January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Exploratorium Opens at New Home April 17, 2013

Monday, April 1st, 2013

New Embarcadero Gem to Feature 150 New Exhibits, Bay Observatory, Outdoor Gallery and Free Civic Space

ExploratoriumOn April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium will open at Pier 15 at the heart of the revitalized San Francisco waterfront radically improving access to visitors from all over the world and dramatically enhancing the size and scope of the museum. With three times more space overall than its previous home, the new Exploratorium will engage the curiosity and creativity of visitors of any age as they explore 150 brand ­new exhibits amongst more than 600 that will be on view. For the first time, the Exploratorium expands its investigations into the bay, city, and outdoor landscape. (more…)

Be at the Forefront of Science Education!

Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

If you want to be at the forefront of science education, AND receive a tax write off,  join us for the 2013 California Science Education Conference in Palm Springs on Oct. 25-27.  Not only is the CSTA fall conference an outstanding opportunity to dialog with colleagues and gain new ideas, insights, and strategies to use in the classroom, but it is also an opportunity to remain current with what is transpiring at the state and national levels.   As science educators, we know that keeping current with pedagogy and educational shifts is vital to science education as a whole and to the overall success of the students in our classrooms. (more…)

What is it?

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Photo_April_Small (more…)

What is it March Explanation

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Photo_March_SmallIt is a close-up of some gemmae on a Pygmy Sundew plant. Gemmae are modified leaf structures that can detach, form roots, and grow into a new plant. This is a type of asexual reproduction called “fragmentation.”

Responses from readers:



Full image:


STEM Happens

Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Rick Pomeroy

Just last week, I had the pleasure of visiting several elementary schools and one high school in Maryland that shared the focus of incorporating STEM as a regular part of their daily curriculum. What was most impressive to me was not the science and math courses that the students were taking, nor the fact that the students at all grade levels appeared to use technology effortlessly. Instead, it was the collaboration of the faculty, staff and administrators and their seemingly universal commitment to doing things differently. The efforts to prepare students to work confidently in an increasingly digital world were evident everywhere I visited and there was a definite feeling of dynamic progress. The reason I found this so impressive is that after countless hours spent participating in STEM Task Force Meetings, STEM Summits, STEM-focused conferences, and NGSS review sessions it was clear to me that the most important factor in the success of these programs was not the technology or content, but the people involved. (more…)

Recruiting Students into High School STEM Classes

Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Laura Henriques

It’s that time of year when students start to think about which high school classes they will take next year, and teachers and professional organizations are joining in the effort to help recruit students to take physics. Dean Baird, an award winning physics teacher from the Sacramento area, has put together some fliers and the AAPT has created a poster, “Top 10 Reasons to Take Physics,” which can be useful for recruiting students. For those students who are already thinking about college admission and college readiness, the A-G requirements help guide their planning and guidance counselors, teachers and parents also play a role in helping students decide whether to take a fourth year of math or a third (or fourth) year of science. Intuitively we already know that taking more math or science will help students be successful, and there is much data to support this idea. More high school math and science correlate with increased success in college, regardless of major, and STEM fields are employing candidates at higher rates (and the pay is pretty good!). These can be strong selling points when trying to convince students and their parents that a year of physics or another year of math really will be good for them. (more…)

Meet the Candidates for the 2013 – 2015 CSTA Board of Directors Elections

Monday, April 1st, 2013

The slate of candidates for the 2013 – 2015 CSTA Board of Directors election was approved by the CSTA Board of Directors at its March board meeting. The elections will open on April 16, 2013. CSTA members who have a membership valid as of April 1, 2013 are eligible to vote in the election. An email will be sent to those members with an email address on file to vote online. For those members who have opt-ed out of email or don’t have an address on file, they will be sent a ballot in the mail.

Please take a moment to learn more about the candidates for the positions of President-Elect, Two-Year College Director, Middle/Jr. High Director, Primary Director, Region 1 Director, Region 3 Director, and Informal Science Director.

Please be sure to participate in the elections, every vote counts!

