May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

2014 Call for Workshop and Short Course Proposals

Posted: Monday, November 4th, 2013

Long-Beach-Fall-Conf-newIn 2014 CSTA is partnering with the National Science Teachers Association to produce the NSTA Long Beach Area Conference in Collaboration with CSTA! (There will be no California Science Education Conference in October 2014.) The event will be held December 4-6, 2014 at the Long Beach Convention Center. Proposals for workshops and short courses are now being accepted. The deadline for submitting a proposal is January 15, 2014. Visit http://www.nsta.org/conferences/sessions.aspx to get started today.

Conference Strands
The 2014 Long Beach Area Conference is open to all science educators. To help you make the most of the professional development opportunities available at the Long Beach conference, the Conference Committee has planned the conference around three strands that explore hot topics science educators will face in 2014.The conference strands enable you to focus on your specific area of interest or need.
• #NGSS #Implementation
• Science: The Gateway to Common Core State Standards
• STEM Classrooms: Anytime/Anyplace/Anywhere

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I need to be an NSTA member to present?

No, but membership in both CSTA and NSTA are always encouraged and will save you money on registration fees.

What Are the Criteria for Rating Proposals?

The program committee will be looking at the following:

  • Does the proposal clearly describe the session?
  • Is the information provided in the proposal complete?
  • Is the proposed session topic timely/appropriate?
  • Is the proposed session based upon recommended practices?
  • How does the proposed session address the National Science Education Standards?
  • If identified for a particular strand, does the proposed session address the corresponding criteria?

Reviewers will be looking through your whole proposal to check the completeness of the information provided but will focus on your 150-200 word summary to review its content.

TO BE CONSIDERED, SESSION PROPOSALS MUST BE RECEIVED BY THE DEADLINE. Due to space limitations, not all deserving proposals can be accommodated. Reviewers will prioritize proposals based on a balanced program (i.e., science disciplines and teaching levels) as well as the above criteria.

I Submitted My Session Proposal … Now What?

Your session proposal will go to the conference program committee for consideration. Composed of educators of all levels, the committee will review all proposals, determining which to include in the program. NSTA Headquarters will then notify you by mail of the decision regarding your proposal. If your proposal was accepted, you and your co-presenters will each receive a confirmation letter giving the date, time, and place of your scheduled session.

I Received a Confirmation Form. What Should I Do Now?

Read the confirmation form carefully. Your name and affiliation will appear in the program as shown; are they correct? Are the names and affiliations of your co-presenters correct? Did we address your needs for audiovisual equipment correctly? Is your room set-up correct?

Check the facts. Will you be able to be there on the date shown? Are your co-presenters still intending to be there? If all information is correct, please read our safety practices (attached to the e-mail) and reply to our e-mail and answer the safety questions. Remember, only presenters and co-presenters who have indicated compliance with NSTA safety practices can be listed in the final conference program.

If you need a letter to your administrator or supervisor to document your participation as a presenter, please include this information in your e-mail reply.

Can I Cancel a Session?

If you are canceling your session, the Conference Office needs to be informed as soon as possible so that your space can be assigned to someone else. Please e-mail Jo Neville at jneville@nsta.org.

Can I Add or Remove Presenters/Presiders?

If you wish to add or remove a presenter or presider, please e-mail Jo Neville at jneville@nsta.org. Any new presenters will have to submit their names and contact information. They will receive an e-mail confirmation and they must reply to our e-mail and answer the safety questions.

I Did Not Receive a Response to My Proposal—Why Not?

If you did not receive a response either way from NSTA, there may have been a miscommunication or a problem with your e-mail address.

Session confirmation e-mails s are usually sent by mid-May.

If you have not received an e-mail from the NSTA Conference Department by the above dates, please e-mail our database manager Jo Neville at jneville@nsta.org.

How Will My Session Be Listed on the Conference Website and in the Final Conference Program?

Preliminary descriptions of scheduled sessions, including presenters, will be accessible on our website prior to the conference using the conference session browser/personal scheduler.

The final conference program, distributed on-site, reflects the most recent information available as submitted via confirmation e-mails. Presenters and co-presenters who do not send an e-mail reply to their session confirmation e-mail, will not be listed in the final printed program.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.