May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

CSTA Member Wins 2013-2014 Einstein Fellowship

Posted: Monday, April 1st, 2013

Zovig Minassian, a teacher at Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale, and CSTA member, will serve at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science under the guidance of Patricia Dehmer. The complete press release and information regarding the Einstein Fellowship is below. CSTA congratulates Zovig on this incredible accomplishment!

Triangle Coalition Announces 2013-2014 Einstein Fellowships

Twenty-seven distinguished STEM educators selected to serve next school-year at four federal agencies

ARLINGTON, Va. (March 26, 2013) – The Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education today announced 27 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators who have been selected for the 2013-2014 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program. Selected educators will serve in Washington, D.C. for 11 months beginning September 1, 2013 at sponsoring federal agencies which include the Department of Energy (DOE), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF). Einstein Fellows provide practical classroom insight in guiding education programs and policies, especially those related to STEM education.

Founded in 1990, the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program is a paid fellowship for K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics educators with demonstrated excellence in teaching. Fellowships aim to increase understanding, communication, and cooperation between the legislative and executive branches of the government and the STEM education community. The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Act, authorized by Congress in 1994, gave DOE federal responsibility for the program. The Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education administers the Program for the DOE Office of Science in partnership with the other participating federal agencies.

The 2013-2014 Einstein Fellows were selected through a rigorous application and interview process from a competitive, nationwide pool of nearly 200 applicants. Of the 27 fellows in the 2013-2014 cohort, five are returning fellows invited to serve for a second year in their sponsoring agencies. Triangle Coalition is pleased to announce the names of the 22 newly selected Einstein Fellows as follows:

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Anne Artz, a teacher at The Preuss School UCSD in La Jolla, Calif., will serve as a Congressional Fellow sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science with program support from Brian O’Donnell.

Michelle Basile, a teacher at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School in Washington, D.C., will serve as a Congressional Fellow sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science with program support from Brian O’Donnell.

James Forester, a teacher at the Salem High School in Salem, Va., will serve as a Congressional Fellow sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science with program support from Brian O’Donnell.

Zovig Minassian, a teacher at Herbert Hoover High School in Glendale, Calif., will serve at the Department of Energy’s Office of Science under the guidance of Patricia Dehmer.

Joshua Sneideman, a teacher at Tarbut V Torah in Irvine, Calif., will serve at the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the guidance of Michelle Fox.

Shawn Tiegs, a teacher at Nezperce Joint School District in Nezperce, Idaho, will serve as a Congressional Fellow sponsored by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science with program support from Brian O’Donnell.

NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

Jennifer Kennedy, a teacher at Athens Middle School in Athens, Ala., will serve at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) under the guidance of Tony Springer.

Melinda Higgins, a teacher at The Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tenn., will serve at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Office of Education (OE) & Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) under the guidance of Robert Gabrys.

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

Ophelia Barizo, a teacher at the Highland View Academy in Hagerstown, Md., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering (ENG), Emerging Frontiers in Research Innovation Division (EFRI) under the guidance of Rosemarie Wesson.

Elaine Blomeyer, a teacher at South Gate High School in South Gate, Calif. will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Human Resources Development Division (HRD) under the guidance of Marilyn Suiter.

Barbara Buckner, a teacher at Bradley Central High School in Cleveland, Tenn., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Office of the Assistant Director (OAD) under the guidance of Joan Ferrini-Mundy.

Kaye Ebelt, a teacher at Target Range School in Missoula, Mont., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering (ENG), Civil, Mechanical and Manufacturing Innovation Division (CMMI) under the guidance of George Hazelrigg.

Steve Griffin, a teacher at Woodlawn High School in Baton Rouge, La., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering (ENG), Industrial Innovation and Partnerships Division (IIP) under the guidance of Sonya Williams.

Natalie Harr, a teacher at Crestwood Primary School in Mantua, Ohio, will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate (CISE), Information and Intelligent Systems Division (IIS) under the guidance of Janet Kolodner.

Kathryn Hoppe, a teacher at Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES in Spencerport, N.Y., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Engineering (ENG), Division of Engineering Education and Centers (EEC) under the guidance of Mary Poats.

Jennie Lyons, a teacher at Hackley School in Tarrytown, N.Y., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate (CISE), Computer and Network Systems Division (CNS) under the guidance of Jan Cuny.

Stephen Portz, a teacher at Space Coast Junior/Senior High School in Cocoa, Fla., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate (CISE), Cyber Physical Systems Division (CPS) under the guidance of Keith Marzullo.

Rebecca Sansom, a teacher at Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah, will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) under the guidance of Joan Prival.

Florentia Spires, a teacher at Howard University Middle School in Washington, D.C., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Computer & Information Science & Engineering Directorate  (CISE),  Computer and Network Systems Division (CNS) under the guidance of Jan Cuny.

Sheryl Sotelo, a teacher at McNeil Canyon Elementary in Homer, Alaska, will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Human Resources Development Division (HRD) under the guidance of Marilyn Suiter.

David Thesenga, a teacher at Lake Forest Country Day School in Lake Forest, Ill., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Geosciences Directorate (GEO) under the guidance of Jill Karsten.

James Town, a teacher at West Sacramento College Prep Charter School in West Sacramento, Calif., will serve at the National Science Foundation’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Research on Learning (DRL) under the guidance of Janice Earle.

About the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education

Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education is a 501c (3) nonprofit organization that works in partnership with its members to lead the nation in advocating for improved STEM education. Headquartered in the Washington, D.C. metro area, the Triangle Coalition is uniquely comprised of member organizations that represent the diverse voices of businesses, education alliances, nonprofit organizations, and STEM societies from across the U.S. Through a combination of advocacy, communications, and programmatic efforts, Triangle Coalition works diligently to advance STEM education for all students.

Triangle Coalition administers the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program on behalf of the Department of Energy, in partnership with other participating federal agencies and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education. The federally authorized Einstein Fellowship Program provides a unique professional development opportunity for educators to inform national policy and improve communication between the K-12 STEM education community and national leaders. Fellows spend eleven months working in a federal agency or in a U.S. Congressional office, bringing extensive knowledge and classroom experience to education programs and policy efforts. To learn more about the Triangle Coalition and the Einstein Fellowship Program, visit www.trianglecoalition.org.

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

Posted: 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!

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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. 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 NGSS 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.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.