May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

CSTA Night at the Aquarium – A Good Time Was Had by All!

Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

by Jill Grace and Laura Henriques

Close to 700 science educators enjoyed an evening of Science, Engineering and STEM at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific on Thursday, December 4th. This great CSTA event was co-hosted by Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific and CSTA and sponsored by Chevron.

In addition to having the entire aquarium to ourselves, there were five scientists who gave talks, two dozen table-top STEM/Engineering showcase presentations and the LBAOP’s Science on a Sphere. After eating dinner, glowstick-clad attendees visited the penguins, jellies, and other exhibits representing marine life of the pacific.


The science talks addressed some cutting edge research and science citizen projects. Their talks were great and CSTA appreciates them donating their time. It was a late night for them (especially considering it was a school night!).

CSTA Night at the Aquarium Speaker Series

CSTA Night at the Aquarium Speaker Series

Monitoring Pollution in Santa Monica Bay: Science Influencing Management
Mas Dojiri, Division Manager, Environmental Monitoring Division, Hyperion Treatment Plant

Mas Dojiri’s discussion of how pharmaceuticals make their way into the oceans and into fish tissue should make us all rethink what goes down drains and toilets. His talk highlighted the importance of critical consumption of scientific information as reported in the news.

Life in Deep Sea Hydrothermal Vents: Using Technology to Study Biodiversity in Extreme Environments
Karla Heidelberg, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Biological Sciences, Director of USC Environmental Studies Program

Karla Heidelberg did a great job emphasizing that exciting topics will engage kids and allow us to introduce the ‘hard science’. This technique allows us to ‘sneak in’ really hard-core science in ways that kids find palatable and actually crave. They want to know how organisms live and thrive at the hydrothermal vents and that requires some real science.

Earth Science from Space! Why I Love My Day Job Spying on Carbon with the NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory
Michael Gunson, Global Change & Energy Program Manager & OCO-2 Project Scientist, Jet Propulsion Lab, California Institute of Technology

Mike Gunson helped us understand how the earth space satellite program missions provide scientists with an opportunity for large-scale hypothesis testing. He emphasized how the general public does not really understand hypothesis testing and still hold misconceptions about the methods which scientists use (by the way, it’s not the scientific method!).

Understanding Earthquakes: Science, Technology, and Resources
Erin Burkett, Geophysicist, USGS

Erin Burkett’s presentation about earthquakes and early warning systems was very interesting. The simulation of the LA Basin in a 7+ earthquake gives us all reason to pause and appreciate the extra few seconds an early warning system would provide. (click here for the USGS video simulation)

Kelp Watch 2014: Design, Recent Results, and Surprises
Steven Manley, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University – Long Beach

Steve Manley’s presentation about searching for radioactivity from the Fukashima nuclear disaster helped us understand the currently measured risk (or relative lack thereof) from Cs-134 and Cs-137.The Kelp Watch project has processed kelp collected by groups from Baja California to Kodiak Islands. Collections from areas that the radioactive plume will not go are used as controls.

Chevron Logo

Thank you to our event sponsor: Chevron

The showcase presenters highlighted tried and true lessons and activities. You can find handouts and descriptions on the event’s Edmodo site.

Inputs and Outputs of Cells
This unit focuses on what every cell requires and produces. We explore how the cell gets what it needs and gets rid of what it doesn’t need. We explore what the cell does with the inputs to produce the outputs as well as which body system supports that.
Kerin Butterfield, Science Teacher, California Middle School

Geologic History- BBK Unit Module
Sobrato High School Geology teachers recently collaborated to create a BBK- Building Background Knowledge unit module, aligned to NGSS, on Geologic History and Plate Tectonics.
Heather Wygant, Geology Teacher, Sobrato High School

Backpack Robotics Inventing to Learn: Students Build Original Mars Rover Robot
We are integrating Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards by simulating the building of a Mars Rover robot from the ground up. Students follow building plans and use laser cutters and 3D printers to make parts for a simulated rolling robot. Students use STEAM++ Graphic Organizers and a ePortfolios.
Bob Barboza, STEM Director, Super School University – Kids Talk Radio Science

The Finches of Daphne Major: Use the Scientific Model of Natural Selection to Help Your Student’s Reason with Data and Explain the Phenomenon of the Galapagos Finches
The changes of the Galapagos Finches of Daphne Major are an excellent example of natural selection. This lesson shows how your students can use 11 pieces data and the model of Natural Selection to tell the story of the finches.
Jennifer Horton, Science Teacher, Lincoln High School

Global Climate Change: Earth System Carbon Cycle and Energy Flows
Global climate change is a great topic for modeling how to weave disciplinary core ideas, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts (CCCs). These lessons and resources deepen understanding of climate change and of two major CCCs.
Art Sussman, Senior Project Director, WestEd

Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool: Teaching the Science of Sound Through Music
Dr. Bob’s SoundSchool is a 10-week experiential STEAM curriculum which teaches the science of sound through the magic of music to second-grade students. Throughout the curriculum, our goal is that children hear, touch, and feel sound with each activity, using electronic and acoustic instruments.
Michelle Moog-Koussa, Executive Director, Bob Moog Foundation