Celestial Highlights for April 2013

Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Robert Victor and Robert D. Miller

We invite you and your students to use the accompanying evening twilight sky chart for April 2013 to identify Jupiter and the brighter stars as they first appear after sunset. Begin observing no later than one-half hour after sunset, or even earlier when the Moon is visible.  (more…)

Bringing Science Together for Elementary and High School Students

Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Valerie Joyner

This month I was very excited to see two local science programs prominently placed on the front page of two separate newspapers in Sonoma County.  Lee Boyes, Honors Chemistry teacher at Petaluma High School, and Steve Carpenter, Physics teacher at Piner High School in Santa Rosa, have independently developed collaborative science programs involving their high school seniors with younger elementary students within their districts. These programs were developed to help support elementary science and assist students in developing a greater interest in and understanding for the science they are learning.  Throughout the year, the high school science students visited the local elementary classrooms to teach science concepts through hands-on activities.  In March, each program brought the elementary students to their high schools and learned more chemistry and physics from their teenage mentors. (more…)

Scholarship for Graduating High School Seniors in Northern CA

Monday, April 1st, 2013

The American Nuclear Society, Northern California Section is announcing our annual scholarship for graduating high school seniors in the Northern California Area. The award of this scholarship is $1000.00 which will be applied toward the student’s first year of study at a four year accredited college or university of the student’s choice. In order to be eligible for this scholarship, the student applicant must enroll in a technical course of study in the field of engineering, physical science, or mathematics and must submit the following documents along with the completed application: (more…)

NGSS and CCSS – Science Fair Is Back!

Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Peter A’Hearn

Science Fair season is in full swing and I can’t speak for the whole state, but I know that in our region science fair participation has declined in recent years. This is especially true at the high school level but can be seen at all levels. (more…)

CSTA Member Wins 2013-2014 Einstein Fellowship

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Zovig Minassian, a teacher at Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale, and CSTA member, will serve at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science under the guidance of Patricia Dehmer. The complete press release and information regarding the Einstein Fellowship is below. CSTA congratulates Zovig on this incredible accomplishment!

Triangle Coalition Announces 2013-2014 Einstein Fellowships

Twenty-seven distinguished STEM educators selected to serve next school-year at four federal agencies

April 2013 News and Events

Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Eric Lewis

Happy Spring everyone!  I hope that you have had a restful Spring Break (or will have one shortly) and that you’re ready for the last bit of the school year.  Incredibly, we are into the last stretch!  I’ve already started planning out my summer – between trips, work and PD, it’s turning out to be pretty full!

I hope that some of you were able to submit your ideas for workshops for this year’s Education Conference in Palm Springs in October!  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 to the CSTA Board of Directors. (more…)

Reading and Science Processes in One

Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Lisa Hegdahl

If you are like me, you are being asked to begin implementing the Common Core Standards in my science classroom.  With the help of district trainings, and a curriculum coach to observe delivery of my literacy instruction, I have managed to do so.  Although the lessons have been reasonably successful, I realized I tended to move quickly back to science processes where students are doing science – asking questions, making predictions, and testing hypothesizes.  This past week, though, I had the opportunity to visit a literacy lesson taught by the 8th grade science team at Rancho Medanos Junior High in Pittsburgh, California.  I ended the day knowing it’s possible to combine science processes with reading literacy in a way I had not considered before.  (more…)

Human Impacts, Human Solutions: Engaging Elementary School Children in Solution-Based Science

Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Minda Berbeco

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are scheduled for release this spring and already many teachers and administrators are abuzz with questions about the anticipated changes. How will core topics be addressed? Will teachers need to rethink their lesson plans? Are students going to be overwhelmed? Many folks were startled by the inclusion of human impacts on natural systems in the standards, even at younger ages – leading them to ask how we can address such issues without making children fearful and despondent? This last question is one I received long before drafts of the NGSS were even released, but now that it appears it will be a core component of several of the standards, the question has become all the more relevant. How, indeed, can we talk about human impacts on natural systems without frightening or depressing students?  (more…)

Call for CSTA Awards Nominations

Monday, April 1st, 2013

The 2013 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers two awards the Future Science Teacher Award and the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award. May 16 is the deadline for nominations for these two awards. 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…)

The Seven Science Practices: Practices Five and Six

Monday, April 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 third installment of the seven practices overview, with use-them-now tips for your classroom. The first four science practices can be found in our February and March issues of eCCS. (more…)

Replicating Whale Fossils

Monday, April 1st, 2013


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