January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Celestial Highlights for September-October and School Year 2013-2014

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Robert Victor and Robert D. Miller

Astronomy instruction for elementary and secondary students should not fail to include the inspiration of direct observation of the night sky. Among the common visually impressive events are monthly pairings of Venus and the crescent Moon. While Venus is still visible in the evening sky this school year, Venus-Moon pairings will occur at dusk on 2013 Sept. 8, Oct. 7 and 8, Nov. 6, Dec.5, and on 2014 Jan. 1 and 2. Of these, the pairing on Sunday, September 8 will be the closest, and the Moon will even help the observer spot Venus as they move together across the daytime sky. (more…)

Workshop Schedule and Conference Registration Brochure Available Online

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

The official registration brochure for the 2013 California Science Education Conference is now available online and available for download (print versions will be in the mail very soon). CSTA has also posted the workshop schedule for the conference via our online program book. This online program book allows you to search, filter, and drill down to find workshops and other conference sessions that meet certain criteria. For example, you can view all conference sessions in the life science track, or conference sessions that address Next Generation Science Standards or Common Core standards. The system also allows you to save the workshops and conference sessions that you are interested in to your own personal schedule, in fact 42 people have already done so! Log-on today to get started on planning your conference experience.


The advanced registration cut off date for the conference is October 7, so please visit the conference registration site for information on how to register for this year’s event. Did you know that school districts in California will receive $1.25 billion dollars in 2013/2014 and 2014/2015 to help them implement Common Core State Standards (CCSS)? These one-time funds can be used for teacher professional development for those teachers directly involved in instruction of CCSS AND NGSS. Please visit CDE’s webpage for information regarding this funding including FAQs.

Elementary Science Can Glue It All Together!

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Bethany Dixon

Elementary students use a lot of glue. Cutting and pasting develops fine motor skills as well as providing opportunities to assessment learning in the primary grades. Even in my fourth grade classroom, we frequently used glue outside of art to put our ideas together into graphic organizers. Consider, then, the following analogy. Time and funding for science in elementary education have been cut repeatedly. However, what if science didn’t take additional time but instead gave context to your current class work in other subjects? What if science could be the curricular glue that helps elementary students to transition from math and reading into writing and back again? (more…)

Book Review: Success in Science Through Dialogue, Reading, and Writing

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Judy Sovel

Don’t let the title fool you…this book is not just for science teachers.  If you are an elementary or secondary teacher wondering how to build literacy using Common Core strategies, this book is an absolute necessity in your library. (more…)

Back to School with NGSS

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Peter A’Hearn

Collecting data on mealworm habitat preference.

Collecting data on mealworm habitat preference.

This month the theme for California Classroom Science is  “Back to School.” But what about the standards you are teaching as you return to your classroom this fall?  We are still responsible for the 1998 California Science Standards, while we are also expected to start addressing the Common Core in English and Math and many of us are already anticipating the Next Generation Science Standards  (NGSS) and the changes in science learning that they will create.


Where Am I?

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by David Pummill

  • This geographic location has a land area of over 61,000 square miles–more than one-third the size of the state of California and larger than 30 of the 50 United States.
  • If this area were a state, with over five million residents, it would rank 20th amongst the 50 United States in population. (more…)

What Is Engineering?

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Video Courtesy of UoN FEBE

Grant & Award Opportunities

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Laura Henriques

We’ve all heard the lottery-advertising slogan “You got to be in it to win it!” While I am not an advocate of buying lottery tickets, I can’t argue with their slogan, particularly when it comes to applying for grants and awards. There are numerous opportunities for teachers (and students) but some awards and grants are not given away for lack of eligible applicants. (more…)

Middle School Matters

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Jill Grace

Welcome back middle school science teachers! I hope you had a nice relaxing summer.  Although, come to think of it, most teachers I know spend their whole summer working, taking classes, revamping content, figuring out how to squeeze in that Common Core thing… the list goes on.  Personally, I find “summer” to be an illusion to get me through the school year, but at least that works well enough to help me muster up the strength to teach all of our excitable, distracted, goofy, and hormonal quasi-teens.  (more…)

Tapping All of Your Resources

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Gregory Potter

Like many new teachers, you want to be that special teacher for your students.  You want to be the teacher that every student remembers and enjoys and most importantly, learns a great deal from.  As you look forward to your future career, you begin to ask yourself, “How am I going to make this happen?”  While I have no doubt that you have the passion and desire to be the best teacher you can be, it is vital that also you tap all of the resources that are available to you.  (more…)

Interview with Aaron Gilbert, Program Director at Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT)

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Eric Lewis

I was recently able to catch up with Aaron Gilbert from Bay Area Wilderness Training (BAWT) to find out more about his organization.

