January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. (more…)

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. (more…)

Opportunities to Support NGSS Implementation with CTC

Friday, January 13th, 2017

What follows are several opportunities for science teachers to work with the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) on various projects that have direct or indirect implications for the implementation of NGSS in California. Please consider applying to one or more of the following opportunities.

CSET Field Testing Opportunities

Field testing opportunities for future CSET Multiple Subjects and Science tests are available beginning Dec. 5, 2016. Participants will have the choice between a $50 Barnes and Noble eGift Card or a $75 test fee voucher that may be applied to future test registration fees. For more information, including how to register to participate, please visit: http://www.pearsonvue.com/espilot/cset.asp. (more…)

2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

The volunteer/interpreter and judge sign up for the 2017 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair are live online.

Volunteer/Interpreter registration website is live. We have volunteer jobs open starting Thurs, May 11 through Fri, May 19. The greatest need for interpreters is Wed, May 17. https://student.societyforscience.org/volunteers. (more…)

VIP Experience at NSTA National Conference – You Could Be a Winner!

Thursday, January 12th, 2017

Weir-Header

Huge fan of The Martian?!
Space Geek?
Science Fanatic?
Physics and Astronomy Lover?

You’ll be in good company when you’re at the NSTA National Conference listening to keynote speaker, Andy Weir. Here are some highlighted events surrounding Andy and The Martian and there will be much more happening in the Exhibit Hall like the Cargo Drop Challenge (you’ll be able to recreate a scene from the book by designing your own landing mechanism to drop supplies to a landing area!). (more…)

NGSS Rollout #4 Dates Announced – Registration Opens in 2017

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

The next iteration of the NGSS Rollout series of professional learning events written and produced by a collaboration between the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association, California Science Project, K-12 Alliance, and California Science Teachers Association will launch in May 2017 and will focus primarily on the new Science Curriculum Framework. Please mark your calendars for the following dates and locations and stay tuned to your email inbox for a notice when registration opens. (more…)

A Look Back at a Few Highlights of 2016

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

The California Science Education Conference in Palm Springs is now a memory. A huge thanks to Jill Grace, 2016 Conference Chair, her planning committee, CSTA staff, volunteers, presenters, speakers, sponsors, exhibitors, and CSTA members who made this year’s conference a huge success. Heather Wygant, 2017 Conference Chair is working to set up our first planning meeting for next year’s conference in Sacramento, CA. (more…)

California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …?

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

On November 3, 2016, the California State Board of Education (SBE) accepted the recommendation of the California Department of Education (CDE) and the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) to adopt the draft Science Framework for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve (CA Science Framework) with the IQC recommended edits from the second 60-day public review period (a pre-publication version of the Framework with the edits incorporated is expected to be released in the early part of 2017). California science educators have waited for this document since 2013 when the SBE adopted the California Next Generation Science Standards. However, now that the Framework is here, many are not sure how to use it effectively.

While members of the IQC, Science Curriculum Frameworks and Evaluation Criteria Committee (Science CFCC), and many members of the CDE and SBE have read the entire CA Science Framework, few others will read it cover to cover. Understanding the structure of the Framework and its intent will help readers get the most out of the document. (more…)

Apply Now Through Feb. 1 for Edison International’s $1.2 Million Scholarship Program

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

It pays to dream big and Edison International, the parent company of Southern California Edison, through its $1.2 million Edison Scholars Program, is helping high school seniors with a passion for science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) achieve their academic goals.

Each year, Edison International awards $40,000 scholarships, paid over four years, to 30 high school students planning to major in STEM fields at four-year colleges and universities. Scholarship applications are now being accepted through Feb. 1.

Eligible students must live or attend a public or private high school in SCE’s service territory or attend an eligible high school surrounding SCE’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Visit scholarsapply.org/edisonscholars for a list of designated high schools.    (more…)

Science Pilot Tests: High School Grade Assignments Posted

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

From the December 2, 2016 CAASPP Update from the California Department of Education:

All LEAs will administer the pilot versions of the California Science Test (CAST) and California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science as part of the 2016–17 CAASPP administration. The pilots will include an assigned high school grade as well as grades five and eight. The high school grade assignments are now available on the CAASPP Portal High School Grade Assignments for 2016–17 Science Pilot Testing Web page.

Soon, the Test Operations Management System will include science test assignments for all students in grades five and eight and the assigned high school grade. The CAST is the default test assignment for students in grades five and eight and for high school students who are in the assigned grade at their school. The CAA for Science pilot test should be administered to any student in grade five, eight, or the assigned high school grade with an individualized education program that identifies them for alternate assessment and should be assigned to the CAA for Science pilot test. Instructions for assigning tests can be found in the TOMS Pre-Administration Guide for CAASPP Testing linked on the CAASPP Portal Manuals and Instructions Web page.

