September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

CSTA Endorses March for Science

Monday, March 27th, 2017

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) stands with our science and science education colleagues in endorsing the March For Science and its associated activities.

The decision by the CSTA Board of Directors to support the March for Science was based on the understanding that this is an opportunity to advocate for our mission of high quality science education for all and to advance the idea that science has application to everyday life, is a vehicle for lifelong learning, and the scientific enterprise expands our knowledge of the world around us. The principles and goals of the March for Science parallel those of CSTA to assume a leadership role in solidarity with our colleagues in science and science education and create an understanding of the value of science in the greater community. CSTA believes that the integrity of the nature of science and that the work of scientists and science educators should be valued and supported. We encourage your participation to stand with us.

There are over 30 satellite marches planned for the April 22, 2017 March for Science in California (to find a march near you, click on “marches” in the upper right of the main page, select “satellite marches” and use the search feature). We encourage members who participate in the March for Science to share their involvement and promotion of science and science education. Feel free to promote CSTA on your signs and banners. For those on social media, you may share your involvement via Twitter, @cascience and our Facebook groups.

California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.

For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

Call for CSTA Awards Nominations

Monday, March 13th, 2017

The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. (more…)

Call for Volunteers – CSTA Committees

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Volunteer

CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: (more…)

A Friend in CA Science Education Now at CSTA Region 1 Science Center

Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. (more…)

Learning to Teach in 3D

Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Joseph Calmer

Probably like you, NGSS has been at the forefront of many department meetings, lunch conversations, and solitary lesson planning sessions. Despite reading the original NRC Framework, the Ca Draft Frameworks, and many CSTA writings, I am still left with the question: “what does it actually mean for my classroom?”

I had an eye-opening experience that helped me with that question. It came out of a conversation that I had with a student teacher. It turns out that I’ve found the secret to learning how to teach with NGSS: I need to engage in dialogue about teaching with novice teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching science in some capacity for 12 years. During that time pedagogy and student learning become sort of a “hidden curriculum.” It is difficult to plan a lesson for the hidden curriculum; the best way is to just have two or more professionals talk and see what emerges. I was surprised it took me so long to realize this epiphany. (more…)

The How (and Why) of Science Notebooking in the Classroom

Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Clea Matson

“The science notebooks get all the students involved and interested in science. Whether they like to write, or like to draw, or like asking questions, there is an entry point for all of them.” – Erica, 5th Grade teacher, San Francisco

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) ask teachers and students to spend more time thinking and working like scientists. As Karen Cerwin mentioned in her article posted in August, 2016, notebooks are a tool that scientists use to record, reason, and share ideas. From her perspective as Regional Director for K-12 Alliance, Cerwin identifies ways in which science notebooks can be powerful tools for sense-making in the elementary classroom. The California Academy of Sciences (CAS) has created an online library of resources called Science Notebook Corner in order to provide support to teachers state and nationwide in making use of these powerful thinking tools. (more…)

Science Abounds at the Los Angeles Environmental Learning Center at Hyperion

Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Shawna Metcalf

CSTA Board of Directors, January 2017

CSTA Board of Directors at Los Angeles Environmental Learning Center @ Hyperion, January 2017

This past January, the CSTA Board of Directors held our Strategic Planning and quarterly board meeting. We were fortunate to have the weekend meeting hosted by the Los Angeles Environmental Learning Center at Hyperion (ELC). Not only did we have a great view of ocean to inspire our work, but we were also able to take multiple tours of the facility and see firsthand what a great resource they are to not only our educational community, but our community as a whole. (more…)

Chapter 1 Will Be Re-Written

Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Pete A’Hearn

“With NGSS, every science textbook will have to re-write chapter 1” – Helen Quinn, Professor emeritus Stanford University and Lead scientist on the development of NGSS

(Seriously has anyone EVER used the Deka prefix?)

(Seriously has anyone EVER used the Deka prefix?)

Like most science teachers, I used to start my year with a unit on measurement and a unit on the scientific method. When my students tried to measure things they weren’t very precise and also didn’t really know how the metric system worked. Starting with the scientific method seemed like a good foundation for the rest of the year. Year after year we worked on measurement. We used this fun little metric staircase. I would arrange different sized chairs and step stools so I could walk up and down the ladder! (more…)

Science Assessments: Are You Ready?

