November 2014 – Vol. 27 No. 3

May 2014: Upcoming Events in the South

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

The southern part of the state is full of professional development opportunities for educators to learn more about Earth and Ocean Sciences, physics, as well as the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards. Field tests of the new Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessments are well underway in the region. The Smarter Balanced practice tests are an opportunity for schools and districts to become familiar with the format and testing procedures inherent with the shifts in the Smarter Balanced Assessments. With this in mind, there is much anticipation for what the future of assessment will look like for the sciences. (more…)

Spring Break is Here!

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Spring has sprung in Region 4! As a result, teachers are honing classroom management strategies and preparations for spring CAASPP pilot testing are in full swing.  There is also much anticipation of the impending changes to curriculum as teachers shift instructional practices to meet the requirements of NGSS and the CCS.

In order to hone instructional practice, educators from across Region 4 met on March 1st at Grossmont College in San Diego for the 23rd annual San Diego Science Educators Association Conference (SDSEA).  (more…)

Highlights and Happenings – March 2014

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Across the region, the month of March is full of science professional development opportunities in anticipation of NGSS implementation, shifts in assessment, STEM education initiatives, infusion of technology into the curriculum and the migration to the Common Core Standards. For those of you in the San Diego that I was able to connect with at the March 1 Science Trek hosted by the San Diego Science Educators Association, it was great to connect with you in person and I hope I will see you at future events. I encourage all educators in region 4 to take advantage of these opportunities for professional growth and learning.

Teachers in Riverside County interested in implementing Common Core literacy standards in the elementary science setting will want to attend a one-day workshop hosted by the Riverside County Office of Education on March 12th(more…)

Region 4: Highlights and Happenings – February 2014

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Across the region, the month of February is full of science professional development opportunities in anticipation of NGSS implementation, shifts in assessment, STEM education initiatives, and the migration to the Common Core Standards. I encourage all educators in region 4 to take advantage of these opportunities for professional growth and learning.

For Riverside County science leaders interested in learning more about science assessment, data, grants, instructional materials, research-based strategies, and California Department of Education updates, The Riverside County Office of Education is hosting a District Science Leadership Network Meeting on February 18, 2014 from 9:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Riverside County Office of Education Conference Center. (more…)

Learning for All Ages Through Informal Science!

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Region 4 is full of opportunities for local informal science education experiences. Whether you are a resident of region 4 or visiting the region on vacation, a multitude of learning opportunities await. I encourage you to broaden your horizon with new content and enjoy some of the best educational institutions in the nation. (more…)

Region 4 News and Events: It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

The holiday season has arrived! Region 4 is bustling with activity as students prepare for the final crunch of the semester and families prepare for holiday celebrations. The weather has turned cold and students are hunkered down in their studies in an effort to solidify their semester grades. Teachers across the region are making connections for student learning and assessing student progress on the science standards.

Throughout the month of December, there are professional development opportunities available for teachers to continue to hone their science skills. For teachers looking for a better way to teach your students about the Milky Way, UCSD is hosting a hands-on workshop from 10:00 to 4:00 on Saturday December 7th highlighting the “Galaxy Garden” which uses living plants (built to scale) to help students visualize the vastness of our galaxy. For more information contact http://sdsa.org/resources/science-alliance-e-news/2013/attachments/galaxy-garden-flyer(more…)

Region 4 Is All Shaken Up!

Friday, November 1st, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

In October, schools across region 4 practiced their earthquake preparedness strategies.  In order to practice for the next large earthquake, “The Great California Shake Out” was held on October 17th, 2013 at 10:17 am.  Educational professionals joined students and community members to practice recommended earthquake safety actions including dropping to the ground, taking cover under a sturdy desk or table, and holding onto their shelter until the shaking stops.   Everyone was reminded that a crawling position is the best way to protect your vital organs and to be prepared to move if and when necessary.  Through practice, our schools and community are one step closer to effectively managing this type of emergency situation.

Region 4 fall spirit is also alive and well at the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana. Along with Cal State Fullerton, the Center is hosting a free Pumpkin Launch family event on November 2nd.  The day promises to be filled with entertainment, hands-on activities, and of course, flying pumpkins!  Scheduled activities include Marshmallow mayhem, Archimedes floating lab, a catapult shoot-out, reaction rockets, medieval battle camp, and Da Vinci’s flight school.  The fun starts at 10:00 a.m. will run until approximately 1:30 p.m.  Be sure to bring your lawn chair and a carved pumpkin for the pumpkin carving contest.  An array of gourmet food trucks will also be there to please your palate. Other upcoming events at the Discovery Science Center include: (more…)

Region 4 News and Events: Fall is Here!