Questions about high school grade assignments for the science pilots and all other topics regarding the 2016–17 CAASPP administration should be directed to the California Technical Assistance Center by phone at 800-955-2954 or by e-mail at caltac@ets.org.

Defining Scientific Literacy for Informal Science Education

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016

by Martin Smith, Steven Worker, Andrea Ambrose, Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, Kelley Brian, Emily Schoenfelder

Introduction

Scientific literacy is an important educational and societal goal (e.g., AAAS, 1990). Scientific literacy targets socially responsible and competent citizenry in that individuals should be able to participate in and contribute to a society (Hurd, 1998). While there is agreement that advancing scientific literacy among K-12 youth is important, measuring the construct has been problematic since there is no consensus about the meaning or the component parts of what it means to be scientifically literate (DeBoer, 2000). Although “a veritable deluge of definitions” (Roberts, 2007, p. 729) have been developed, historically, most definitions of scientific literacy have focused on generalized knowledge related to major science disciplines, principally content and processes germane to scientists (Roberts, 2007). These “within science” definitions represent a Vision I perspective of scientific literacy (Roberts, 2007). In contrast, a Vision II perspective focuses on situations positioned from the viewpoint of the citizen and concentrates on science-related issues or circumstances individuals may encounter in their lives. (more…)

Win a Trip to NSTA’s National Conference in LA this Spring

Monday, December 12th, 2016

NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education takes place March 30–April 2, 2017, in Los Angeles, California and you can win a free ride from NSTA and Southwest Airlines. Enter today to win one of six prizes (1 first-place winner gets airfare, registration, and hotel accommodations; 2 second-place winners get airfare and registration; and 3 third-place winners get airfare). Contest runs through December 22, and you can share with friends via social media to earn extra entries. Winners will be selected at random and notified via email on December 23—good luck!

CDE Now Hiring for Science Assessment Education Programs Consultant

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

Interested in working at the California Department of Education? Would you like to be a part of developing the new statewide science assessment? Consider one of these two opportunities currently available in CDE’s Assessment Division. The division is currently in the process of great change in its assessment system as it focuses on comprehensive assessment systems that strive to improve teaching and learning in the state.

Science Assessment Education Programs Consultant

CAASPP Office Education Administrator II

NGSS Implementation: A Leap of Reason

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

by Jeff Schmitz

Any transformation in an organization, like a school or a district, can be a painstaking process of professional learning, creating buy-in, and fund sourcing. But the transformation swiftly gains momentum when individuals at the grassroots level begin jumping in with both feet. Our California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative Teacher Leaders in Vista Unified are starting to jump.

The jump is no mere leap of faith; it’s more like a “leap of reason.” Our Early Implementers spent time in the summer immersed in NGSS content and pedagogy under the tutelage of science education gurus from the K-12 Alliance and supporting institutions that include universities and other institutes of higher education. They also will participate in 2-day TLCs (Teaching Learning Collaborative) this academic year, lesson studies where NGSS-aligned lesson sequences are collaboratively planned, delivered, and evaluated for effectiveness. Consequently, Early Implementer teachers are developing a deeper understanding of how three-dimensional design, the 5E model of instruction, and phenomenon-based investigations align with how people learn. The NGSS makes sense to them, they are seeing how it makes better sense for students, and so it makes sense to make the leap. (more…)

2017 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Monday, November 21st, 2016

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2017 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses 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 or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. For more information regarding proposals, and to submit one today, follow the links below.

Short Course Proposal Deadline: February 6, 2017

Workshop Proposal Deadline: March 20, 2017 (more…)

CDE Now Recruiting for Health Science Framework

Friday, November 18th, 2016

Do you want to have a voice in health education in California public schools? Consider applying to serve on the Health Education Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC), which will work closely with the framework writing team to create a new framework for health education. The new framework will be based on the state-adopted health education content standards and reflect both current research and new state laws.

Applicants must be submitted by 3 p.m. on December 15, 2016. More information about the Health Education Framework revision and the CFCC application is available on the CDE Health Education Curriculum Frameworks Web page at: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/he/cf/. (more…)

2016 CSTA Conference Sees Largest Attendance in 10 Years!

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

Workshop Hands-On

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop on Friday, October 21, 2016 at the 2016 California Science Education Conference. The conference offered more than 200 workshops over the three-days of the event.

Last month, more than 2,100 science educators convened at the Palm Springs Convention Center for three days of professional learning and networking. The halls buzzed with excitement, the exhibit hall traffic ebbed and flowed like the tides of an ocean, and workshop rooms often filled to capacity with standing room only. CSTA thanks the many volunteers, presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors who helped make this year’s conference a success.

Two of the most popular presentations at the conference included presentations on the new Science Curriculum Framework (which ended up being presented twice due to an error in printing in the program book!) and the Science Assessment Update workshop presented by CDE and ETS. Handouts for both of these presentations are available via the conference app. (more…)

CSTA Region 1 – What’s New?