Eric: Tell us about Bay Area Wilderness Training.

Aaron: Our mission is to create opportunities for urban you to connect with nature first hand. To achieve this goal we utilize a train-the-trainer model, and since 1999 we have provided outdoor leadership training for over 1,200 teachers and youth workers. (more…)

Announcement: Photo of the Month Competition

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Carolyn Holcroft

Are you or your students great at taking photos? Interested in having one of your shots featured on the eCCS homepage in a future issue? If so, please consider submitting a unique science photo for consideration for our “Photo of the Month” feature! The goal of this is to showcase a photo of something science-related from a unique or unusual perspective, in order to entice readers to have fun guessing what it might be. The answer is later revealed in the following month’s issue. To get an idea of photos that have been featured in past issues, click here. If your photo is used, you will receive the photo credit right on the front page of the eCCS! To submit a photo or for more information, email Carolyn Holcroft at holcroftcarolyn@foothill.edu. (more…)

Achieve Endorses California SEP Learning Progression Model for Middle School

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Achieve has updated Appendix K – Model Course Mapping in Middle and High School of the Next Generation Science Standards to include the model developed by California’s Science Expert Panel (see pages 20-21). This model is now available to all other states to consider as an option for the arrangement of the middle school standards. (more…)

Getting to Know You: Start the Year by Knowing Your Learners

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by:  Frederick Nelson

One of the organizing frameworks that guide the practice of National Board Certified Teachers is the Architecture of Accomplished Teaching. The foundation of this graphic, and the first step in constructing meaningful learning experiences, is an exploration of the questions, “Who are your students? Where are they now? What do they need and in what order do they need it? Where should I begin?” Only after we have some answers to these questions can we begin setting high, worthwhile goals and designing appropriate and engaging learning experiences. (more…)

Density Lesson

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Jeff Orlinsky

Chemistry and physical science teachers, here is a lesson on density.  It can be used with grades 10 to 12, but with some modifications it may also work with 8th or 9th grade.  This is a modification of a lab from West Catholic High School Archdiocese of Philadelphia, with references from Kenneth E. Kolb and Doris K. Kolb, Bradley University, Peoria, IL 61625 Journal of Chemical Education.

Grades: 10 – 12

Subjects: Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Physics, Physical Science, Environmental Science (more…)

NanoSpace Offers Teachers Fun, Interactive Games Designed to Increase Science Literacy

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Patrice Harris

World-renowned professors and scientists from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, creators of The Molecularium® Project, have launched NanoSpace. This new website is designed to teach kids about the nanoscale world of atoms and molecules. Teachers will find that the virtual scientific amusement park offers them fun activities and games they can incorporate in the classroom. (more…)

News and Events for September 2013

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Eric Lewis

Welcome back to your new school year. I hope that you can take advantage of some of the great opportunities in science in our region!

I do hope that I’ll get to see you at this year’s California Science Education Conference in Palm Springs in October. Please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings. (more…)

Welcome Back!

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

by Laura Henriques

I love the start of a new school year! While I have yet to start a year without wishing for just one more week before school starts, I am always eager to get back into the classroom to be with the students. I’ve worked in elementary, middle, secondary and post-secondary classrooms and it’s the kids that keep me going. They challenge me to be a better teacher and a better person as I endeavor to help them develop into the best versions of themselves. What a great responsibility and awesome opportunity we have each year! (more…)

CSTA’s Response to the State Board of Education Regarding NGSS Adoption

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

On Wednesday, September 4, 2013 the California State Board of Education (SBE) will meet and consider the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards as proposed by Superintendent Torlakson on June 28, 2013. (For those not able to attend the meeting in person, the meeting can be viewed online. The adoption of NGSS is Item #10 and is anticipated to be heard after lunch.) The SBE does not have to vote on adoption at this meeting, it has until November 30, 2013 to make a decision. At its July meeting, the board decided to delay adoption of the standards in order to allow for more input from educators and other stakeholders. In that time, CSTA has participated in/or helped to organize three meetings to gather input from science teachers regarding the proposed NGSS. (more…)

Join Us For Recycle-Bowl and America Recycles Day 2013

Sunday, September 1st, 2013

Are you looking for a fun and creative way to increase school recycling participation in your community? Keep America Beautiful‘s, third annual, “Recycle-Bowl,” is a comprehensive nationwide recycling competition for elementary, middle and high-school students. Public, private and charter schools are eligible. Registration is now open on the Recycle-Bowl website at http://recycle-bowl.org. The first 1,000 schools to register will receive a Recycle-Bowl coordinator toolkit. The competition runs from October 21 through November 15, culminating on America Recycles Day. Participating schools will track and report how much recyclable material they collect for a chance to win prizes.  (more…)

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