January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Responding to NGSS Critiques – Anticipating the Final Release

Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Laura Henriques

As you likely know, the final version of the Next Generation Science Standards will be released at the end of this month. (more…)

Legislative Update

Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Jessica Sawko

The date for legislators to introduce legislation for this year has passed and this year’s legislative agenda and several bills are on CSTA’s list of bills to watch.

Leading the list is SB 300 (Hancock). Existing law prohibits the State Board of Education from adopting instructional materials until the 2015–16 school year. This bill would require the state board to consider the adoption of a revised curriculum framework and evaluation criteria for instructional materials in science on or before November 30, 2015, and would require the revised curriculum framework to be based on specified science content standards. This bill is the key next step that will need to take place after the anticipated adoption of new science standards by the State Board of Education this November. (more…)

Last Chance to Submit Your 2013 Workshop Proposal!

Friday, March 1st, 2013

This weekend is your last opportunity to submit a workshop proposal to present at the 2013 California Science Education Conference in Pam Springs this October. One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is that as a member presenting a workshop, your conference registration fees are waived (an over $100 value). Presenting a workshop at the California Science Education Conference can be a rewarding experience and looks great on  your resume! This year CSTA will be providing Wi-Fi access for attendees and presenters, allowing you to enhance your presentation. There will also be a limited number of workshops accepted to be presented in the technology rooms at the Palm Springs USD. These rooms are equipped with laptops and internet access for every user. (For more information on the Wi-Fi and technology rooms click here). (more…)

2013 Conference Closing Keynote Speaker

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Smith SML

Dr. Lawrence C. Smith, climate scientist, professor, and author of The World in 2050 will be the closing keynote speaker at the 2013 California Science Education Conference in Palm Springs.

How will the combination of a booming global population and global warming change the world? Which countries will struggle, and which will prosper? Laurence Smith believes the North is set for major gains. In his talk, Smith will outline the changes that our world will face in the next 50 years, both geologically and societally.

Laurence Smith is one of the world’s most respected climate scientists, whose work envisions the future of a warmed planet. His debut book, The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilizations Northern Future, is a work of enormous scope, cross-cutting themes of population demographics, globalization, natural resource demand, and climate change. It’s science fiction without the fiction. Smith is the Professor and Vice-Chair of Geography and Professor of Earth & Space Sciences at UCLA and has published more than sixty research papers. (more…)

How Will NGSS Be Held Accountable?

Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Peter A’Hearn

No fellow teacher, I’m not asking how you will be held accountable for the NGSS. I’m wondering how the NGSS will be held accountable for achieving its goals of improving science education.

Will more students be prepared to work in science and engineering related careers and pass college courses in science and engineering?  Will more kids be excited about science and engineering and choose careers or continuing education in the sciences? (more…)

The College Board’s Seven Science Practices: Practice Number Four

Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Bethany Dixon

The College Board has released seven science practices that will be shared through the disciplines. (Note: these are not to be confused with the NGSS “Science and Engineering Practices” from the Framework for K-12 Science Education.) The new Advanced Placement Curriculum Framework for AP Biology began this year, with plans for revamping AP Chemistry (2013-2014) and AP Physics (2014-2015) on the horizon. The new frameworks give students a chance to hone their skills at the lab bench, which is crucial for their success with the new AP Science Examinations and the upcoming transition to NGSS. Here is the second installment of the seven practices overview, with use-them-now tips for your classroom. The first three practices can be found in our February issue of eCCS. (more…)

KQED and CSTA to Host Webinar Series

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Join KQED and CSTA for one of three area specific science webinars and learn the ropes around PBS LearningMedia, a collection of thousands of digital media resources from KQED and other public media stations for the K-12 science classroom. Experienced science educators give an example of a media-rich lesson and present strategies for successfully incorporating multimedia into the classroom.

NOTE: Each webinar is subject area specific (Environmental Science, K-5, Physics, Biology). Click on webinar titles to register for a free online training session.

Thursday, March 7th from 4-5pm
Science in K-5 Classroom with PBS LearningMedia

Thursday, March 28th from 4-5pm
PBS LearningMedia for the Physics Classroom

Thursday, April 18th from 4-5pm
Multimedia for the Biology Classroom with PBS LearningMedia

Click here for more information.

Celestial Highlights for March 2013

Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Robert Victor and Robert Miller

In planning a first sky watching session for your classes, you may want to begin your observations during evening twilight so students can experience the joy of discovering and identifying the brighter stars as they first appear. Begin no later than one-half hour after sunset, or even earlier when the Moon or bright planets are visible, and continue until you have the dark-sky time needed to observe the deep sky objects on your list. (more…)

How Will the Next Generation Science Standards Impact Higher Education in California?

Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Carolyn Holcroft and Gregory Potter

In recent months we’ve had many occasions to talk about the NGSS with our college faculty colleagues and without exception, reactions have been overwhelmingly positive. The vision set forth in the “Framework for K-12 Science Education” for integrating scientific practices, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas makes good sense. The “Conceptual Shifts” and the draft “Definition of College and Career Readiness in Science” seem promising and ambitious, and once the NGSS are successfully implemented we can expect to see a drastically different level of preparedness in the students arriving at our colleges. (more…)

What is it February Explanation

Friday, March 1st, 2013


It is the eye of young Mediterranean horse mackerel, Trachurus mediterraneus, prepared using standard clearing-and-staining techniques. Cartilage is stained blue via alcian blue, tissues are cleared via trypsin, and bone is stained red via alizarin red. One of ten specimens in the University of Kansas collection. Image taken using an Alexis Scientific Clearshot 600 SLR-to-microscope eyepiece camera adapter on my Leica S8 APO dissecting microscope.

Full image:


Photo Credit: Nancy Holcroft-Benson

Responses from readers:

Cynthia Cudaback: giant eyeball, probably from a squid. It washed ashore a few months ago. I think it was in Florida.

Lorraine Buckleycetacean eye

What is it?

Friday, March 1st, 2013



The Next Generation of California Science Standards

Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Rick Pomeroy

What will California science standards look like at this time next year? At present, we really don’t know. As we saw with the number of changes between the first and second public drafts of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), and with the large number of reviews received by Achieve (thank you to those who were able to take time of out your busy lives to submit a review), this means we  still can’t be sure what the final NGSS will be until they’re released later this month. Even if we knew now, we still do not necessarily know what the California science standards will look like. As explained in last month’s president’s column, the NGSS release by Achieve, Inc. only starts the process. (more…)

How to Encourage and Engage Shy Students

Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Amanda L. Smith

Shyness has no single definition, but it’s generally described as a feeling of uncomfortableness in social situations in ways that interfere with our ability to enjoy ourselves, to perform at the level we’re capable of or, that cause us to avoid social situations altogether.  It can come from a variety of sources such as disappointment from earlier childhood experiences, having predisposition to anxiety, or due to learning disabilities that cause difficulties with reading social cues. Since learning is clearly a social activity, it’s important for us to help students overcome this potential obstacle. Getting students to realize that shyness is a feeling more than it is a personality trait will give them hope that they can master their feelings and learn to muster courage when desired.  (more…)

What’s Happening in Region 4?

Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Region 4 is buzzing with anticipation of the NGSS and the roll out of the Common Core Standards and districts in the region continue to strategize to determine the best manner for standards implementation in their classrooms. The Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) has been offering a series of professional development opportunities to familiarize teachers with the Common Core State Standards and the anticipated changes in assessements.  The RCOE professional development calendar lists upcoming Common Core training opportunities.  For more information, access http://rcoe.k12oms.org/index.php. (more…)

Science Teachers Sought for Research Study Survey

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Our names are Kimberly Howard, Ph.D. and Amy Wendt, Ph.D. and we are currently faculty members at the Boston University and University of  Wisconsin – Madison. We are requesting your participation in a research study focusing on teachers’ attitudes and beliefs about science, technology, engineering, and math.  If you currently teach in the elementary, middle, of high school level(s), you are eligible to participate in this study. (more…)

Region 1 – News and Events for March 2013

Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Valerie Joyner

Monday, March 4, is the deadline to submit workshop proposals for our CSTA Conference in October 2013. This is an opportunity for you to share your teaching discoveries and insights with your colleagues.  Whether you teach science in kindergarten, have special skills and/or lessons for middle school students, have evolved unique strategies for your English Language Learners, or challenges for your AP Chemistry students, we are looking to you to provide a variety of workshops for all different levels, disciplines, and current frameworks and standards.  I invite you to think outside the box and submit a proposal! (more…)

Volunteers Needed for San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Volunteers still very much needed!

We’re still in need of  a great many volunteers to make this year’s event the very best ever. More than 60,000 students, parents and teachers will be various Festival events as well as the ever popular EXPO Day on March 23 at PETCO Park. They will see first hand how Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics impact our everyday lives. It will certainly engage and excite young people to consider pursuing studies and even a career in these fields!

But it can’t happen without you. Sign up to assist for the Festival at http://www.volunteerspot.com/login/entry/614055956061and for EXPO day at http://www.volunteerspot.com/login/entry/1094224722026.

Thank you so much for making a difference to so many!

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