November/December 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 2

California Student Teams Win National Challenge

Posted: Friday, October 1st, 2010

Two California students teams were named the grand prize and third place winners for the elementary level, grades 3-5 division for the 2010 Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge.

The grand prize winners, Team “Planet Blue and Green” from Watsonville, CA, focused their project on limiting the consumption of non-biodegradable materials as a means to reduce marine debris.  After seeing a presentation on what trash does to our oceans and the animals that live in them, these students decided to do a project on limiting consumption of material sources as a means to reduce marine debris.  They started by researching marine debris, where they found out about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and talking to experts in the field.  They then created and sold an educational DVD (in a non-plastic case) to educate other kids about the problem with ways to help, the proceeds of which were invested in a non-profit organization that helps small businesses in third world countries.  They also organized a community beach clean-up.  Their petition to city council was reported by local newspapers and the team is working with a private donor to distribute the DVD to more schools and outlets.

Third place winners, Team “Green Allowance” from Glendale, CA, focused their project on teaching other students how to save as much energy and water as possible by using an interactive website.  After learning that water shortage is a global issue, Team Green Allowance wanted to do a project on educating others about conserving water and power.  They created a commercial that they shared with other students to teach them about conserving water and power and then visited classrooms to speak with fellow students directly.  They distributed DVDs to classrooms and other schools and posted the commercial on YouTube.  They also brought the DVD to the city council and passed out flyers at public events where media interviewed them on their project and expressed interest in sharing the DVD further.  The team discovered that their program had a positive impact on both the school and their community, increasing awareness of the importance of conserving water and power and changing peoples’ habits to help the environment.

The Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge encourages all students from kindergarten through twelfth grade to team up with their classmates to create replicable solutions to environmental issues in their schools (grades K-5), community (grades 6-8), and world (grades 9-12).  Student and teacher/mentor prizes, which vary according to grade level, include savings bonds, school grants, exciting trips, and much more.  Entries for the 2011 Siemens Challenge are being accepted now through March 15, 2011.  Find out more at http://wecanchange.com/.

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.

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Priority Features of NGSS-Aligned Instructional Materials

Posted: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Recommendations for Publishers, Reviewers, and Educators. The California Science Teachers Association and the science teachers associations of three other Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) west-coast states, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, have co-authored a white paper on priority features of NGSS instructional materials. This is the first time our states have collaborated to convey a common vision on an issue of great importance for the implementation of the NGSS. We understand all too well that for meaningful shifts to happen and to support the full vision of the NGSS, strong K-12 Instructional materials are required. 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 Board Moves Forward Two Key Pieces Supporting CA NGSS Implementation

Posted: Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

CSTA President Jill Grace provides public comment at the November 8, 2017, California State Board of Education meeting.

On November 8, 2017, the California State Board of Education (SBE) took action on two items of import relating to the implementation of the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA NGSS). One item was relating to the California Science Test (CAST) and the other to instructional materials. CSTA provided both written and oral comments on both items along with providing input on what CSTA and many other advocates view as a critical component of our state’s emerging accountability system – student access to a broad course of study. 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.

NGSS – Early Attempts and Later Reflections from an Early Implementer Teacher

Posted: Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

by Christa Dunkel

  • There are so many acronyms! Where do I start?
  • What “baby step” should I take first? 
  • How can I make this happen in my elementary classroom?

All of these thoughts and more swam through my head over three years ago when I began my journey into NGSS. I was fresh from a week-long institute with the K-12 Alliance as part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. Much of the week was spent on digging into the NGSS architecture – how the standards are set-up, how to read the standards, what each of the three dimensions meant. Now that I knew how to read them, I needed to figure out how to implement them into my classroom of 24 eight-year-olds. With some guidance from the K-12 Alliance leaders and my own district-level NGSS team, I began the process with some easy “baby steps.” 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 California NGSS k-8 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.

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.

Expanding Your Definition of Informal Science Education

Posted: Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

by Lori Walsh

When deciding on a field trip, zoos, aquariums and science centers typically come to mind. These facilities offer students hands-on opportunities to make science observations using inquiry. Teachers can schedule standards aligned workshops or self-guided visits. If your students have already visited these facilities, you can broaden your options by exploring the larger world of Informal Science Education. Nature centers, non-profits, and environmental groups often also offer NGSS aligned programs in the natural setting. Your students can discover the local environment while making memorable experiences. Learn More…

Written by Lori Walsh

Lori Walsh

Lori Walsh is the Education/Operations Supervisor at SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort and Informal Science Director for CSTA.