CSTA’s California Classroom Science Goes Digital: It’s All About Sustainability!
Posted: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
Tim Williamson, CSTA President
It’s that time of year again; another school year has begun. Most of California’s school districts are doing all they can to maintain fiscal stability during these troubled economic times. It’s not an easy task. Your California Science Teachers Association is facing many of the same economic challenges. We’ve tightened our financial belts and we are doing a great job in streamlining budgets and implementing cost-saving measures across the board, but more needs to be done.
The CSTA board’s decision to take the giant “green” step of publishing California Classroom Science in digital format offers our readers a more convenient, easily accessible, easy to read, and easy to archive product that so many of you have requested, but it has the added bonus of being a cost-saving measure.
Our decision to go “digital” was not based on ease of use or financial reasons, although these are beneficial offshoots. It was based on sustainability. But what does this term mean? How is it relevant to digital publications? Let’s start with a definition and a brief discussion about what sustainability means.
- Sustainability, a United Nations definition: A sustainable society meets the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
There is a great concern that our present civilization will be unable to perpetuate itself indefinitely into the future. For life to survive as we know it in California, the physical resources and systems that support all life must be maintained. Resources cannot be used and depleted so that there is nothing left, and they cannot be made unusable through misuse. The health of plant and animal populations, whether they are part of the human food chain or part of a more complex physical life-support interaction system, must be insured. This means an equal distribution of all natural resources, providing all California residents the ability to maintain a high quality of life while leading to a reduced impact on their environment.
California’s citizens need access to good and reliable information to help them understand the impact of their own “carbon footprint.” This will help lead to our state’s environmental stability. We need social justice to stop thoughtless social environmental behaviors and public education that gives its citizens the tools to improve their interaction with the environment. Any social groupings without these attributes are unstable, and it will become difficult to maintain a healthy balance with the natural world. This is what sustainability is all about.
The California Science Teachers Association board and you, its members, already understand this concept of sustainability and how it is relevant to digital publications. I know I don’t need to preach to the choir. But it is my hope that our general education population can learn to live in a way that considers the rights of future generations and of all living things on this earth. Going green with our first issue of California Classroom Science is a step in the right direction!
I hope to see all of you in Sacramento for the 2010 California Science Education Conference this October 22nd-24th where you can continue this discussion of sustainability and its impact on future generations with your science education colleagues, both novice and seasoned. This is what your professional development dollars should be used for. This is how we become better prepared to impart scientific literacy to all of our charges, preparing them for a successful future for themselves, our state, and our nation.
Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
by Jessica Sawko
In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.
At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
Posted: 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/. Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!
Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award
The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?
The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt
Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…