September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Your Chance to Review the California Science Curriculum Framework Is Here

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

Updated with additional review events January 11, 2016.

The California Science Curriculum Framework & Evaluation Criteria document is now ready for its first 60 Day Public Feedback period.! This is a critical process for the review and vetting of the document. Anyone from around the state is invited to read the document and provide feedback. CSTA encourages its members to participate in this process.

Just to be clear, the California Curriculum Framework is different from the NRC Framework for K-12 Science Education. The NRC Framework is the document which guided the development of Next Generation Science Standards. The California Curriculum Framework is the document which will help us make sense of those standards in our classrooms. (more…)

Want your students to have an experiment on the International Space Station?

Saturday, November 14th, 2015

Announcing the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Twelfth Flight Opportunity – SSEP Mission 10 to the International Space Station, Starting February 22, 2016.

Summary: opportunity for a school district, even an individual large school, to engage typically 300 (grade 5-12) students in real microgravity experiment design (design of experiments for a ‘weightless’ environment) with one experiment in each participating district selected to fly to the International Space Station (ISS). SSEP provides STEM Project-Based Learning through immersion
in an authentic research experience.

Inquiry Deadline: December 11, 2015
Contact: Dr. Jeff Goldstein, 301-395-0770, jeffgoldstein@ncesse.org
More Information

Call for Nominations for the 2016-2018 CSTA Board of Directors

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There is a time and energy commitment, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interesting in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. (more…)

Middle School Madness Part 2: Integrated Science Versus Coordinated Science

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

by Robert Sherriff

In my last article, I compared the integrated versus discipline-specific models of teaching science in middle school. In this article, I seek to dispel some misconceptions and refine the comparison of an integrated science program with a coordinated science program.

This past summer, I was honored to participate in presenting at the two Northern California NGSS Early Implementation Institutes. I was part of a science content cadre to which I brought both my 25 years of middle school teaching experience and my knowledge of NGSS (I was on the State Science Expert Panel and was Co-chair of the Curriculum Framework Criteria Committee – CFCC). Other members of the cadre included Bob Rumer, an innovative engineering professor who helped us incorporate the Engineering Standards, and an outstanding high school science teacher, Lesley Gates, who helped provide activities and pedagogy. (more…)

The Tree Room: A New Online Resource for Teaching Evolutionary Relationships

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

by Anna Thanukos, Teresa MacDonald, David Heiser, and Robert Ross

Understanding evolutionary trees is important for students because trees visually represent the idea that all life is genealogically linked. This powerful idea, tied to Next Generation Science Standards MS-LS4-2 and HS-LS4-1, is one of those most fundamental concepts that biological evolution offers to explain the biological world. The implication is that any set of species, no matter how distantly related, share common ancestors at some point in evolutionary history. Evolutionary trees are an efficient way to communicate that idea. It turns out, however, that evolutionary trees are not quite as straightforward to interpret as they may at first appear — so where can a teacher turn for a user-friendly introduction to their use in the classroom? (more…)

Ship That Chip: Teaching Engineering by Using Snacks

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

by Joanne Michael

When a new school year begins, almost every student (and teacher) is excited, motivated, and ready to work hard. Almost as quickly as it began, however, the “newness” of the school year wears off, and the students are in need of something new to recharge them. At the same time, teachers attempting to implement NGSS (even if not in full implementation mode) are getting tired, and may need a pick-me-up of their own. Enter the “Ship the Chip” challenge! (more…)

Engaging Students in the Classroom, Field, and Beyond: The Role of Multimedia in Citizen Science

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

by Emily Gottlieb and Monika Krach

“Isn’t it amazing how the position of the sun and the moon in the universe can affect the lives of little creatures like these sand crabs?” narrates one high school student in a self-directed and produced video entitled, “What the Ocean Means to Us.” The students who created this video participated in a citizen science program called LiMPETS, Long Term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students. Last school year, LiMPETS began to incorporate multimedia projects to enhance students’ citizen science experience. LiMPETS now uses a suite of multimedia tools to train students and teachers before they go out into the field. After their field experience, blogging, video projects and scientific posters encourage students to think critically about their experience in order to communicate it. This is all part of LiMPETS larger effort to support classroom science. As students engage authentically with science through research and multimedia communication, they become empowered as young scientists and environmental stewards. (more…)

Using Phase Changes to Remove Contaminants from Water

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

by Ellen Raco

Water, water, everywhere…nor any drop to drink!