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

The weather in region four has become crisp and cool… the winds are picking up… fall is here! Teachers and students across the region are settled into classrooms and are hunkering down with their curriculum. Educators are busy analyzing best practices for the implementation of the Common Core Standards and the impact the standards have on science instruction. CSTA, along with several county office of education in region 4, have hosted events to engage educators in the dialog about the newly adopted Next Generation Science Standards and what that means for instruction. (more…)

The School Year Is Quickly Approaching!

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

The summer has gone by quickly and soon classrooms across Region 4 will be bustling with energy and excitement in preparation for the upcoming 2013-2014 school year.  With the onset of the new school year, there are new opportunities for personal and professional growth.  For example, much has transpired over the summer with the state board discussion regarding the proposed adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards for California.  As it now stands, the dialog will continue into at least September.  This will allow for exciting and robust discussion forums (Pasadena and Orange County) and increased staff development opportunities in the months to come. (more…)

Region 4 – News and Events

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

As the school year winds to an end, teachers around the region are reflecting on classroom practice and preparing for summer relaxation and personal enrichment.  It has been a busy month in region 4, with teacher training for implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and forethought as to curriculum shifts and refinement with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).  Here’s a brief summary of what’s been happening in region 4: (more…)

What’s Happening in Region 4?

Friday, March 1st, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Region 4 is buzzing with anticipation of the NGSS and the roll out of the Common Core Standards and districts in the region continue to strategize to determine the best manner for standards implementation in their classrooms. The Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) has been offering a series of professional development opportunities to familiarize teachers with the Common Core State Standards and the anticipated changes in assessements.  The RCOE professional development calendar lists upcoming Common Core training opportunities.  For more information, access http://rcoe.k12oms.org/index.php. (more…)

When Will “Mojave Maxine” Make Her Spring-Time Appearance at the Living Desert?

Friday, February 1st, 2013

Contest Now Underway For Students to Guess When She Will Emerge!

PALM DESERT/INDIAN WELLS, CA (Jan. 29, 2013) …  It’s that time of year again when the desert tortoise Mojave Maxine, sleeping in her underground burrow at The Living Desert, begins to stir in anticipation of desert springtime and fresh flowers to eat. This also means it’s time for students to enter the annual Mojave Maxine emergence contest and guess when she will emerge!

The east coast has Punxsutawney Phil and Groundhog Day to let them know when they can expect spring. The Living Desert has Mojave Maxine to signify that warmer weather is on the way!

Mojave Maxine is a 35-year old desert tortoise who lives at The Living Desert.  Each year, she retires for the winter to her underground burrow. She stays there in a state of “brumation” (reptilian hibernation) for several months. (more…)

Regional Update: Region 4 – Welcome, 2013!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

With the start of the New Year, Region 4 is bustling with preparations in anticipation of the next draft release of the NGSS and the impending implementation of Common Core Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments.  This shift in pedagogy and emphasis will mean changes in the way we do business in the classroom.  (more…)

Region 4 Fall Update

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

I hope that you are feeling renewed and invigorated after attending this year’s CSTA California Science Education Conference in San Jose!  The conference was full of information about the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), the K-12 Science Framework, best instructional practices, informal science education, environmental education and STEM curriculum. Not to mention the numerous opportunities for networking with science colleagues… there truly was something for everyone! (more…)

Region 4 News and Events

Saturday, September 1st, 2012

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Across CSTA region 4, educators are returning to classrooms rested and inspired to motivate students to reach new heights in science education. While this year will be a challenge for educators with looming budget uncertainties, the implementation of the common core standards, and preparing for the next generation science standards, it is also exciting with the onset of change and opportunities for inspiring learning in new ways. The districts in region 4 (Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and San Diego counties), as well as CSTA, have been busily preparing educators to meet the demands of these changing times.   (more…)

