January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

SB 300 and AB 484 Pass from Education Committees to Appropriations

Friday, June 28th, 2013

by Jessica L. Sawko

On June 26, two important bills were passed through the Senate and Assembly Education Committees. SB 300 (Hancock) which will allow for work on a new science curriculum framework based on the new science standards (anticipated adoption November 30, 2013, or sooner) to be completed by November 30, 2015. Without this bill work would not be able to even begin on the curriculum framework until July 1, 2015 – nearly two years after the adoption of new standards. The billed passed the education committee with ease. CSTA thanks Senator Hancock’s office for involving CSTA in the process and we look forward to seeing this bill through to the end. (more…)

Seeking Members for IQC Appointment Recommendation

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is the opportunity to be recommended by CSTA to serve on important state-level committees. One such opportunity is now available. CSTA is seeking science teachers to recommend for service on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC), formerly the Curriculum Commission. This committee is charged with writing the curriculum frameworks for the Common Core ELA and math standards and will be tasked with developing the framework for the new science standards (once adopted). Members of the Commission serve without compensation, except that they receive their actual and necessary travel expenses in attending Commission meetings and participating in other Commission activities (airfare, lodging, meals, shuttle service, mileage, parking). No funding is provided for substitute teaching or administrative personnel; each applicant employed by a local education agency must obtain the agency’s acknowledgement of the application and the agency’s agreement to absorb any costs for substitute personnel.

CSTA is seeking a member science educator with experience with integrating literacy and math skills into science instruction. A familiarity with the Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards is preferred. If you meet these qualifications and would like to have your name considered, please contact CSTA at csta@cascience.org or 916-979-7004. Please include a copy of your resume and/or a description of your qualifications.

State Library’s “Women in STEM” Calendar for June Is Now Online

Friday, June 7th, 2013

The California State Library invites you to view our online June calendar that highlights four women who have achieved success in STEM-related fields in California.  These women and their accomplishments have helped pave the way for future generations.

PetersonOne such woman is Hattie Scott Peterson, an African American civil engineer who became the first female engineer for the Sacramento district of the Army Corps of Engineers in 1954. She started with the Corps at a time when cultural diversity in the workplace was not common. Her work ethic and personal integrity helped her to overcome the challenges she faced. In the late 1940s she was reputed to be the only female African American civil engineer in the United States.

This monthly calendar is a joint effort of the State Library, California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, and the California Department of Education.

View the calendar here: http://www.library.ca.gov/calhist/calendar6-1.html?utm_source=csl0613

You Are Invited to Participate in an Online Survey Regarding Possible Changes to the High School Academic Performance Index:

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

In response to state legislation, the California Department Education (CDE) currently is developing new indicators to include in the high school Academic Performance Index (API).

To help with this important task, the CDE invites administrators, teachers, parents or guardians, students, school board members, educational organizations, community members, and business leaders to take an online survey located on the CDE API Web page at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ap/.

CSTA encourages you to take about 20 minutes to complete the survey and let CDE know the vital role that science takes in preparing students for college and career and how achievement in science should be given a high value in the proposed College and Career Readiness Indicator. The survey closes June 20, 2013 – please act today. Please encourage your colleagues, students, parents of students, and administrators to complete the survey as well.

For more information about revisions to the API, including the proposed College and Career Readiness Indicator, please view the video that was prepared by CDE staff as background material for the survey.

Comparing AP Science Practices, Common Core State Standards, and NGSS Science and Engineering Practices

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Bethany Dixon

At NSTA San Antonio and again at the California State Science Fair, I fell into a conversation about connecting NGSS Science and Engineering Practices and AP Biology Science Practices 1-7. In the past few years, ideas have converged on what it looks like to “Do Science:” the habits of mind necessary to develop scientific knowledge. This idea isn’t new to science education – scientific skills are still important. Haven’t we seen this before? We called it using the Scientific Method(s), or Levels of Inquiry, or whichever wrapper we’re putting things into… it doesn’t seem like the ideas of what constitute good science have changed. Or have they? (more…)

Summer and Fall Professional Development Opportunities Provided by CSTA and its Chapters

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Lisa Hegdahl

The students are gone, the meetings are over, your classroom is clean – (more…)

Palm Springs – A Natural Attraction

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Tracy Albrecht

Attendees at the 2013 California Science Education Conference will find themselves in the heart of living laboratory. This region of California holds remarkable natural diversity that stimulates exciting connections and science discovery for students. Within only a few miles of the conference headquarters you’ll find a shifting terrain that varies from steep granite mountains to sand dunes, to a huge inland sea. These environments hold a fascinating array of stunning geology and strange plants and animals that showcase examples of adaptation to the Colorado Desert. (more…)

Reconstructing a Fossil Lesson and Lab

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Jeff Orlinksy

This month’s lab focuses on inference and evolution.  I use this activity after our lessons in evolution.  I incorporate this activity after CST testing as well.