Monday, March 13th, 2017

From the CAASPP Update from the California Department of Education:

March 20—the opening of the CAASPP science administration—is just around the corner! Are you ready? Here are a few resources and reminders for you as you prepare to administer the pilot California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science and the pilot California Science Test (CAST). The high school grade-level assignment for the pilot CAST and the pilot CAA for Science can be confirmed by checking the assignment link on the CAASPP Portal CAST Web page. For more on the pilot assessment see New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Resources for the CAST administration: 

  • A new posting of the “Quick Reference Guide—How to Start a Training Test,” for science and a new letter template for informing parents and guardians about the CAST training test is available on the California Department of Education (CDE) Web site. From the CDE CAASPP Web page, go to the Coordinators & Administrators tab, and you will find a link to these new resources!

(more…)

Science Helps Build Language for All: An Early Implementer Perspective

Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Dave Tupper and Cecelia Ochoa

A fundamental principle in the CA Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS) is that students must use the three dimensions to understand and begin to explain specific phenomena and that the phenomena drive the science (CA Science Framework). If this is our goal, it becomes clear very quickly that the process of “figuring out” the phenomenon, developing understanding, and then sharing that new learning, is going to require language. (more…)

Don’t Wait to Communicate About NGSS: Tools Available NOW!

Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Lisa Hegdahl

With the adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) by the California State Board of Education in Fall 2013, teachers in districts across California have been gradually introducing the Standards to their classrooms. Starting with just a few pioneers, now increasing to an ever larger population of science educators ready to implement phenomenon-based, 3-dimensional science. For many, the success of implementation will depend on communicating the value and intention of NGSS effectively and strategically to a variety of audiences.

Early on, leaders in California science education realized the need for quality, field tested, ready-to-use messages to help education stakeholders reach out to their audiences.  In 2016, the CDE Foundation, Children Now, and the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) with support of partner organizations, prepared a communications toolkit. The messages within the toolkit are grouped by target audiences and stakeholders are encouraged to modify the messages as needed for their unique circumstances. Each audience has a Core Message, Talking Points, and Fact Sheet as well as additional, targeted resources. Messages themselves are tagged as Top-Tier and Mid-Tier indicating how they resonated with audiences during field tests. (more…)

Connect with CSTA at the NSTA Los Angeles Conference

Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

la2017_logo_235x235

It is not too late to register and join me at the NSTA Conference in Los Angeles! Over 10,000 science educators from across the country are expected to arrive in Los Angeles at the end of the month to participate in the largest science education conference in the United States. CSTA and many of our members will be in attendance. Members will be presenting workshops, professional learning institutes, featured presentations, and attending several of more than 1,000 events that will take place during the March 30-April 2, 2017 event. (more…)

Equity and Access for All Students

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Reprinted, with permission and with edits, originally from the book “Navigating the Common Core with English Language Learners” by Larry Ferlazzo. Chapter 9 (page 315), on Science, was written by Laura Prival, Diana Vélez, Claudio Vargas, and Caleb Cheung 

As many states shift science instruction towards the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), it is imperative that educators look closely at whether equitable opportunities to learn and do science are available to all of our students. In Appendix D of the NGSS, “All Standards, All Students,” the writers make the case that these new standards and expectations are intended for every child in each of our classrooms. This means that no student shall be denied the experience of actually doing and learning science. To achieve this, we must teach in equitable ways. This is a central philosophy of the Oakland Unified School District that permeates all of our work, including our participation in the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. (more…)

2017 Call for Workshop Proposals – Last Chance

Sunday, March 12th, 2017

March 20 is the last day to submit a proposal to present a 90-minute workshops at the 2017 California Science Education Conference. Workshops make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop receive 50% off of their registration fees. For more information regarding proposals, and to submit one today, follow the links below.

Workshop Proposal Deadline: March 20, 2017

About the Conference
The 2017 California Science Education Conference will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center, October 13-15, 2017. The conference is expected to draw as many as 2,000 science educators from across California and the western US. We currently have the following keynote and focus speakers lined up for the 2017 conference: Terry Tamminen, Dr. Lisa White, and Cindy Passmore.  We are also working on some fun field trips and evening events!  A Twitter Throwdown scavenger hunt, wine and painting night, the chemistry of beer, a maker space tour and many others are being looked at as possible events during the conference.  We look forward to seeing you in October! (more…)

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