January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Asking You So We Can Serve You – Your PD and Conference Needs

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

The CSTA Board of Directors is seeking input from you, California science teachers, so we can learn what we can do to best help you. We anticipate that 2014-15 will be a big year for California – new science standards will be implemented, we will be partnering with our non-science colleagues as we implement Common Core and the state will have a new assessment program in place. All of us are going to need some help as we figure out how to meaningfully and successfully adapt to all these changes.

Please help us to help you. Take this short survey and let us know what you most want in terms of your science professional learning and development. Are the CSTA conferences meeting your needs? Would you prefer shorter meetings? More frequent meetings? On-line workshops or seminars? What topics are of most interest to you? Please spend a few minutes to complete this survey. (more…)

Public Draft of NGSS Delayed Until January

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

The release of the second and final public draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is set for the first week in January. In recognition of the hectic schedules in December and the approaching holidays, (more…)

California Girls (CalGirlS) in STEM Collaborative

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

California has a rich and vigorous STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) culture.  However, the existing trend is that girls and other underserved populations appear to be under-represented in these disciplines.  For this reason, there is a lack of diversity and equality in higher STEM educational fields and in the current STEM workforce.  (more…)

Legislative Update – Looking Forward to an Exciting Year

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

2013 promises to be an interesting year in the California legislature, both generally and quite possibly for science education. One major item expected to be debated during this legislative season is the issue of the statewide assessment system. Last year, AB 250 (Brownley) called for Superintendent Torlakson to deliver his recommendation for the re-authorization of the statewide assessment system to the legislature in the fall of 2013. While we have not yet seen the final recommendation, CSTA has been following the preparations for the recommendation quite closely.  (more…)

Nancy Taylor Honored for Statewide Leadership in Science Education

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Taylor among Twelve Recipients of the “Women in STEM” Award at California STEM Summit

Nancy Taylor, executive director of The San Diego Science Alliance and long-time CSTA member,  was one of a dozen “Leading Women in STEM” honored on Oct. 16 at the 2012 California STEM Summit held in San Diego. The award recognized honorees for their achievements in advancing innovative and effective STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education initiatives across the state. The awardees were also commended for being exemplary role models for women and girls in California.  (more…)

News and Events in Region 2

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Eric Lewis

You can now start to submit your ideas for workshops for next year’s Education Conference in Palm Springs!  And as always, please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings list. 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, at lewise2@sfusd.edu.

Upcoming Events in Region 2: (more…)

News and Events in Region 1

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Valerie Joyner

It is hard to believe that we will soon mark the halfway point in the school year. For many of us, it will be the end of the first semester with projects and reports due, finals to give, and grades to report all while teaching.  For those on the trimester system, it is planning and delivering lessons.  We can all look forward to Winter Break for a much needed rest and time to rejuvenate our teaching souls.

Enjoy your well-deserved break!

Region 1 Events and Deadlines: (more…)

IISME (Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education)

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Eric Lewis

Eric:  What exactly is IISME?

Shari:  IISME is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 that seeks to transform teaching and learning through industry-education partnerships. IISME exists to address the critical need for a strong, highly skilled workforce in math, science and technological fields. This industry-education partnership focuses on teachers as the primary agents for effecting meaningful change in mathematics and science education.  (more…)

Opportunity: Supporting CSTA Is Easy!

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Laura Henriques

The holiday season is here! For many of us, that means gift giving. If you are like me, you want to avoid the parking lots and lines at the mall and do your shopping online. We have a really simple way for you to do your online purchases and help CSTA at the same time! GoodSearch/GoodShop is an online program that will donate a percentage of your online purchase price to the non-profit of your choice, including CSTA. There is no additional cost to you, you merely need to search and shop through the GoodSearch/GoodShop portal. Not only will CSTA get a donation for each purchase you make, there are online coupons for many vendors so you may even save money in the process. There is a search box associated with the site and each time you search the web CSTA gets a penny. Doesn’t sound like much but it does add up! (more…)

Sky-Watching Activities, December 2012 to Early January 2013

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Robert C. Victor

Two difficult observations on Wednesday, December 12:

(1) Just over an hour before sunrise, try to see four planets simultaneously. It’s harder than it was two weeks earlier. Beginning with Venus, note Saturn 18° to its upper right, and Mercury just risen in ESE 6.5° to Venus’ lower left. When Mercury is 4° up, Jupiter is also 4° up, but in the opposite direction, WNW. If mountains don’t block your view, you might see all four of these planets at once. Note: Saturn-Venus-Mercury lie in a straight line. (2) Next, even more difficult, wait until about 30 minutes before sunrise, then extend the Mercury to Venus line 9° lower left of Mercury, and, using binoculars, there you may find a very thin crescent old Moon less than 3° above the horizon. From the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, the Moon is just 18.5 hours before New. (New Moon occurs on Thursday, Dec. 13 at 12:42 a.m. PST).  (more…)

Science Education Opportunities at the San Francisco Botanical Garden

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Annette Huddle

For over 40 years, the San Francisco Botanical Garden Society has been committed to providing opportunities for city children to explore and learn in the SF Botanical Garden, located in the heart of Golden Gate Park. We’ve grown tremendously from our earliest days when a small core of committed volunteers created guided walks for school groups and now serve more than 10,000 children a year with a variety of programs throughout the seasons. However, our emphasis has remained consistent as we strive to connect children with the natural world and take advantage of their innate curiosity to increase their engagement and understanding. In addition to direct service to children, the Youth Education Program also provides professional development opportunities for teachers, building their interest, commitment and skills in working with children outdoors, whether in our garden, in a school yard or a near-by park. (more…)

2012 California Science Education Conference Highlights, and Looking Ahead to 2013 California Science Education Conference in Palm Springs!

