May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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 2050Dr. 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.

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.