March Madness Equals Science Madness in San Diego

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

by Donna Ross

As I write this, our men’s basketball team at San Diego State University is battling for the Mountain West title and they are ranked 21st in the Associated Press poll.  The energy in the arena on game nights is electrifying and the enthusiasm for March Madness is undeniable on our campus.  Across the city, there is another madness taking hold this month, too.  Science!  March has become the science month for San Diego. The sheer number of community members, scientists, non-profits, and educators donating their time to share their passion for science is also electrifying.  Now, if only we could get the science activities nationally televised along with the basketball games! (more…)

News and Events in Region 4

Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

by Peter A’Hearn

Among other things, CSTA’s Region 4 is earthquake country. Fractured, splintered, folded, twisted, earthquake country. Our students need to be prepared, but many have never experienced a really scary shake, so its hard to get them to take an earthquake seriously. When you do an earthquake drill, do they understand why they are supposed to get under their desks? Here are some pictures of a school in El Centro, California taken after the Easter 2010 earthquake. The 7.2 quake happened on a Sunday, so no one was at school.

 

Now that they understand why they are supposed to get under the desk, you can go to the animations put together by the Southern California Earthquake Center at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/nca/simulations/shakeout/. They have views of how the shock wave from a simulated earthquake would travel across Southern California in real time. The simulations have views from different locations, so you can pick one close to your school. Enjoy and be prepared.

Pete A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is region 4 director for CSTA.

Click here to search for events in the region.

News and Events in Region 4

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Peter A’Hearn

Region four is impressively large and diverse. It stretches from the beaches of San Diego and Orange County, over the mountains of Southern California, across the deserts to the Colorado river, and up the scarp of the Eastern Sierra. It includes the highest point in the lower 48 states, the lowest point in North America, and the oldest tree on Earth. What an amazing place to be teaching science!

In November its cooling off fast which is great news for those of us living in the desert. The end of daylight savings time and the beginning of daylight wasting time has only one possible benefit- after school astronomy can begin earlier. In November the spectacular object you see in the east right  after sunset is a very close Jupiter. Even small binoculars will pick up the four Gallilean moons, and Jupiter is awesome in even a small telescope. (more…)

Region 4 News and Events

Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Peter A’Hearn

“The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled.”

-Plutarch

As committed and passionate science teachers, we know that our job is to light fires in our kid’s minds.  Two different presidents, in the last three State of the Union Addresses, have spoken about the importance about ‘lighting the fires of science education’ so that American schools graduate more scientists and engineers. But often, the standards we teach read more like a list of contents for filling vessels than the sparks that will set imaginations on fire. Nor are the CST released test questions the fiery ones that will take minds on voyages of discovery. (more…)

Region 4 Summer 2011 Report

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

by Peter A’Hearn

Summer is here, and for many science teachers that means geeky road trips. I’ll put region 4’s potential for geeky road trips up there with any other region. So lets hear from the other regions on this, what have you got?

In region 4-

Mt. Palomar- Camp out at Mt. Palomar Observatory north of San Diego. For a long time Mt. Palomar was the largest observatory in the world and it is still pretty huge and impressive. They have daytime visiting hours and tours on Saturday and Sunday. More info at http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/. There is lots of  cool mountain camping close by in Palomar Mountain State park and many folks bring their own telescopes to take advantage of the dark skies and high altitude viewing, especially on dark weekends. More info at- http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=637.

Kelso Dunes- When people are driving to Vegas in a movie, they aren’t driving on big dull (often jammed) Interstate 15, they are taking the spectacular little road that goes North from 29 Palms through the Eastern Mojave National Scenic Area. This road goes right by the fantastic Kelso Dunes. Which are one of 7 “singing dunes” found in the world. What are singing dunes? Climb up to the top of the tallest one and jump off the steep slip face to find out. You can actually “swim” down the face, and hear the incredible sound they make while you do it. (you’ll need a very good bath to get the sand out of everywhere afterwards). In summer, time your dune walk for early morning or sunset so it’s not too hot. Bring a microscope or a loupe and see if you can tell what makes the sand here different than ordinary non-singing sand.

Bristlecone Pines- Get your Dendrochronology on and drive up to visit the world’s oldest trees in the White Mountains near Big Pine. There are several groves to visit and they won’t tell which is the oldest tree (to discourage souvenir takers from killing it) but its fun to guess. The guide to the loop trail is very inquiry based, which I liked. Camp at nearby Grandview Campground, at 10,000 ft one of the highest and darkest around and don’t forget your telescope. I camped here for the Perseids one year and it was amazing (this year the full Moon in August is badly timed and will wash out the best nights of the Perseids).