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

As a county office Educational Services Director I get to work with many districts, teachers and site leaders on a variety topics, including science. I have the good fortune to be embarking on a new project as part of a team formed by the California State University, Chico – Project ESTEEM.

CSU Chico recruited teams of elementary teachers and their principals to participate in Project ESTEEM, Elementary Science Teachers, Educating, Elevating, and Meliorating; a two-year professional learning grant secured last winter by the University. (more…)

Kindergarten Teachers Take On the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

by Karal S. Blankenship and Claudia Mitchell

Science in Kindergarten is no different than teaching science in other grades. Students come to us full of wonder, resulting in endless questions. We strive to provide opportunities for our students to become active listeners, use critical thinking skills, to observe, and to make sense of the work around them. This provides our students the chance to develop a deep appreciation for science. This is nuts and bolts of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). (more…)

Science Education: An Ecosystem Approach

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

by Laura O’Dell

Though the organisms may claim our prime interest, when we are trying to think fundamentally, we cannot separate them from their special environments, with which they form one physical system.  –Arthur Tansley

As science teachers, our prime interest is teaching, guiding, and mentoring students in making sense of scientific phenomena. In 1935, Arthur Tansley, pioneer of the emerging science of ecology, described how environments function as complex systems comprised of biotic and abiotic factors. In coining the term “ecosystem”, Tansley gave a name to the interconnectedness of living things and their relationship to environmental factors. (more…)

Darwin Day Road Show

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

The BEACON Center and the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE) want to bring
evolution to YOUR school or community! Applications from host teachers for the
2017 Roadshow are now being accepted and are due DECEMBER 9, 2016.

WHAT IS THE ROADSHOW?
To celebrate Charles Darwin’s birthday each year, we send teams of scientists and educators on the road to bring evolutionary science to schools, museums and town halls in communities across the USA. We are particularly interested in reaching out to small, often rural communities that may not otherwise have a Darwin Day celebration. (more…)

Science Literacy and Civic Engagement Go Hand in Hand

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

by Emily Schoenfelder, Martin Smith, Steven M. Worker, Andrea Ambrose, Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, and Kelley M. Brian 

Introduction

Science is an integral part of the most complex social and political issues of our time. Concerns such as global warming, food and water security, and medical research show that science must be a driving force in addressing the environmental, economic, and social problems of our society. As such, members of this society must be prepared with sufficient scientific literacy to responsibly engage with such issues (Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy, 2007). Today’s youth are in need of tools, experience, and scientific knowledge to face these challenges. While classroom education provides core knowledge, informal science programs may be well-placed to help make the connections between science and civic engagement (Fenichel & Schweingruber, 2010) (more…)

Call for Nominations for the 2017-2019 CSTA Board of Directors

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

nominationformIt’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 are time and energy commitments, 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 interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. (more…)

NSTA Is Coming to Los Angeles!

Monday, November 14th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

With the 2016 California Science Education Conference now in our rear view, CSTA has begun to look towards the next major science education event scheduled to take place in our fine state – the National Science Teachers Association’s National Conference on Science Education! This incredible event is expected to draw more than 10,000 science educators from all over the country to the Los Angeles Convention Center March 30-April 2, 2017. Luckily for us here in California, this incredible event right here in our great state, and CSTA members are eligible to register for the conference at member rates! For more information and to register today, visit http://www.nsta.org/conferences/national.aspx. (more…)

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces California Teachers of the Year

Thursday, October 13th, 2016

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today selected five outstanding educators as the 2017 California Teachers of the Year.

“I am pleased to honor five dedicated and hardworking teachers who use their creativity and talents every day to make a huge difference in their classrooms,” Torlakson said. “These inspiring and innovative teachers enrich the lives of our students while helping them to succeed in 21st century careers and college. These teachers represent the best of their profession and serve as great examples.” (more…)

California Science Assessment Update

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

updated January 13, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.

At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) (more…)

Some ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in your classroom

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

by Carol Peterson

1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. (more…)

2016 Award Recipients – Join CSTA in Honoring Their Accomplishments

Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference  on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!

Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

John Keller

John Keller

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. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” (more…)

Last Chance to Register! Don’t Miss This Opportunity

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

2016Facebook-banner2The 2016 California Science Education Conference is just a few weeks away and more than 1,000 teachers are already registered for this incredible professional learning event. The exhibit hall is sold out, more than 200 workshops have been scheduled, and excitement and anticipation for this annual event are building! If you have not already registered, be sure to do so by Monday, October 3 to secure great rates and save you time when you arrive at the conference.

Let CSTA Help You Plan

CSTA has several tools available to help you plan your conference participation. These tools include:

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la2017_logo_235x235Early-Bird Deadline: Feb. 3, 2017

CSTA members save up to $90 on registration!

Not a member of CSTA? Join/Renew today:

CSTA One Year Membership ($50)

Joint NSTA/CSTA Membership ($114 – a $129 value)