(adapted from Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1798)

Most of our communities provide us easy and safe access to water. We can easily grab it off of the shelf of a store or turn on the faucet and there it is – perfectly perfect water. The idea that water can contain contaminants and/or pathogens and that it is a limited resource is a new concept for our students. Teachers recently grappled with this timely real world phenomenon and the ways they might help their students wrap their heads around possible solutions. (more…)

On Using Media As a Means to Get Students Future-Ready or Intermediality in the Classroom

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

by Joseph Calmer

I recently stumbled onto the word “intermediality.” I have never seen this word before, so I did what all our students do now, I Googled it. The outputs were primarily art-based in nature. Intermediality seems to refer to the use of various media types in an art project or performance. I figured I practice this in my classroom. Great, there is a name for it now. (more…)

RAFT Collaborates With New Teacher Center on Science-Focused Professional Development Program for Bay Area Teachers

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Texas Instruments and Tech CU Support new Middle School NGSS Leadership Alliance Program

Resource Area for Teaching (RAFT) has partnered with New Teacher Center (NTC) to strengthen science education in the Bay Area by creating a professional development program for lead teachers in the Evergreen, Franklin-McKinley, Mt. Pleasant, and Oak Grove School Districts, all part of San Jose’s East Side Alliance.

This new Middle School Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Leadership Alliance program will support 25 middle-school science “Teacher Leaders” in strengthening their leadership skills and building their confidence in using hands-on learning in science classrooms. (more…)

Multimedia for Science Education

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

by Lisa Hegdahl

In the October 22nd issue of the School Improvement Network’s e-Newsletter, the Educational Strategy of the Week was The Increasing Importance of Technology in the Classroom. The article stated, “Today, with smartphones in every pocket and instant access to knowledge of virtually every kind, information technology is woven into every aspect of our children’s lives. The objective is no longer to teach children how to use the technology, but how to use the technology to best teach children.” (more…)

Free Online PD Opportunity Through Stanford University: Reading to Learn in Science

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

Reading and writing are fundamental to science, yet are rarely a focus of science teacher education. “Reading to Learn in Science” provides an opportunity for K-8 science teachers to learn strategies that support student comprehension before, during, and after reading. Visit www.novoed.com/science-mooc for more information on the course, or serpmedia.org/rtl for more information about the challenges of science texts and strategies to support students’ reading. Course begins January 13, 2016.

Course Description: Why do so many students struggle to read and comprehend scientific texts? Most science teachers have witnessed it at least once: a student reads from a textbook or article, proceeding calmly and clearly from sentence to sentence, only to reach the period at the end of the paragraph with little comprehension of what he or she has just read. (more…)

Major STEM Opp (G5-16) February 2016 – Student Experiments on Int’l Space Station

Thursday, November 12th, 2015

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and the Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education announce Mission 10 to the International Space Station. This STEM education opportunity immerses grade 5-16 students across a community in an authentic, high visibility research experience, where student teams design and propose real microgravity experiments to fly in low Earth orbit on the International Space Station. (more…)

Celestial Highlights for November and Early December 2015

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

by Robert C. Victor; Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller

In evening twilight in the course of November, the Summer Triangle with brightest member blue-white Vega at its northwest corner, drifts slowly from nearly overhead into the high western sky. Meanwhile lonely Fomalhaut, Mouth of the Southern Fish, moves from southeast toward the south. Bright Arcturus departs in west-northwest, making way for almost equally bright Capella rising in northeast. Low in southwest to west-southwest, Saturn and Antares 8 degrees to its left are challenges for binoculars early in month, until their quick departure. Aldebaran, eye of Taurus the Bull, is at opposition to Sun around December 1, so may be seen rising in east-northeast during twilight in late November. (more…)

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