January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

More Than 1,400 Science Educators Prepare to Convene in Sacramento

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

by Deb Farkas

As we get ready to go full steam ahead with implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards and eagerly await the new California Science Framework, there is no better place to be in early October than here in Sacramento, where you will find workshops, speakers, field experiences, short courses and more to inspire and re-energize your teaching. If you are not one of the more than 1,000 teachers to have registered, I invite you to do so today.

Don’t miss opening speaker, Ainissa Ramirez. Author, engineer and science evangelist, Dr. Ramirez will encourage us to ignite the spark of curiosity in all of our students and get them excited about science. Former astronaut José Hernández will close our conference with an account of his journey from migrant farm worker to engineer to mission specialist on the Space Shuttle Discovery, and his work inspiring children to “reach for the stars.” We are also pleased to offer you a variety of highly regarded focus speakers in science and education. Learn about a strength-based approach to early science education, bringing deep sea data to the classroom, ZomBees, engaging students in engineering, and literacy, non-verbal communication patterns and social justice in the science classroom. (more…)

Trying NGSS with Paper Clips and Gummy Worms

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

by Joanne Michael

By now, most teachers have heard of NGSS, know that it is not going away, and have realized they will be teaching this new set of standards within the next few years. While some are excited at the possibility of new happenings, others are terrified at the prospect of having to change curriculum that they have spent years fine-tuning and tweaking. A few districts are implementing NGSS early, working out the kinks and creating guides for the rest of the state, but what about the teachers that want to venture out and try the new curriculum without the support of the entire district? It seems daunting, but there are some ways to ease into the NGSS world. (more…)

High School Teachers – We Need Your Help!

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

CSTA and its partners are trying to get a sense of what high school science looks like across the state. We are interested in knowing how many years of science your district requires for graduation, what the typical course taking patterns are, and a sense of the high school science teaching workforce. If you are in a position to answer these questions please take the survey. If you can’t provide that information we ask that you share this link with your district science leader or other appropriate administrator. It should not take very long to complete (less than 5 minutes) and the information will help CSTA and our partners as we plan NGSS activities and support. Thank you for filling out the survey yourself or for directing it to the appropriate person.

Take Survey

CSTA Honors Rising Stars, Advocates, and Distinguished Contributors to Science Education in 2015

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Legislator of the Year, Future Science Teacher, Honorary Memberships, and the new Bertrand Advocacy Award. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2015 California Science Education Conference on October 2 – 4 in Sacramento. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them! (more…)

Northern Happenings for September–Region 1

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

September already – allow me to add my welcome back wish to the others you are hearing across all 29 counties that make up CSTA Region 1!


CSTA Regions Map

It has certainly been a busy summer with California Science Project events across the region, and lots of activity at Math Science Partnership Grant projects as well. As you come back to class this fall, consider your summer learning, and think about how you might share it at a future CSTA conference! This year you will no doubt be trying out what you learned in your classes. By next spring you will know what you could share with colleagues at the 2016 Science Educators Conference to be held in Palm Springs. It seems a long time from now, but if you have the idea in mind as you teach your students, you can be on the lookout for what would be wonderful to share with other K-12 teachers in California. (more…)

Introducing the California K-8 Next Generation Science Standards Early Implementation Initiative Monthly Series

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

by Kathy DiRanna

Each month, dedicated educators from the California K-8 Next Generation Science Standards Early Implementation Initiative will share stories of their experiences as they dig deeper into the CA NGSS as an effort to help support high-quality science teaching and learning across California and other NGSS-adopted states.

The Early Implementation Initiative is a partnership among the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd, eight school districts, and two charter management organizations: Aspire, Galt Joint Union Elementary School District, High Tech High, Kings Canyon Unified School District, Lakeside Union School District, Oakland Unified School District, Palm Springs Unified School District, San Diego Unified School District, Tracy Unified School District, and Vista Unified School District. The K-12 Alliance provides professional learning opportunities for teachers, administrators, and university faculty in content, pedagogy, and leadership. (more…)

Phenomena Are Jawsome!

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

by Jill Grace

This past August, I worked as part of the Content Cadre for the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd’s California K-8 Next Generation Science Standards Early Implementation Initiative. My partners on the Cadre were Lisa Martin-Hansen (Science Education, California State University, Long Beach) and Ed Price (Physics, California State University, San Marcos) and it was our job to provide adult-level education to our 8th grade Teacher Leaders from five southern districts/charters (High Tech High, Lakeside, Palm Springs, San Diego, and Vista) at the VIDA School in Vista. In the process, we modeled what instruction using the NGSS could look like in their classrooms. (more…)

Board Plans to Align State Accountability System with LCFF Priorities

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

by California State Board of Education

The California State Board of Education (SBE) moved forward its plans to align the state accountability system with educational priorities outlined in the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) legislation.

The legislation that established the state’s new school funding formula laid the foundation for a corresponding new state accountability system by outlining eight broad priorities for student and school success. These priorities include student achievement and engagement, parental involvement, implementation of state standards and school climate. The board is working to shift from an outdated accountability system based solely on test scores to a new system that includes additional state and local measures to assess progress. (more…)

Preservice Teachers: Opportunities for Professional Learning at the CSTA Conference

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

If you work with preservice teachers, we have a great opportunity for you to pass along to them. If you are a preservice teacher, we’ve got a great opportunity for you!

Next month CSTA will be hosting the 2015 California Science Education Conference in Sacramento. The conference will have more than 200 workshops, multiple lectures and keynote speakers, an amazing exhibit hall filled with the latest science equipment, instructional materials, and resources from commercial vendors and informal and non-profit partners. The three day event, October 2-4, includes something for everyone. (more…)

Creating Lessons–NGSS Style

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

by Jeff Orlinsky

As the new school year approaches, it is time to begin thinking about our science lessons. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) require a different approach to lesson planning. It is my goal in this article to show you one way to approach designing a lesson. It is important to know there are other techniques and lesson models that incorporate the NGSS model. I am going to share how I approach designing a lesson using a model developed by Achieve to support NGSS implementation. I used the chart provided to set up my lesson. You could also develop whole units using a similar approach. (more…)

Thunderstorms in Orlando

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Video captured by Jeff Orlinsky, CSTA high school director, while on vacation in Florida this summer.

What is it?

Monday, September 14th, 2015

September Photo of the Month
September Photo of the Month







Submitted by Lisa Hegdahl


What Am I Going to Teach?

Monday, September 14th, 2015

As I write this article, it is the day before I return to my classroom to begin a new school year. Across California, thousands of science teachers are doing the same. Sometime before that first bell rings, we all have to face the question, “What am I going to teach and how am I going to teach it?” As a CA NGSS Early Implementer, I know I will teach the California Next Generation of Science Standards, blending its three dimensions of science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts, and disciplinary core ideas into a learning experience that will help my students construct meaning…at least I will make every attempt to do so. But as I sit down to plan out the details of the first lesson sequence, all that I have learned about NGSS over the past few years stares me right in the face and challenges me to determine how the entirety of all the professional development, research, and collaboration translates into an actual classroom. (more…)

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