by Laura Henriques, David Andrews, and Jaime Arvizu
This is the fifth in a series of articles related to using on-line resources to support student learning. Each article highlights a different National Science Digital Library (NSDL) resource used in the Building Locally, Linking Globally project (NSF DUE 0735011).
MERLOT is the Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching. Highlighted in an earlier eCCS article, MERLOT (www.merlot.org) is a free service. There are several things that MERLOT provides. The on-line library of peer reviewed teaching and learning materials (called “learning objects”) is searchable by grade, topic and type. The e-portfolio generator called Content Builder is a free, simple way to create professional portfolios and classroom based websites. Both of these features were highlighted in Jaime Arvizu and Sara Meadows’ article. The feature of MERLOT which we are highlighting in this article is MERLOT Voices. (more…)
December is a great time for astronomy if you can stand the cold. Here is a report on sightings from Dr. Robert Victor at the Abrams Planetarium.
Venus reaches spectacular brilliance high in predawn darkness in December and is close enough to Earth for its crescent shape to be detected through binoculars. An especially fine occasion for students to spot Venus in the daytime with unaided eye will come on morning of December 2, as a waning crescent moon appears nearby, with encore performances on Dec. 31 and Jan. 29 and 30.
Jupiter dominates the evening sky this winter, with waxing moon nearby on Dec. 13 and Jan. 9 and 10. Uranus can be spotted through binoculars in same field as Jupiter throughout December and January.
There’s a total lunar eclipse on the night of Monday, Dec. 20. For California residents, the eclipse gets underway in late evening and becomes total before midnight.
An illustrated guide to these sky events and more, the Abrams Planetarium Sky Calendar and evening star maps for Dec. 2010 and Jan. 2011, are available, along with a finder chart for locating Uranus with binoculars, at www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/CSTADec-JanSkies/.
Pete A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is region 4 director for CSTA.
Amir Abo-Shaeer, a high school physics and engineering teacher at Dos Pueblos High School in Goleta, has been named one of this year’s 23 MacArthur Fellows by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Fellows receive a “no strings attached” award of $500,000 over five years to use at their discretion.
This is apparently the first time that a public school science teacher has received the MacArthur award, often referred to as a “genius grant.”
In an interview with Education Week, Abo-Shaeer said he was “stunned” when he learned that he was a recipient of the honor. “I feel a sense of responsibility to really try to do the award justice,” he said. (more…)
CSTA member Anne Marie Wotkyns, a 4th grade teacher at J.B. Monlux Math, Science, Technology Magnet Elementary School, always wanted to work with scientists in field locations, and in December she will be living her lifelong dream by joining a team of polar ice researchers in Antarctica for seven weeks studying sea ice processes, biology, oceanography, and biochemistry in the Amundsen Sea along the coast of Antarctica. (more…)
My summer reading included a wonderful exploration of the sense of smell through this engaging narrative with concise research-based explanations of the emotional and physiological vagaries of this one of our five senses. (more…)
by Tom Chorneau, School Innovations & Advocacy Cabinet Report Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Close to nine out of ten California adults believe science instruction is nearly as important a component of K-12 education as reading, writing and arithmetic, according to a new poll released Tuesday. (more…)
Looking at the geologic time scale can be overwhelming for younger students; 4.6 billion years ago has little meaning on its own. Students can be introduced to large periods of time by accessing information a little at a time. (more…)
At the end of the last school year, I sat in my first grade classroom, stared at the empty walls, and reflected upon the year. That time of quiet and uninterrupted peace also allowed me to start dreaming of what my classroom environment and curriculum will look like next year. As I looked at the wall that displays my students’ work in science, I began thinking about how I could build upon what I did in science this year and make next year even better. (more…)
Professor David Kisailus, of the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering in the Bourns College of Engineering, studies materials in nature that can be copied for man-made purposes. (more…)
As science teachers address standards-based instruction with framework recommendations for “at least 20-25 percent hands-on activities,” students are spending more time in classroom laboratories. Some are crowded. Some have teachers with no safety training. Some are in 19th-century buildings, ill equipped for 21st-century science.
In whatever unique instructional setting you operate, almost all school lab accidents and injuries can be prevented with simple safety measures, the experts say. But many teachers are unaware of the dangers. “There have been some terrible accidents and injuries,” said John Wilson, executive director of the Schools Excess Liability Fund in California. (This fund recently paid more than $1 million in a case involving a chemistry accident and more than $3 million in a similar case.)
This article is the first in a series of monthly articles following the first year of teaching for Sara and Ellen. Throughout the year, you will see the challenges each face in their new careers in very different schools, one in northern California and one in southern California. (more…)
CSTA continued to work feverishly on several pieces of legislation throughout the last two years, and we are delighted to report on a number of last minute victories and some surprises as the legislative year winds down.
AB 97 (Torlakson), which is an old bill from last year, establishing an Academic Standards Commission for science and history-social science, to be convened “as funding permits” to review and revise the science and history standards.
Everyone thought this bill was completely dead, not having heard anything about it this year as it was held in the Senate Education Committee at the end of last year, but it was amended (the original bill would have revised the math and ELA standards as well, but these were just revised as part of California’s Race to the Top application) and sped through Senate Ed. and Senate Appropriations in the final days of the session. According to Assemblyman Torlakson’s office, the governor has indicated he will sign the bill this time–he has vetoed similar bills on two previous occasions. (more…)
For many of you reading this column, this begins the school year when you make the shift from studying science to teaching science. Welcome to an exciting new career! Teaching is one of the most rewarding and exhausting jobs imaginable. Most teacher education programs include useful readings, video examples and assignments, but there is never enough time to prepare people for the complexities of teaching. (more…)
I am sure you have noticed that education looks a bit different these past two years. The recession has played havoc in how districts assign teachers, and fluctuating student populations make teacher placement even trickier. (more…)
California continues to fall behind other states when it comes to school funding.
Just how far? California now ranks 44th in how much it spends on its students – or $2,546 less than the average spent in the rest of the United States. That’s the lowest it has been in 40 years compared to other states, in a depressing report from the California Budget Project. (more…)