September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Journalists of the Sea King News Bring You Technology, Engineering, and Science!

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

7th graders Siena O’Regan and Mehak Dedmari interview 8th grade STEM student Ryan Bloodgood.

7th graders Siena O’Regan and Mehak Dedmari interview 8th grade STEM student Ryan Bloodgood.

Journalists from the Sea King News at Palos Verdes Intermediate School (PVPUSD, Los Angeles County) have been hard at work.  They have stepped up to do a special report for CSTA!  Check out their video broadcast, highlighting how their school uses technology and engineering to help students understand math and science.  Under the spotlight in this episode is the school’s STEM program, a series of very popular elective classes.  See why students love this program so much, how it helps them bridge understanding in their other classes, and how students recognize the impact it will have on their future. (more…)

LCFF and LCAP: Tools to Help Move Science Education Forward

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

I think it’s safe to say that CSTA members recognize that the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are California’s current science standards. As I travel around the state I find that not everyone is as informed as you are! In case you want to forward this article to some less informed colleagues, allow me to recap.

NGSS were unanimously adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) in September 2013. In November 2013 the State Board of Education voted unanimously (with one abstention) to adopt the CA NGSS Integrated Model for 6-8 (as developed by the CA Science Expert Panel) as the SPI/ SBE’s preferred model for middle grades science instruction in California. To provide for local option, the Board also requested that the California Department of Education provide an alternate discipline specific model for grades 6-8. This model will be presented to the SBE in spring.

The Board’s intent in the November action was for there to be one Integrated NGSS Model in California for grades 6-8 (the one preferred by the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Board), and one Discipline Specific NGSS Model in California for grades 6-8, as an alternate local option where needed.

While NGSS will not be fully implemented into our classrooms for a few years, there is a current need for teachers and administrators to start learning about NGSS immediately. This means awareness and learning about the standards for some. For others it means starting to tweak our current practices to incorporate science and engineering practices and cross-cutting concepts. Regardless of where you are on the awareness/implementation spectrum, none of us can wait two or three years to do anything. We need to start now! (more…)

Formative Assessment vs. Checking for Understanding

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Rick Pomeroy

Many teachers claim that they are doing formative assessment when checking for understanding but, unfortunately, this is not always the case. The difference between formative assessment and checking for understanding lies in the purpose of the activity and what is done with the information that is gained in the process. Formative assessment can be one of the most powerful tools in a teacher’s arsenal for improving student understanding when  (more…)

Increasing Technology and Engineering Practices School-wide and in the Science Classroom

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Our science classrooms are in a state of transition as we move closer toward the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and the Common Core Standards.  A major part of this shift is the integration of technology and engineering practices that is infused throughout the new standards.  As part of this change it is vital that we educate students to be proficient and build the 21st century skills they are going to need to be successful. Now is the time for educators to review and refine current instructional practices to ensure proficiency not only in core science content, but also in overarching skills required to be part of a technologically literate society.  (more…)

Synergy of Formal, Informal and Out of School Learning

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

January CSTA’s CCS  was a special issue dedicated to informal science education. Since then there have been a few reports released that highlight model programs that partner across these entities, and a couple of conferences and gatherings addressing the topic. A National Research Council Convocation, STEM is Everywhere, was held in Irvine in mid-February which brought leaders together from across the three worlds of science teaching and learning: formal, informal and out-of-school. (more…)

Students Speak Out About Using iPads in the Classroom

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Prof. Jeff Bradbury, Cristina Flores, and Lily Shen

My original intent was to write an article about how useful iPads are in the chemistry classroom.  Last year my school (Cerritos College) purchased several classroom sets of the devices.  I thought the tools would be useful in helping my students create “digital lab reports” using apps like Explain Everything™ or Educreations™.  There are also some good apps specifically tailored to chemistry content, such as Mols Editor©.  I was going to write this article from my teacher perspective until my good friend Laura said, “Have the students write the article.”  So, I invited students Cristina Flores and Lily Shen to write about their experiences with iPads in their education. I am sure you will agree that students often have a very powerful voice.  (You might even finish reading the article!) (more…)

The “Half Moon” as a Predictor or Reviewer of the Seasons

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Robert Victor

The following statement is true throughout the year: The First Quarter Moon, or half moon at sunset, predicts the Sun’s location three months in the future, and the Last Quarter Moon, or half moon at sunrise, reviews the Sun’s location of three months ago.

