September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Bringing Science Together for Elementary and High School Students

Posted: Monday, April 1st, 2013

by Valerie Joyner

This month I was very excited to see two local science programs prominently placed on the front page of two separate newspapers in Sonoma County.  Lee Boyes, Honors Chemistry teacher at Petaluma High School, and Steve Carpenter, Physics teacher at Piner High School in Santa Rosa, have independently developed collaborative science programs involving their high school seniors with younger elementary students within their districts. These programs were developed to help support elementary science and assist students in developing a greater interest in and understanding for the science they are learning.  Throughout the year, the high school science students visited the local elementary classrooms to teach science concepts through hands-on activities.  In March, each program brought the elementary students to their high schools and learned more chemistry and physics from their teenage mentors.

Boyes and Carpenter are well aware of the challenges that elementary teachers face with regards to science: not enough time, money, or support for necessary professional development or implementation.  They also know that the time to get students excited about science is in the elementary grades.  As an outgrowth of their research (High Hopes – Few Opportunities, WestEd, 2011 and CALPASS) and experience they realized the need to have an impact on their future science students.

I know there are many similar examples of high quality science education programs being carried out.  I congratulate and thank all of you for your efforts to improve science education and create a future filled with enthusiastic science students.  As we move forward with NGSS, STEM Blueprints, and A Framework for K-12 Science Education, it is time to keep science education in the forefront of the publics mind.  Don’t forget to send your local news outlets press releases or even just a quick phone call about your programs and projects.

Finally, it is never too soon to begin to secure funding for CSTA’s 2013 Conference, October 25-27, in Palm Springs.  April is often the deadline for spending 2012-2013 funding for your school.  You might be able to use some of this year’s funds for the conference.  Another option is to find local groups and/or businesses that want to promote science education in your area.

Events and Happenings in Region 1

Project WILD

April 2, 2013

4:00-7:00 pm

Sonoma County Office of Education

5340 Skylane Blvd., Santa Rosa, CA

Contact: Mike Roa at mroa@scoe.gov

Project WILD is a resource for teaching about organisms.

Ticks, Yellow jackets, Mosquitoes and More!

April 11, 2013

4:00 – 7:00 pm

Sonoma County Office of Education

5340 Skylane Blvd., Santa Rosa, CA

Contact: Mike Roa at mroa@scoe.gov

This workshop will teach you about a variety of invertebrates that have importance to the health of you and your students

Super SIRC (Science in the River City) Science Saturday

Saturday, May 4, 2013

9:00 a.m. -3:30 p.m.

Sacramento State Union, Sacramento State University

Hosted by Sacramento Area Science Project and the Center for Mathematics and Science Education

Target audience: K-12 teachers

SIRC is an outstanding standards-based professional development program for 3rd to 12th grade science teachers. This 1-day science conference is designed to deepen teachers’ understanding of science through hands-on, minds-on labs and activities, connecting the Science Content Standards and Common Core. Included are 3 workshops, workshop materials, breakfast, lunch, and 6 professional development hours.

For more information please visit www.csus.edu/mase/sircsaturday.htm or email Debbie Dennick at debbie@csus.edu.

Written by Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner is a retired elementary science educator and is a member of CSTA.

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CSTA Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

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 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. 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 2017. 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.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.