January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Summer Learning for Students and Teacher

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

by Dr. Joseph Calmer

Summer time is a unique time for us; we don’t have work, but we work. This year, I found myself working with UCLA’s Science Project at a three-week science summer camp for K-8 students (I was the 7-8 teacher). Even though I was “working” for the organization, I wanted to work for myself and find out what I can do for my actual classroom that will start this fall. I took back a few things that both inspired and shocked me. (more…)

CTC Seeking Educators for Science Standard Setting Conference

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and Evaluation Systems group of Pearson are currently seeking California science educators to participate in a Science Standard Setting Conference for the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET) program. Each standard setting panel is scheduled to meet for one-day, in Sacramento, California. The fields and dates are listed below:

Multiple Subjects Subtest II (Science), Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Physics, Monday, October 2, 2017
Science Subtest II: Chemistry, Tuesday, October 3, 2017
Science Subtest II: Life Sciences, Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Science Subtest II: Earth and Space Sciences, Thursday, October 5, 2017
Science Subtest I: General Science, Friday, October 6, 2017

The purpose of the conference is for panel members to make recommendations that will be used, in part, by the Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) in setting the passing standard, for each field, in support of the updated California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET).

Click here to nominate educators. If you are interested in participating yourself, complete an application here for consideration.


Public school educators who are:

• Certified in California
• Currently practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above. 

College faculty who are:

• Teacher preparation personnel (including education faculty and arts and sciences faculty)
• Practicing (or have practiced within the last school year) in one or more of the fields listed above, and
• Preparing teacher candidates in an approved California teacher preparation program.

 Benefits of Participation Include:
• Receive substitute reimbursement for their school (public school educators only),
• Have the opportunity to make a difference in California teacher development and performance,
• Have the opportunity for professional growth and collaboration with educators in their field,
• Be reimbursed for their travel and meal expenses, and
• Be provided with hotel accommodations, if necessary.

For more information, visit their website at www.carecruit.nesinc.com/cset/index.asp

Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

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!

CSTA Endorses March for Science

Monday, March 27th, 2017

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) stands with our science and science education colleagues in endorsing the March For Science and its associated activities.

The decision by the CSTA Board of Directors to support the March for Science was based on the understanding that this is an opportunity to advocate for our mission of high quality science education for all and to advance the idea that science has application to everyday life, is a vehicle for lifelong learning, and the scientific enterprise expands our knowledge of the world around us. The principles and goals of the March for Science parallel those of CSTA to assume a leadership role in solidarity with our colleagues in science and science education and create an understanding of the value of science in the greater community. CSTA believes that the integrity of the nature of science and that the work of scientists and science educators should be valued and supported. We encourage your participation to stand with us.

There are over 30 satellite marches planned for the April 22, 2017 March for Science in California (to find a march near you, click on “marches” in the upper right of the main page, select “satellite marches” and use the search feature). We encourage members who participate in the March for Science to share their involvement and promotion of science and science education. Feel free to promote CSTA on your signs and banners. For those on social media, you may share your involvement via Twitter, @cascience and our Facebook groups.

Science Assessments: Are You Ready?

Monday, March 13th, 2017

From the CAASPP Update from the California Department of Education:

March 20—the opening of the CAASPP science administration—is just around the corner! Are you ready? Here are a few resources and reminders for you as you prepare to administer the pilot California Alternate Assessment (CAA) for Science and the pilot California Science Test (CAST). The high school grade-level assignment for the pilot CAST and the pilot CAA for Science can be confirmed by checking the assignment link on the CAASPP Portal CAST Web page. For more on the pilot assessment see New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Resources for the CAST administration: 

  • A new posting of the “Quick Reference Guide—How to Start a Training Test,” for science and a new letter template for informing parents and guardians about the CAST training test is available on the California Department of Education (CDE) Web site. From the CDE CAASPP Web page, go to the Coordinators & Administrators tab, and you will find a link to these new resources!


NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. (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…)

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

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…)

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.

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…)

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…)

Celebrating CSTA Members in the New School Year

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

April through July, 2016, the California Science Teachers Association welcomed the following New and Renewing Members
(CSTA/NSTA Joint Memberships may not be reflected in this list): (more…)

Celebrating CSTA Members in the New School Year

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

By Lisa Hegdahl

April through July, 2016, the California Science Teachers Association welcomed the following New and Renewing Members (CSTA/NSTA Joint Memberships may not be reflected in this list):

State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson Announces Launch of #GoOpen Initiative and Collaboration in Common Professional Learning Community

Friday, August 19th, 2016

SACRAMENTO—California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced the launch of both a new statewide #GoOpen initiative and Collaboration in Common, an online professional learning community and resource exchange platform for all California educators.

In joining the #GoOpen initiative, California becomes the sixteenth state recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for its commitment to support school districts and educators transitioning to the use of high-quality, openly licensed educational resources. (more…)

Welcome New and Renewing Members!

