on my editorial Summer Reflections.

I hope that you take the opportunity to attend the CA Science Education Conference in San Jose this year.  And, please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings.  Don’t forget to 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.

Click here to view the event calendar full of great events in our region!

Eric Lewis, lewise2@sfusd.edu

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office and is CSTA region 2 director.


NGSS: Will There Be More or Less to Cover?

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

by Peter A’Hearn

The first period of public review for the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is completed and I hope that many of you took the time to review the units that you are most familiar with. NSTA has posted an official response which in my opinion makes several good points and notes some key concerns.

Yesterday I went to a meeting on the common core standards for literacy in science and technical subjects and noted some important parallels with the NGSS and some common concerns.  Unlike the NGSS, which are still in the middle of their revision process and may or may not eventually become adopted by California, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a done deal. Testing on these standards, written for math and Language Arts, begins in 2015. What will happen to testing in science and social studies at that time is an open question and one that is currently being discussed by the AB 250 work group. (They are currently seeking public comment, click here for more information.)  (more…)

On-line Program Book & Personal Scheduler Available Now!

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

by Lisa Hegdahl

2012 Conference LogoBack by popular demand are the On-line Program Book and Personal Scheduler for the annual California Science Educators Conference.  Clicking on the conference logo on the lower left on the CSTA website will take you to the 2012 California Science Education Conference and then to the On-line Program Book and Personal Scheduler.  Currently you can see lists and descriptions of Short Courses, Field Courses, General Sessions, Meal Events, and Evening Events that will be part of the 2012 California Science Education Conference October 19-21 in San Jose. The schedule of Workshops will be available in August.  Using the Personal Scheduler, you can plan your time at the Conference as well as see other CSTA members who are attending the events with you.    (more…)

Inverted or Flipped Classrooms: What are they and how do they work?

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

by Laura Henriques and Meredith Ashbran

What is a flipped or inverted classroom?

Classrooms at the K-12 and college level normally include the direct instruction portion of the instructional sequence. Students listen to a lecture, take notes, and may participate in discussions. There might be some demonstrations or lab activities, but the bulk of classroom time is often spent with the teacher doing lots of work and the students passively receiving the information. Students then go home to solve problems, answer homework questions, and try to apply the information they “learned” during class. It is often at this point where the lessons, which seemed to make so much sense during school hours, seem confusing and the students need help from us. Sadly for them, we aren’t there to help! (more…)


Sunday, July 1st, 2012

by Rick Pomeroy

What is STEM? Besides the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), STEM is the hot topic in science education circles. Representing an ethereal notion of teaching that integrates Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, STEM, as the next big idea, has taken on a life of its own. As science educators and science professionals, we live in an increasingly STEM-centric world. Political leaders and pundits alike tout STEM as the wave of the future, the elixir to return California to an age of prosperity, and the solution to what ails public education. STEM will engage and motivate students, increase the number of people entering post-secondary education with majors in science, technology, engineering, and math fields, and create a new reality in schools. Unfortunately, defining STEM education, identifying what STEM will look like in schools, and distinguishing it from current instructional practices are extremely difficult tasks. (more…)

CSTA LogoJoin Today!

Not a member of CSTA? Join/Renew today:

CSTA One Year Membership ($50)

Joint NSTA/CSTA Membership ($114 – a $129 value)