January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

NGSS and the Primary Classroom

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

by Michelle French

Since the public reviews of the Next Generation Science Standards have come to a close, like many primary teachers, I’ve been wondering what science will look like in kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms.  (more…)

What is it April Explanation

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Photo_April_SmallIt is a photo of:

“SOL Grotto, 2012. 1368 glass tubes, paint. Fabrication: Matarozzi Pelsinger, Rael San Fratello Architects. SOL Grotto is a contemporary take on a grotto or Throeau’s cabin – a spartan retreat that is a space of solitude and close to nature – where one is presented with a mediated experience of water, coolness and light. The SOL Grotto also explores Solyndra’s role as a company S#@t Out of Luck. 1,368 of the 24 million high tech glass tubes destined to be destroyed as a casualty of their bankruptcy, are used in the installation. The tube’s original role as a light concentrating element is extended to transmit cool air into the space via the Venturi effect, to amplify sounds from the adjacent waterfall via the vibrations of the tubes cantilevering over the creek, and to create distorted views of the garden. The form of the electric blue array evokes Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where shadows, light and sounds can call reality into question.”


Responses from Readers:

Peter A’Hearn:  Rush hour in little blue circle land.

Full image:



CSTA Member Katherine Schenkelberg Awarded 2013 Vernier/NSTA Technology Award

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Valerie Joyner

Congratulations to CSTA member and STEM Educator,  Katherine Schenkelberg, of West High School, in Torrance, CA! Katherine was recently awarded one of the 2013 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. An appointed panel of experts selected her for her innovative use of data-collection technology.  “The use of data-collection technology in the classroom helps foster students’ interest in STEM education and provides them with engaging, hands-on opportunities for scientific investigation,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. “For ten years Vernier and NSTA have recognized innovative STEM educators through this award and this year’s winners are no exception – their projects and programs truly utilize the power of data-collection technology as part of the teaching and learning process.” (more…)

Election for CSTA’s Board of Directors 2013-2015 Now In Progress

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Tim Williamson

Members of the California Science Teachers Association are now in the process of voting for qualified CSTA members to fill the seven openings on the CSTA Board of Directors for the 2013-2015 term.

The election is being conducted electronically and opened for voting on April 16, 2013. Voting will close on May 16, 2013.  All CSTA members were sent links to the online ballot. Members for whom we do not have current email addresses or who request a paper ballot have been mailed a ballot and candidate statements. (more…)

Blend, Baby Blend

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Video courtesy of Infinite Thinking Machine www.infinitethinking.org 

Geologic Wonders and Engineering Marvels

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Philip Hudec

Who says a conference has to be all about work?

Join us for the 2013 California Science Education Conference on October 25-27 in Palm Spring to learn, grow, and have a lot of fun.  Workshops and Short Courses will give you the opportunity to collaborate with colleagues and to build your knowledge base, while Field Courses will get you outdoors to investigate all that the beautiful Sonoran desert has to offer. (more…)

The Seven AP Science Practices: Practice Seven

Wednesday, May 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 six science practices can be found in our February issue of eCCSMarch issue of eCCS, and April issue of eCCS. (more…)

Region 3 – Dispelling Myths and Misconceptions Regarding NGSS

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Dean Gilbert

In order to clarify the ambiguities and misconceptions that may exist regarding the document, Next Generation Science Standards, I have developed this simple chart that lists what the NGSS is and is not. (more…)

Celestial Highlights for May 2013

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Robert Victor and Robert D. Miller

May 2013 has some very special sights involving members of our solar system.

(1) Jupiter in W to WNW and Saturn in SE can be seen simultaneously almost 20° above opposite horizons in deep twilight in early May, providing good telescopic views of Jupiter’s cloud belts and Galilean moons, and Saturn’s rings, within a single session. This chance to catch Jupiter and Saturn conveniently in evening twilight occurs before the end of the current school year. Each year from now until Jupiter overtakes Saturn in December 2020, the range of dates for viewing the two giant planets simultaneously in evening twilight will widen, but shift later in the calendar. So, take advantage of this month’s fine opportunity to share views of Jupiter and Saturn with your students! (more…)

Switching Lab Materials Gives 8th Grade Teachers Options

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Lisa Hegdahl

Recently, I was setting up a series of labs for Open House.  I became aware of how many labs have evolved over the years and how I’ve made changes to better suit my teaching situation. For example, I never prepared the Destroying Water Lab because I had only seen it using a huge battery, large beakers, and wires.  After attending a workshop at the California Science Teachers Conference, though, I started preparing the Destroying Water Lab using a small 9V battery, metal thumb tacks, 2 test tubes, and a 3 ounce condiment cup.  This lab has amazed my students every year since. Below, I offer some other lab variations for you to try.  I am sure there are countless other lab material options out there – you can add your favorites to the comment section below this article. (more…)

The Next Generation Science Standards Were Released – What’s Next?