For example, during March 2014, the evening half moon at sunset on March 7 and 8 is high in the southern sky, in eastern Taurus in the northernmost part of the zodiac, near where the Sun will appear in June, at the beginning of summer. (more…)

News and Events for March 2014

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Eric Lewis

Clearly there is a lot of movement around STEM these days. STEM fairs, STEM workshops, STEM getting mentioned in every type of professional development for science teachers. However, “STEM education” seems to have different meanings to different people. As science, technology, engineering and mathematics encompasses a pretty broad range of careers, activities and curriculum, it’s not too surprising that people think of STEM education differently based on their personal experience in education, careers, and aspirations.

Regardless, when I see articles in our local paper around getting more young women into coding, see videos of students printing 3-D robots, and notice the proliferation of Maker Faire Events, I get a bit excited. (more…)

Ten Ways Science Projects Benefit Your Students

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Gary Robinson & Heidi Black

If your school’s academic schedule is like most others, you’re likely in the thick of science fair preparations. We’re guessing you and your students are knee-deep in display boards, circuit boards, plant life, and scale models. Not to mention duct tape and Elmer’s.

You don’t have to go far to see that science projects and fairs have become a cultural touchstone for generations of Americans. Hardly a TV season goes by without at least one scene of a mini-volcano exploding (or worse, imploding), a wayward rocket sending students scrambling, or someone mistaking refrigerated leftovers for a science experiment. (more…)

The T in STEM – Technology Management in Science Classrooms

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Lisa Hegdahl

Next Generation of Science Standards, Common Core, and now technology!  Science teachers in California are being asked to incorporate increasingly more components into everyday lessons in order to prepare their students for college and career. Despite the increased demands, with a little preparation, technology can be an engaging way to involve students in the world of Science. (more…)

Highlights and Happenings – March 2014

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Across the region, the month of March is full of science professional development opportunities in anticipation of NGSS implementation, shifts in assessment, STEM education initiatives, infusion of technology into the curriculum and the migration to the Common Core Standards. For those of you in the San Diego that I was able to connect with at the March 1 Science Trek hosted by the San Diego Science Educators Association, it was great to connect with you in person and I hope I will see you at future events. I encourage all educators in region 4 to take advantage of these opportunities for professional growth and learning.

Teachers in Riverside County interested in implementing Common Core literacy standards in the elementary science setting will want to attend a one-day workshop hosted by the Riverside County Office of Education on March 12th(more…)

Celestial Highlights for March 2014

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Robert Victor and Robert D. Miller

Evening Standouts: Jupiter, Sirius, and (for Southern California) Canopus; Mars, brightening, rises into early evening view –  Venus and Mars rule the dawn.

March 2014 at dusk For monthly evening and morning twilight sky maps for northern California (exact for lat. 40° N), activities and videos on changing visibility of stars and planets, and a preview of Comet Halley’s next appearance in 2061, visit www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/msta/ (more…)

NGSS Science Framework Committee Recruitment has begun – Deadline to apply is April 16, 2014, 3:00 PM

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

The California Department of Education (CDE) and the State Board of Education (SBE) are pleased to announce that they are recruiting applicants for the Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC) to assist with the revision of the Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (Science Framework). The Science Framework will incorporate and support the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (CA–NGSS), that were adopted by the SBE in September 2013. Curriculum frameworks provide guidance to teachers, administrators, and parents on how a standards-based curriculum is implemented in the classroom. Applications will be accepted until April 16, 2014 at 3 p.m. The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) will submit a list of recommended applicants to the SBE for appointment in May of 2014. Click here to access the online application.

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