May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

And the Award Goes to…

Posted: Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

CSTA is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2014 Awards! Congratulations to Herbert Brunkhorst, Laurie Gillis, Chevron, and Water Education Foundation/California Project WET. CSTA will present these awards during the annual meeting of members to be held on Thursday, December 4, 2014, 3:15 pm – 4:30 pm, at the Long Beach Convention Center. This event will take place during the 2014 NSTA Long Beach Area Conference on Science Education – in Collaboration with CSTA.

2014 Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award: Herbert Brunkhorst

Herbert Brunkhorst, recipient of the 2014 Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

Herbert Brunkhorst, recipient of the 2014 Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching.

Dr. Herb Brunkhorst has spent his professional life in science education. He started his career in Iowa where he taught high school biology and later worked as a science consultant for the Area Education Agency (comparable to California’s County Offices). After a decade in K-12 education Herb began his graduate education where he ultimately earned a Ph.D. in both science education and biology. At that point, his career shifted to the post-secondary level. He spent the bulk of his teaching career (~25 years) as a faculty member in the CSU system where he taught both science content classes (e.g. biology, bioethics, nature, and history of science) and education courses (e.g. research methods, elementary and secondary science methods classes).

Dr. Brunkhorst is an elected associate of the National Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has written and peer reviewed numerous scholarly journal articles and presented at many conferences and professional meetings. Dr. Brunkhorst was described in the letters of support for his nomination as having a “warm, generous spirit that encourages new science educators to strive to improve science teaching and learning for future generations.”

Dr. Herbert Brunkhorst joins a distinguished list of California educators who have received this award, CSTA’s highest honor.

2014 CSTA Future Science Teacher Award: Laurie Gillis

Laurie Gillis

Laurie Gillis, recipient of the CSTA 2014 Future Science Teacher Award

The CSTA Future Science Teacher Award recognizes college students who demonstrate an interest in and commitment to science education through volunteer, teaching, and professional organization activities and who show promise to become outstanding science educators. Laurie Gillis is one such exemplary person.

Ms. Gillis started life thinking she’d move into nursing but she soon learned that education was her calling. As a credential student at CSU Long Beach, Ms. Gillis proved eager to be involved in activities that supported her growth as a teacher, going above and beyond the credential program’s expectations. In her nomination letter, Ms. Gillis was described as a student who sought out professional learning opportunities beyond those available to her in the classroom. In her personal statement Ms. Gillis shared the following insight into her plans for her teaching future:

Once I am in my own classroom, one of my main goals is to become involved with or establish a program that assists and encourages young ladies to pursue science careers. I was well into my post-baccalaureate courses when a female professor was the first person to tell me I was a “natural” at science and encouraged me to pursue it as a career. It practically changed my identity. It helped me see potential in myself that I had never considered and it opened my mind up to career choices I had never entertained before. I want to give that experience to other young ladies. I want to help young women recognize their own potential in science and feel empowered to pursue it beyond high school.

Congratulations to Laurie Gillis and CSU Long Beach. For a listing of previous award recipients, please click here.

2014 CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award: Chevron and Water Education Foundation/California Project WET

The CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award, honors an organization, institution, or foundation which has made a sustained, significant impact to science education in the state and which, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching and learning. This is a new award for CSTA and 2014 is its inaugural year. Up to two awards in this category can be presented in any given year.

Chevron

Chevron, recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Contributions Award

Chevron, recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Contributions Award

Chevron has been a longtime supporter of science education in California and the nation. Chevron has been a major supporter of CSTA’s California Science Education Conference for several years. Beyond their support of CSTA, though, they have been a major contributor and benefactor to science education efforts in California. Chevron’s El Segundo Refinery recently provided a series of grants totaling $1 million to be distributed among 15 schools in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County. In addition, Chevron has already contributed more than $14 million via Donors Choose for STEM proposals in 10 states, including California (support that goes directly to classrooms). They support teacher grants in states where they have facilities.

Chevron was a major financial supporter of Achieve and the development of Next Generation Science Standards. They continue to support Achieve’s efforts by sponsoring the NGSS Lead State Leadership conference (a contingent from California has participated in these meetings). In addition to providing financial support for the development of NGSS, Chevron officials testified in Sacramento at the State Board of Education meetings in support of NGSS and the adoption of new standards. They continue to be a strong business advocates for STEM education in California. While they certainly have lots to gain by California graduating STEM prepared citizens, they are not passive bystanders, hoping that the state makes good decisions. They write letters, show up to testify, and financially support programs that will positively impact science education in the state (and nation). They are a 100Kin10! partner with a commitment to fund partnerships that prepare, retain, develop, and motivate STEM professionals to effectively engage students in engineering design and to support implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards in the classroom.

Water Education Foundation/California Project WET

Water Education Foundation/California Project WET, recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Contributions Award

Water Education Foundation/California Project WET, recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Contributions Award

Under the guidance of Brian Brown, the state coordinator for California Project WET, the Water Education Foundation has provided an excellent resource for promoting science education in California. The Project WET curriculum guide includes almost 600 pages of detailed lesson plans and background information. On the Water Education Foundation’s website, teachers can find correlations to state science standards and the California Education and the Environment Initiative curriculum, making the guide a useful tool for covering standards in the classroom.

The Water Education Foundation shares the Project WET curriculum with teachers through local workshops. The workshops are designed to introduce this award-winning curriculum through a hands-on experience. The workshops demonstrate how to the use of the materials and make it as easy as possible for teachers to incorporate into their curriculum. The Water Education Foundation works with facilitators throughout the state to coordinate approximately 50-60 workshops per year with over 1,000 classroom teachers and informal educators. The Water Education Foundation works tirelessly to find funding sources to help local facilitators provide free or low cost workshops to educators.

As this is the first year CSTA has awarded the Distinguished Contributions Award there are no past recipients. The nomination period for the 2015 awards cycle will open in January 2015. Only members are allowed to submit nominations. If you are interested in submitting a nomination you are encouraged to renew or maintain your membership in CSTA].

Congratulations once again to Herbert Brunkhorst, Laurie Gillis, Chevron, and Water Education Foundation/California Project WET. We look forward to seeing you in Long Beach in December.

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.

One Response

  1. […] CSTA expresses deep gratitude to Chevron Foundation for their generous support of this event. Chevron is the recipient of the CSTA 2014 Distinguished Contributions Award. […]

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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.