Monday, June 20th, 2016

Thank you and welcome to the following new and renewing CSTA members who joined or renewed in May or June 2016:

Rachel Abercrombie
Jason Anderson
Ken Arnold
Mary Jane Ashley
Clarence Atwater

Registration Now Open for NGSS Rollout #3 Fall Series

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Registration for the NGSS Rollout #3 events scheduled for this fall is now available online! Register early for what is sure to be sell-out events this fall.

Alameda County Symposium: September 7-8, 2016
Location: California State University, East Bay (New University Union)
25800 Carlos Bee Blvd.
Hayward, CA 94542

Fresno County Symposium: October 13-14, 2016
Location: Raddison Hotel
1055 Van Ness Avenue
Fresno, CA 93721

Santa Clara County Symposium: November 7-8, 2016
Location: Santa Clara County Office of Education
1290 Ridder Park Drive
San Jose, CA 95131

San Diego County Symposium: November 15-16, 2016
Location: Marina Village Conference Center
1936 Quivira Way
San Diego, CA 92109

Far North Symposium: November 29-30, 2016
Location: Tehama Department of Education
1135 Lincoln Street
Red Bluff, CA 96080

Ventura County Symposium: December 12-13, 2016
Location: Ventura County Office of Education and Educational Services Center
5100 Adolfo Road
Camarillo, CA 93012


Stanford University – MOOCs Supporting Innovative Assessment Practices

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Starting this fall, 2016, Stanford University is pleased to offer a set of free online courses (MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses) to help your state and local educators use innovative assessment practices – instructionally-focused formative assessment and curriculum-embedded performance assessments for deeper learning, with a focus on language that will support English Learners. The new forms of innovative assessments are rich with language and often require different forms of argumentation and justification to support student understanding and engagement with content. In these assessments that are embedded in instruction and the curriculum, the inclusion of academic language is integrated by design, connecting language to content and critical thinking. Information on the MOOCs are detailed below.  (more…)

Subscription Series Now Available! Four Stars from the “Ultimate Explorer” series on National Geographic Television to Appear Live and In Person at the Golden State Theatre during the “2016 National Geographic Live Series”

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

Travel the world at the Golden State Theatre in the fascinating four-part “National Geographic Live Series” coming this spring and summer! On one day per month from May through August, bring the whole family to the Golden State Theatre and come learn from and meet four different award-winning correspondents from the popular “Ultimate Explorer” series on National Geographic Television. See their incredible photos and videos and hear fascinating stories from four amazing explorers who have spent years roaming some of the wildest and most remote places on earth. After their presentations, come and talk with them and ask all of your questions, too! (more…)

Join K-12 Schools in Energy Conservation!

Friday, April 8th, 2016

PG&E is kicking off their 2016 Energize Schools Energy Conservation Competition and calling on you to help us find our next champions! This April 13th-May 3rd, students and faculty in schools throughout northern California will compete to save electricity in a competition sponsored by PG&E. Registration is free and is open to all K-12 schools in PG&E territory now!

All you need is one student or faculty member to sign up their K-12 school and the impact can be huge: on average schools save 5-10% on their utility bill while reducing their school’s carbon footprint and increasing their environmental awareness. Once they sign up, participants receive a full suite of educational and planning materials, performance updates, an Energy Advisor to answer questions and support their team’s goals. Cash prizes are available for competition winners! (more…)

CSTA Board of Directors 2016-2018 Candidates

Monday, March 14th, 2016

The Nominations Committee of the California Science Teachers Association presents the following individuals for election to the CSTA Board of Directors for the 2016-2018 term. Voting will open on April 15, 2016 and close on May 17, 2016.

The election is being conducted electronically. CSTA members will be sent links to the online ballot via email. Members for whom we do not have current email addresses or who requested a paper ballot will be mailed a ballot.

The candidates for election for the 2016-2018 are: (more…)

CSTA Welcomes New and Renewing Members from January and February 2016

Monday, March 14th, 2016


Our many thanks to the following 174 individuals for joining CSTA or renewing their membership in CSTA in the months of January and February 2016. CSTA has more than 3,000 members and represents science educators in call grade levels K-university. CSTA members enjoy the benefits of:

One-year, three-year, CSTA/NSTA joint membership, new teacher, retired teacher, and preservice teacher memberships are all options that CSTA offers. Visit our membership website for more information.