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Laura Henriques

On April 8th, 2013, Achieve released the final version of the Next Generation Science Standards. Last week three in-person and one online town hall meetings took place across the state. These meetings allowed stakeholders to provide input and feedback about the standards to the California Department of Education. The Superintendent’s Science Expert Panel will review all of the input collected via these hearings and provide guidance to the State Superintendent. (more…)

Photo of the Month?

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Have an idea for Photo of the Month?  Submit your photo for a future Photo of the Month.

Please submit your photo via email along with permission to use the photo to admin@cascience.org.  Be sure to include a description of the image in your email.

Click here for answer to last month’s photo

From NGSS to California Standards

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Rick Pomeroy

On April 22nd, the Superintendent of Public Instruction (SPI) convened a Science Experts Panel (SEP) consisting of about 20 teachers, teacher educators, scientists, engineers, and leaders in science education to review the Next Generation Science Standards. The Panel was charged to provide recommendations to the SPI on the content and format for the new California science standards as he prepares his recommendation for the new California science standards to be presented to the State Board of Education in July. (more…)

Region 1 – News and Events

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Join us for Super SIRC (Science in River City) Science Saturday on May 4 from 9 am to 3:30 pm at Sacramento State!  This 1-day science conference is designed to deepen teachers’ understanding of science through hands-on, minds-on labs and activities, connecting the Science Content Standards and Common Core. Attend your choice of three breakout sessions from a set of grade level and subject-specific workshops. Breakfast and lunch is provided, and professional development hours are available.  SIRC (Science in the River City) is hosted by the Sacramento Area Science Project and the Center for Mathematics and Science Education at Sacramento State. To register or learn more, visit www.csus.edu/mase/sircsaturday.htm or email Debbie Dennick at debbie@csus.edu. (more…)

Consider Nominating a Colleague for a CSTA Award!

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Laura Henriques

CSTA has two different awards that honor individuals. The CSTA Future Science Teacher Award recognizes promising college students with potential to be an outstanding science educator. (more…)

It’s That Time of Year Again

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Eric Lewis

“It’s just that time of the year again.”  I hear that all the time as I travel from school to school and from teacher to teacher.  Between state testing, APs, finals and projects, teachers and students alike are moving at a swifter pace than all year.  My experience is that this pace is only going to continue into the summer and next year.  I hope that folks will all find interesting things to do in your area – we’re lucky to have so much great science in our region.  Also, there are many great summer opportunities for work/professional development for us, too.  Of course, many of us just need some time to recharge over the summer – enjoying family, traveling and reading the stack of books that built up over the school year.  I do hope that you all have a great end-of-year and fantastic summer vacation. (more…)

Time for Practices

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Pete A’Hearn

This is a strange time for those of us who have been following the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) closely.  We are excited and ready to dive in, but there is still a period of public comment and then the California Board of Education won’t make a final decision about adoption until November. Assuming that happens, it will be a few years before there is a California State Framework and assessment plan in place. In the meantime we are still being held accountable for the California State Standards, the CST test this year, and maybe next year. So what do we do now? (more…)

Teaching and Learning Science through Writing

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Amanda Smith

Writing is a powerful, effective tool to help students learn and understand science. When students write for you, their teacher, their explanations often lack clarity and precision because they realize you already know and understand the content matter.  But when their target audience knows nothing about the content matter, the student’s explanation must be much more thorough and clearly written. Consequently, a great way to get your students to learn actively and improve their writing, too, is to have them write about a specific science concept and choose a “layperson” intended audience such as a parent, friend, or sibling.  Sometimes I ask my students to write as someone or something else, such as the journey of a single blood cell through the circulatory system from the perspective of the blood cell.   Students often enjoy choosing their own format for writing, so even though you give them the topic, consider allowing them to choose whether they want to write an essay, letter, poem, or comic strip with illustrations. This provides the teacher with a fun group of assignments to read and grade, and gives students a chance to truly showcase their interests and talents while deepening their understanding of science in the process. (more…)

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