Okay, what do they other regions have?

Pete A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is region 4 director for CSTA.

Region 4 News and Events

Sunday, May 1st, 2011

by Pete A’Hearn

Region 4 is the most amazingly diverse place in the world to teach science. We stretch from the cold Pacific Ocean to the hottest desert in the world, contain the highest and lowest points in California, the oldest tree in the world, and the oldest cloned plant. We have top research facilities from the Salk Institute in San Diego to the 200-inch telescope at Mt. Palomar. Region 4 is the counties of San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Imperial, San Bernardino, Inyo, and Mono.

Ah…springtime in region 4 and a young teacher’s thoughts turn to…

Summer! Just around the corner with many opportunities for professional growth. In the meantime to keep you from getting into the post-CST test doldrums, there is lots going on.

Boojom Institute in Idyllwild is having an Open House on May 7. They do some great outdoor science programs. More info at: http://www.boojum.org/images/openhouse_may_7_10.jpg.

Head to Los Angeles for the International Science and Engineering Fair on May 9 to May 13, and cheer on the region 4 kids who are competing. More information can be found at: http://www.societyforscience.org/intelisef2011.

Sally Ride Science Festival, May 14, San Diego, CA: Presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, the festival for 5th to 8th grade students features hands-on workshops, guest speakers, and a street fair complete with food, booths and music. A highlight of the day will be the keynote presentation by former NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence. Since 2001, Sally Ride Science Festivals have given middle school girls the opportunity to explore a variety of science fields and meet inspiring scientists such as Sally Ride, Laurie Leshin, and Ellen Ochoa. The festival runs from 11 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. and, with the exception of workshops, will be held completely outdoors. The event is open to the public and advanced registration is required. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased online at www.sallyridescience.com/festivals or by calling 1-800-561-5161.

JPL is having an open house on May 14 and 15. JPL! Need I say more? Details can be found at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/.

The District Science Leadership Network for Riverside and San Bernardino counties is on May 17 at Riverside County Office of Education. Come hear presentations from schools identified as science education “outliers”, hear what the latest research says, and get connected with what’s going on in the region. Check out the details at: http://scienceinquirer.wikispaces.com/.

Mark your calendars for Yami’s amazing notebook training July 13 and 14 at RCOE. If you don’t know Yami she is the new RCOE science person and has done amazing work with using notebooks in high school biology. More detailed info in the next report or contact Yamileth Shimojyo at YSHIMOJYO@rcoe.us.

Join  the California Institute for Biodiversity team, naturalist David Lukas, and UC researchers as we explore the Sierra Nevada, focusing on climate change’s influence on natural systems. You will learn how climate change has already affected California and how mitigation can reduce the impact in the future. Participating teachers will also have the opportunity to “do science” by participating in a team field investigation that explores an aspect of global climate change. We will give you the right tools to help your students understand the threat of global climate change and how they can respond now and in the future! This intensive course will integrate state science standards for sixth through 12th grades. The registration fee includes room and board, your own field journal, a teacher packet with hands-on activities, and the use of scientific equipment for your field investigations. Regular registration is $375. http://eurekaseries.org/main/node/122.

Applications for the CSULB Master’s in Science Education program are due June 1. There are options for elementary, secondary and informal science educators. Details about the MS program and contact information are located at www.scienceteaching.org.

As the new region 4 director, I need help tracking all the events in a big and spread out region. You can help me to include events in your part of region 4 by sending me information about events and opportunities at pahearn@psusd.us.

Pete A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is region 4 director for CSTA.

Events in Region 4

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

March 16, 2011, Chula Vista, CA
Project WET Workshop

The Sweetwater Authority and Otay Water District invites you to register for this action-packed water education workshop at the Chula Vista Nature Center. You’ll be able to experience water education activities that will engage students in the science of local water resource issues, receive ideas for classroom projects, and walk away with your own Project WET guide filled with 80+ standards aligned water activities that can be used in the classroom at the nature center! CEU credit will also be available. To register, please contact Leslie Filippi at (619) 409-6723-or- lfilippi@sweetwater.org.