New and Renewing Members: (more…)

A Free Online Resources for Teaching About Organ, Eye & Tissue Donation

Monday, February 8th, 2016

by Patty Ladegaard, Donate Life California

A rite of passage for many high school students is applying for their first driver license or identification (ID) card from the California DMV. When doing so, students will be asked if they would like to join the state organ, eye and tissue donor registry. If they check “yes” a pink “DONOR” dot will be printed on their driver license to indicate their wishes. But how do teens get the information they need to make an informed decision about organ donation? When students study organ, eye and tissue donation and transplantation in school, they are able to make a decision about organ donation based on scientific information and fact, rather than myth and folklore. It also allows them an opportunity to discuss the topic with family prior to visiting the DMV. (more…)

CSTA Thanks NGSS Curriculum Framework Review Session Hosts and NGSS Committee

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

by Laura Henriques

Dawn O'Connor of the Alameda County Office of Education kicks of a Draft Science Framework Group Review Event.

Dawn O’Connor of the Alameda County Office of Education kicks of a Draft Science Framework Group Review Event.

As Lisa Hegdahl wrote about in her President’s column, there were 30 California Science Framework First Public Review Sessions hosted across the state. More than 625 people participated in them and they provided feedback directly to the California Department of Education and to CSTA. We’d like to give a shout out and thanks to all the review session hosts and committee members who participated in this process.

Hosts had to secure a venue, advertise, coordinate RSVPs, get snacks and then coordinate all the feedback (both to CDE and to CSTA). As many of these review sessions happened towards the end of the 60 day public comment period, they had to do this quickly. (more…)

CSTA Past President Sue Pritchard Reports in on Student Achievement

Saturday, February 6th, 2016

Sue Pritchard, CSTA Past President and middle school teacher at Washington Middle School in La Habra wrote into CSTA last month to share the wonderful news that her students were the winners of the first round of the Lexus Eco Challenge and a $10,000 prize! The all female student team, dubbed the “Water Guardians” were recognized for their achievement in the Orange County Register in December. Click here to view the article. They’re working on replacing sod on campus with drought-resistant plants, they encouraged the school district’s plumber to reduce the water flow from the building’s hand-push faucets by one-third, and they are waiting on developments regarding their push for low-flush toilets, water-efficient faucets, and more (more…)

Recognizing and Shining a Light on Excellence

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

by Laura Henriques

CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl presents the 2015 Future Science Teacher Award to Justin Fournier.

CSTA President Lisa Hegdahl presents the 2015 Future Science Teacher Award to Justin Fournier.

The CSTA Board of Directors likes to recognize excellence and significant contributions. There are many ways that CSTA recognizes contributions of our members. For example, the President publicly acknowledges member contributions to committees and authorship in California Classroom Science at the CSTA California Science Education Conference and in press in CCS. We know that the work of our organization is done by many and we like to recognize and acknowledge your contributions.

Another way that CSTA recognizes and highlights excellence to our field is via the awards program. (more…)

Speak up Survey! Be Heard!

Thursday, January 14th, 2016

by Jenny Hostert

We would like to invite all CSTA members to share your thoughts on education issues through the annual Speak Up survey. Speak Up is a large-scale research initiative that provides a unique way for school and district leaders to learn about the views and aspirations of students, parents and educators around digital learning. (more…)


Thursday, January 14th, 2016

Congress Moves to Foster Youth Computer Science Skills, District by District

WASHINGTON, DC – The Congressional App Challenge, a congressional initiative to improve student engagement in coding and computer science, is launching today and will run through January 21, 2016.

Representatives Mimi Walters and Hakeem Jeffries co-chair the 2015 Congressional App Challenge (CAC). Over a quarter of the House of Representatives have signed up to host student app contests in their districts. Currently, 116 Representatives from 37 states have signed up, and more are expected to do so in the coming days. (more…)

Elementary Educators Being Recruited to Participate in Grant to Help Teachers Improve Science Learning

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

California State University, Chico is now recruiting teams of elementary teachers and their principals to participate in Project Experience Science, Technology, Engineering, Electronics and Math (ESTEEM), a two-year professional science learning grant recently secured by the University.

The grant aims to improve instructional practice and leadership in elementary science in northeastern California through the development of locally focused standards-aligned curriculum. It also aims to create partnerships among schools, the University, and science and technology resources in the region such as those in industry and agriculture. (more…)

Alan Alda’s Flame Challenge Ignites Curiosity for Science

Friday, December 11th, 2015

Alan Alda, a founding member of the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, started the Flame Challenge in 2012 to have scientists answer the question, “What is a flame?,” in a way that resonated with 11-year-old students. Last year, 20,000 students from around the world voted on hundreds of entries to find ones that best answered the question, “What is sleep?”

The Flame Challenge, an annual contest held by the Alda Center, works to ignite excitement and a lifelong curiosity for science in children.

“I came up with this contest as a fun challenge for scientists to explain a complex thing like a flame in a way that would make it clear to an 11-year-old,” said Alan Alda, an actor, writer and visiting professor in Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism. “The idea was to urge scientists to communicate more clearly. I didn’t realize what an extraordinary learning experience it was going to be for the 11-year-olds. By now, tens of thousands of kids from all over the world have excitedly delved into the mysteries of nature as they’ve judged the scientists’ entries.” (more…)

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