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Lisa Hegdahl

The California Science Education Conference took place in San Jose in October. Science educators from all over the state enjoyed workshops, short courses, field courses, and evening events. Knowledgeable keynote and focus speakers rounded out the three days of networking.

Upon leaving the conference, attendees were encouraged to comment on their experiences. Participants expressed appreciation for the opportunities to network in person with a variety of science educators. They also enjoyed the presentations by Helen Quinn, and other well informed focus speakers, and returned to their schools feeling more informed about the Next Generation of Science Standards and the Common Core Standards. (more…)

Western Regional Noyce Conference Bring Together Future Math & Science Teachers

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Laura Henriques

The National Science Foundation provides Robert Noyce Scholarship Grants to numerous universities and colleges to support STEM majors who commit to teach in high need schools. The Noyce Scholarship program is highly competitive. Applicants must have a degree in a STEM field, a high GPA, and demonstrated desire to work with at risk/high need students. Prospective teachers who are selected to be Noyce Scholars get financial and programmatic support as they complete their bachelor’s degree and credential. In return for the financial support they must teach one year for each semester of funding. California has had 62 Noyce programs at 35 different campuses, each of which supports 20-40 students over the life of the grant. Preliminary data suggests that the Noyce Scholars remain as teachers in high need schools long after they have worked off their commitment. What a wonderful investment this is for our state!  (more…)

NGSS Draft Delayed – What Now?

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Well here we are twiddling our thumbs and waiting for the second draft of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) to be released for public review, which we now know will be in January 2013. I guess it’s good to know that the writers are taking their time and not rushing the process just to meet deadlines. The new standards will be around for a long time and will come at a time of rapid change in education, so we want them to be well thought out. (more…)

Getting the Science Right: Teaching Climate Change in the Classroom

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Minda Berbeco

As the newest Programs and Policy Director here at the National Center for Science Education, I am constantly asked where educators can find good lesson plans and classroom activities to teach about climate change.

  • Is there something for 2nd graders?
  • Can it involve water resources?
  • How about a chemistry focus?
  • Will it fit into already established statewide science standards?
  • Can it involve students in the search for practical solutions?


The Benefits of Mentoring (for New Teachers and Veterans)

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Amanda L. Smith

Pairing an experienced teacher with a new teacher can be a great way to boost a new teacher’s confidence and provides multiple levels of support including content guidance, classroom management assistance, and many others. The first few years of teaching are potentially stressful but with the support of veteran teachers and a good mentoring program, they can be successful and rewarding. Even if you’ve already completed your Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment program (BTSA), or you are a veteran teacher who has recently changed schools, you can still benefit from learning from other teachers at your school. (more…)

Effective Formative Assessment: Gots and Needs

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Bethany Dixon

How do you use formative assessments to increase student achievement and drive curriculum pacing in your classroom? Assessment that informs instruction is critical for effective teaching, but time constraints and student engagement for an assessment that “doesn’t count” can be obstacles that are difficult to overcome. How can teachers possibly give timely, effective feedback on a daily basis while keeping their plans nimble and students engaged? At the AP Biology Leadership Academy this summer, Brooke Bourdelat-Parks from BSCS gave research-based, classroom-tested, and easy-to-implement strategies that can help you improve your formative assessments whether you teach 2nd graders or 2nd-year graduate students. (more…)

Science in the Season

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Rick Pomeroy

I want to start this, my last article of 2012, with holiday wishes for everyone. It has been an interesting year in science education in California and 2013 promises to be filled with a whole new set of surprises and challenges.

As a science teacher for 20 years, I was always challenged to keep my students interested in science with holiday “spirit” and pending vacation plans. As I was thinking about it again today, the day after Thanksgiving, I once again realized that there are some great science lessons all around us at this time of year. Not only are they fun for our students, they also provide us with an opportunity to continue to practice good science teaching. (more…)

Increasing Awareness of Common Core Standards Among Community College Faculty

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

by Carolyn Holcroft

The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges (ASCCC) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to advance community college education in California. Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations grants the ASCCC authority to represent community college faculty to the California Board of Governors (BOG) and the Chancellor’s Office, serving as a unified faculty voice in matters of statewide concern. In keeping with this purpose, the ASCCC holds two plenary meetings each year. These provide community college faculty with opportunities to discuss issues facing California educators, and the meetings culminate in a formal resolution process to advise ASCCC leadership on how to represent CCC faculty to the BOG or Chancellor’s Office. (more…)

What is it November Explanation

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

November Photo of the MonthYou were right, it is a pumpkin. More specifically a Porcelain Doll F1 Hybrid Pumpkin.

Responses from readers:

Dick Filson: My guess is that this is a view of a squash or other pumpkin relative. It would be appropriate for October.

What is it?

Saturday, December 1st, 2012


The Carbon Cycle

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

Source: TED-Ed

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