CSTA Conference Update
Posted: Thursday, August 1st, 2013
by Jim Jones
By now you’ve been making preparations for the upcoming California Science Education Conference this October 25 – 27 in Palm Springs. We’ve been preparing for you. There is so much for everyone! You will have opportunities to participate in many quality events. Everybody wants to go to Palm Springs, so what better reason to do so than this conference?!
If just the fact that it’s in Palm Springs isn’t enough motivation to get you there, let me tell you about our superb Keynote Speakers. To open our conference, we have Dr. Stephen Pruitt, the Vice President for Content, Research, and Development for Achieve and leader of the development of the Next Generation Science Standards. The NGSS are being considered by the State Board of Education and are likely to be adopted. The conference will be the optimal place to learn about them and prepare your teaching to address them.
On Sunday, October 27, our closing keynote speaker will be Dr. Lawrence C. Smith, climate scientist, professor, and author of The World in 2050. Dr. Smith is one of the world’s most respected climate scientists whose work envisions the future of a warmed planet. He will outline the changes that our world will face in the next 50 years, both geologically and societally. Dr. Smith will speak about the changes occurring on Earth because of the combination of booming global population and global warming. He will share the major gains he believes will be made by the North.
In addition to the two outstanding Keynote Speakers, you will have the opportunity to hear several Focus Speakers. Their topics include the Power of Non-Verbal Communication, Shark Tracking Robots, Tissue Development and Engineering, Scientific Computing, and Nanoscience. Don’t forget to reserve Saturday, October 26 from 7:30 a.m. – 9:00 a.m., as well. This is for the Awards Breakfast, where you can hear Dr. Stuart Sumida, a paleontologist and anatomical consultant to animation and digital effects studios including Disney and Pixar. Seating at the breakfast event is limited so be sure to purchase your ticket early.
Of course, the staple of the conference will be the Short Courses and Workshops presented by your peers. We’ve accumulated a diverse of line-up of topics. No matter your grade level and/or discipline, you will find many choices available.
You will also want to take advantage of our Field Course offerings. On Friday, take one of the field courses to learn about the San Andreas Fault or Alternative Energy. Saturday offers the opportunity to learn about Joshua Tree National Park or the Palm Springs Aerial Tram Engineering Tour. Sunday offers a visit to the Living Desert to learn about helping species survive and thrive.
We’ve made plans for your evenings as well as your days. In addition to the Villagefest Street Fair on Thursday night in downtown Palm Springs (walking distance from the Convention Center), you can participate in evening events on Friday and Saturday nights. These opportunities include a Pool Party where you will have the chance to join a team in engineering activities, and an Astronomy Night with invited guest Bobak Ferdowsi, a.k.a. the “Mohawk Guy” from the current Mars exploration mission.
Finally, there will be as many as 100 exhibitors on-hand. A visit to the Exhibit Hall is a great way to stay on the cutting edge of what is available to enhance your students’ learning and to shop for classroom essentials.
We’re looking forward to seeing you in Palm Springs in October!
Jim Jones retired two years ago after teaching elementary grades for 36 years. He is the co-chairperson of the 2013 California Science Education Conference and has been a CSTA member since 1985.
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…