Grades: 9th – 12th (more…)

Region 4 – News and Events

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

As the school year winds to an end, teachers around the region are reflecting on classroom practice and preparing for summer relaxation and personal enrichment.  It has been a busy month in region 4, with teacher training for implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and forethought as to curriculum shifts and refinement with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  Here’s a brief summary of what’s been happening in region 4: (more…)

Board Member Elections

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Rick Pomeroy

When I began my term as president in July of 2011, one goal I had was to engage more members in leadership positions in the Association. By actively recruiting members to serve on standing committees, conference planning committees and as attendees at the myriad non-association meetings such as the NGSS reviews, legislative hearings, etc. I feel that we have a start but there is still a long way to go to engage more members in the vision and work of CSTA. (more…)

Region 1 – News and Events

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Valerie Joyner

Congratulations on finishing another year filled with science for all of your students!  I am sure your year has been full of excitement, frustrations, and possibilities. Whether you teach in the remote high desert of Modoc County, a large urban setting like Sacramento, or the rocky coast of Humboldt County I know you have given your students your best. This year you have seen drafts and final versions of NGSS, responded to state mandates, worked hard to implement the new Science Framework, and all while working with our students to see that they succeed.  I know how difficult it is to teach in these times, as the school year comes to an end and we head into summer it is a time for some much deserved rest.  Enjoy your summer!  Take time to reflect on this year and look forward to new students and classes in the fall!

Coming Events: (more…)

Content Standards: Common Core and NGSS – A High School Teacher’s Perspective

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Jeff Orlinsky

In 1997 I attended the open hearings of the California Content Standards in Science.  The hearings were about developing the standards that would be used as part of the student assessment system.  I would venture a guess that at that time, no one would have anticipated how the panel’s decisions would impact curriculum and instruction in the science classroom.  This article is not about the debate or the benefits of standards, it is about the current changes occurring in science education, and how you as a CSTA member and a science classroom teacher, need to be an active participant, not a bystander. (more…)

Celestial Highlights for June 2013

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Robert Victor and Robert D. Miller

In evening twilight in June 2013, the brilliant evening “star” Venus gleams very low in the west-northwest, while Mercury lingers nearby during the first three weeks. Saturn glows yellowish and steadily well up in the south-southeast to south, contrasting with the twinkling blue-white star Spica just 13° to 12° to Saturn’s west (right).

On our evening all-sky chart, planets are plotted for each day when the Sun has sunk to 9° below the horizon, which we call “mid-twilight”. We have chosen that time, because we have found that by then, planets and stars of first magnitude or brighter are easily visible to the unaided eye, except those of lesser brightness low in the western twilight glow. In June, from Palm Springs, Los Angeles and other places near lat. 34° N, it takes until 46-47 minutes after sunset to reach mid-twilight. From northernmost California (lat. 42° N) this month, it takes about 9 minutes longer for the sky brightness to diminish to the same level. (more…)

Free Planetary Science Workshop for Middle School Science Teachers and Curriculum Specialists

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

Thanks to some available funding, a small number of teachers can be invited to attend a 4-day workshop on planetary science at the Lawrence Hall of Science July 16 – 19 without having to pay the $225 regular fee.  (more…)

Getting Started On Engineering

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

by Pete A’Hearn

One of the biggest concerns I have heard about the NGSS is that elementary teachers are not well prepared to teach the science standards and are especially concerned about the addition of engineering. So, I was happy this week to visit several classrooms at Vista Del Monte elementary school where elementary teachers were diving into engineering big time.

Second grade teachers Dena Azzolin and Debbie Gordon at Vista Del Monte were preparing their students to build bridges. To start, they tested a few bridge designs to learn what works and what doesn’t work.  They were reading the story, “Three Little Pigs,” with an emphasis on how different forces were used in the story. Kids were talking about which forces were involved in a bridge – the supports exert an upward force and the load exerts a downward force.  (more…)

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