April 14, 2011, San Diego, CA
Teacher Workshop: Bringing the Ocean and Sea Turtle Science into the Classroom

A 3-hour professional development workshop will be held in conjunction with the 31st Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation. The workshop is targeted towards 5th – 8th grade teachers. This unique educational workshop will be provided free of charge and will focus on ocean conservation through the biology of sea turtles, while meeting state learning standards. Special guest speaker Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, Research Associate at the California Academy of Sciences and world-renowned sea turtle biologist, will commence the ISTS-31 Teachers Workshop with a thought provoking and inspiring lecture on “Oceanophilia: The Neuroscience of Emotion and our relationship to the Ocean (and sea turtles)”. Following the lecture, teachers will be introduced to on-line resources and classroom activities to inspire the next generation to protect, understand, study, and respect our oceans. Participants will receive 3 hours professional development credit.

Register for this free workshop by e-mailing Frances Kinney at frances@propeninsula.org.
Please provide the following information:
1) Full Name
2) Name of School, District, and Grade Level
3) E-mail and Phone Number

Registration Deadline: March 14, 2011

For more information regarding the ISTS-31 Teachers Workshop, please contact: Frances Kinney, frances@propeninsula.org, or Barb Andrews, bandrews@calacademy.org, Co-Chairs, ISTS-31 Student/Teacher Workshops

Region 4 . . . and Beyond

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

by Pete A’Hearn

One of the biggest earth science events of the year is not technically in region 4, but just across the Colorado River from Blythe in Quartzite, Arizona.  This is the site of one of the world’s biggest rock and mineral shows every year. The “Main Event” takes place from January 8 -23rd.  The website for the Quartzite Gem and Mineral Club at http://www.quartzsitegemandmineralclub.org/ gives good information as well as a list of rockhounding field trips. (more…)

Region Four Report

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

by Pete A’Hearn

The Santa Rosa National Monument has a full schedule of events in December.  Check their website at http://www.desertmountains.org/events.html for more information.

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 Dec. 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 December 2010 and January 2011 are available, along with a finder chart for locating Uranus with binoculars, at www.pa.msu.edu/abrams/CSTADec-JanSkies/.

As the new region four director, I need help tracking all the events in a big and spread out region.  You can help me to include events in your part of region four by sending me information  about events and opportunities at pahearn@psusd.us.

News from Region 4

Monday, November 1st, 2010

by Peter A’Hearn

As the new region four director for CSTA, my first question was, “ Okay, so what is region 4?”  Turns out, region 4 is impressively large and diverse.  It stretches from the beaches of San Diego and Orange counties, over the mountains of Southern California, across the deserts to the Colorado River, and up the scarp of the eastern Sierra.  It includes the highest point in the lower 48 states, the lowest point in North America, and the oldest tree on Earth.  What an amazing place to be teaching science!

In November it’s cooling off fast, which is great news for those of us living in the desert.  The end of daylight savings time and the beginning of daylight wasting time has only one possible benefit—after-school astronomy can begin earlier.  In November, the spectacular object you see in the east right after sunset is a very close Jupiter.  Even small binoculars will pick up the four Gallilean moons, and Jupiter is awesome in even a small telescope.

November is also a good time for meteors, with several showers taking place this month.  What this means is that on any evening, you have a good chance of catching a shooting star (not really stars, but you know that).

I’ve frequently heard people complain that California doesn’t have fall colors.  Actually, the canyons of the eastern Sierra, especially Bishop canyon, have beautiful displays of  yellow, orange, and red.

Events and Opportunities:

The Natural Science Collaborative of the Desert Region is throwing the Educator’s Fall Festival November 4 at the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert.  Come have some wine and cheese and learn about all of the opportunities to connect with the informal science community in and around the Coachella Valley.  The event is from 3:00 to 6:00. Call for more information at 760-346-5694 x2501.

The Santa Rosa National Monument has a full schedule of events in November.  Check their website at http://www.desertmountains.org/events.html for more information.

As the new region 4 director, I’ve had great support from outgoing director Karen Whitley- Smith.  But it’s a big region and it’s hard for me to find out about everything that is going on.  You’ve probably noticed that this newsletter is heavy on desert events.  You can help me to include events in your part of region 4 by sending me information about events and opportunities at pahearn@psusd.us.

Peter A’Hearn is science specialist at Palm Springs Unified School District and CSTA’s region 4 director.

50_CSTA_logo_Small

Make your tax-deductible donation to the 50th Anniversary Fund today!