You Wind Some You Lose Some
Student engineers will be testing different blade designs of a wind turbine in order to maximize the power output. Students will be writing a formal lab report and organizing powerpoint team presentations in order to convince the public how society can utilize wind energy more efficiently.
Jamie Larson, Physics Teacher, Da Vinci Science High School

Connecting STEM and Literacy in the K-8 Classroom
Come learn how a K-8 STEM academy has developed STEM based interdisciplinary units of study that have significantly increased student achievement, especially for English learners and struggling readers. The design model makes every classroom lesson highly engaging with hands-on, minds-on learning experiences and opportunities for all students, everyday!
Patricia Maruca, Executive Director/Principal, Discovery Charter School

Let’s Prepare, Care and Share! Real Life Lessons About Earthquakes!
Prepare: What causes quakes? How do we prepare so we can stay safe? Care: Many places are affected by quakes! Why did the buildings suffer so much damage in Haiti, but not in Japan or the United States? Share: Is there anything we can do to help the people Haiti?
Camie Walker, Teacher & Facilitator Science Methods, Elementary & University of Phoenix

Colorimetry Made Easy Using DIY Instruments and Mobile Devices
The Community Science Academy @ Caltech (csa.caltech.edu), IO Rodeo (iorodeo.com), and L.A. Biohackers (biohackers.la) join forces to offer a hands-on lesson that uses a DIY colorimeter to measure solutes present in water collected from various sources. A free iPad application provides a way to collaboratively learn concepts and analyze data.
Douglas Foster, L.A. Biohackers

Integrating Geospatial Technologies for Underwater Data Collection and Analysis
Students at Clark Magnet High School use a remotely operated vehicle to collect underwater data for mapping and analysis in ArcGIS. Geotagged photographs and video taken by the ROV document the study area. Students use the ROV to investigate relevant marine issues and ArcGIS to model plausible solutions.
Dominique Evans-Bye, Teacher, Clark Magnet High School

Water Water Everywhere – Not a Drop to Spare
In this unit, students use chemistry, environmental biology, nanoscience and engineering concepts. The students collected data about local water and then used the data to design a water treatment proposal. Students learned about buffer systems and nanoscience through laboratories and applied the knowledge to an engineering challenge.
Cara Hale-Hanes, McBride High School

Where Has Mars’ Atmosphere Gone? Working with the MAVEN Mission
Using hands-On labs with instructions that you can take back to your classroom, learn about how you can teach your students about Earth’s magnetic field by mapping the magnetic field and then learn about Mars’ magnetic field by mapping its field and how does the relationship to the MAVEN Mission.
Dara DeVicariis, Earth Science Teacher, Colton High School

The M.Y. S.P.A.C.E. Program (Multinational Youth Studying Practical Applications of Climatic Events)
Join M.Y. S.P.A.C.E. – an international high school collaborative engaged in research on local impacts of global environmental issues. Students and their teachers use locally generated and satellite-based data mentored by NOAA and NASA, then meet annually to discover global trends in their collective data and present their findings.
Pete Arvedson, Science Teacher, Ret., Satellite Educators Association

Story Maps for STEM
Students at Clark Magnet High School use free online mapping software from ESRI to implement CCSS and NGSS. This presentation will showcase how Earth Science, Life Science and Physical Science disciplinary core ideas can be explored and communicated by students using GIS technology.
Alex Day-Blattner, Teacher, Clark Magnet High School

Underwater Robotics – Middle School, High School & College
Underwater Robotics in the classroom will be displayed showing teacher resources and completed Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) from Middle School, High School and College level programs.
Scott Fraser, Professor, Long Beach City College

Modeling DNA – Unlocking the Code
Students made and used three different models to learn about DNA and its role in protein synthesis. Models included a computer model, and two physical models. Students also evaluated the models for limitations and benefits of use.
Rachel Poland, Teacher, Innovation Middle School

Focus and Explore Wave Energy and STEM Education K-8
Focus on getting started with STEM education while effectively teaching the Next Generation Science Standards through inquiry-based practices instruction. Explore how to prepare your students for future careers in the 21st-century workforce and ensure effective achievement. Leave with tools to accelerate your STEM journey.
Susan Dewberry, Carolina Biological

Are Everywhere
The Aquarium of the Pacific strives to provide its audience a global perspective of complex Earth systems and tell stories about our planet and the environment. The wide variety of high-tech instruments monitoring our planet from space, on Earth’s surface, and under the ocean, are providing large amounts of data in real time, allowing scientists to understand the planet better than ever before. Join us as we introduce you to free data focus programs for the classroom and participate in data collection via a kelp forest ethogram.
Aquarium of the Pacific Staff

AstroAdventures
Experience all the excitement of being an astronaut without leaving school! Learn about the forces, temperatures, and pressure that exist in space. You can even launch a rocket!
California Science Center Staff

Membrane Engineering
People with kidneys that have failed need a way to exchange the wastes in their blood with the outside environment. This occurs through a membrane. We will be designing membranes whose structure functions to facilitate fast, efficient exchange of materials.
Philip Hudec, Palm Springs USD

Thanks to all our awesome CSTA members who graciously shared their expertise with colleagues after a long day of conference sessions. You rock!

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.