May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

CSTA Night at the Aquarium – NGSS Science & Engineering Showcase Presenters Announced!

Posted: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

The 2014 NSTA Long Beach Area Conference – in Collaboration with CSTA is just one month away! If you have not already registered for what promises to be the professional learning event of the year for California science educators – it is not too late! Make plans to join more than 2,200 science teachers in Long Beach this December 4 – 6. Discounted registration rates are available through November 14, 2014. Please register today. Remember – both CSTA and NSTA members have the benefit of being able to register at member rates (a $90 savings).

If you have already made your plans to attend the Long Beach conference – please mark your conference schedules with these two CSTA events:

CSTA Night at the Aquarium of the Pacific NGSS Science & Engineering Showcase – Thursday, December 4, 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm

Tickets are limited – purchase yours today (only $10 for CSTA members and $25 for nonmmebers – ticket price includes light food, admission into the Aquarium for the event, and one beverage).

CSTA, with the support of Chevron and the Aquarium of the Pacific, is hosting a very special evening at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Participants will enjoy light appetizers and full access to the Aquarium. But that is not all! In addition, the evening will feature the NGSS Science & Engineering Showcase! Educators from across California will present their project, program, idea, and classroom-tested best practices for implementing NGSS and/or bringing engineering into their classroom. Participants will roam the Great Hall of the aquarium and have the opportunity to interact with the “presenters” and learn about their program, project, idea, or best practice. Hands-on opportunities for learning will be available at many tables. Presenters will have materials available on Edmodo for you to access during and after the event. A complete listing of Showcases is available on the CSTA website.

In addition to the showcases, CSTA is pleased to announce that the following “short talks” will be presented during the evening in the Aquarium’s small auditorium:

Karla Heidelberg, Associate Professor (Teaching) of Biological Sciences, Director of USC Environmental Studies Program

Life in Deep Sea Hydrothermal Vents: Using Technology to Study Biodiversity in Extreme Environments
Hydrothermal vents would seem a tough place to live – thousands of metres down in the permanently dark ocean, immersed in superheated water with a toxic cocktail of chemicals. However, these seemingly hostile environments host abundant and active trophic food webs and are very important ecosystems in the deep ocean. This talk will describe how state-of-the art technology is used to study these environments and the lessons we are learning about the extreme limits of life.

Michael Gunson, Global Change & Energy Program Manager & OCO-2 Project Scientist, Jet Propulsion Lab, California Institute of Technology

Earth Science from Space! Why I Love My Day Job Spying on Carbon with the NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory
NASA launched the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO-2) on July 2, 2014 and has been operational, taking measurements routinely since October. This satellite takes a million samples every day, and from those least affected by the presence of clouds, measures the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. These measurements are cumulatively designed to test hypotheses or address questions around where on the Earth’s surface around half of all the carbon dioxide produced by human activity has been absorbed. OCO-2, as with all large-scale satellite experiments, represents the work and collaboration of hundreds of engineers and scientists across NASA, industry and academia.

Erin Burkett, Geophysicist, USGS

Understanding Earthquakes: Science, Technology, and Resources
Geologic context of why we have earthquakes, specific earthquake risk in CA, how we monitor earthquakes, earthquake early warning, and resources available through the USGS and partners.

 

 

 

Mas Dojiri, Division Manager, Environmental Monitoring Division, Hyperion Treatment Plant

Monitoring Pollution in Santa Monica Bay: Science Influencing Management
The presentation will consist of an overview of the City of Los Angeles Environmental Monitoring Division’s ocean monitoring program in Santa Monica Bay, including microbiological testing of the beaches, determination of effluent (treated sewage) plume location, analyses of infaunal invertebrates and trawled fishes, chemical analyses, toxicity testing, and bioaccumulation of toxic pollutants in seafood. A brief summary of EMD’S other programs and special studies will also be presented.

Steven Manley, Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, California State University – Long Beach

Kelp Watch 2014: Design, Recent Results, and Surprises
Kelp Watch 2014 (KW14) is a scientific campaign that uses Giant Kelp as a coastal detector of Fukushima released radioisotopes predicted to arrive on our coast in 2014. KW14 will also provide data on the extent these radioisotopes have entered our kelp forest ecosystem. KW14 involves more than 50 scientists and educators from various organizations, sampling kelp from 48 sites primarily on the west coast of North America but also including Chile, Hawaii, Guam and Tasmania. The rationale of this truly collaborative project along with recent results will be presented.

CSTA Annual Meeting, Awards Presentation, and Keynote Address

Thursday, December 4, 3:15 pm – 4:30 pm, Long Beach Convention Center

Annual Meeting and Awards Presentation:

Join CSTA for the annual meeting of members! CSTA President, Laura Henriques will deliver an update on the state of the association and the state of science education in California. Following the annual meeting of members, CSTA will present the awards for the 2014 Future Science Teacher (Laurie Gillis), Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award (Herb Brunkhorst), and Distinguished Contributions Award (Chevron and Water Education Foundation/California Project WET). CSTA and the California Department of Education (CDE) will together honor this year’s California State Finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) (Kirsten Johnson, Julie McGough, Stefanie Pechan, and Erica Rood) and the Awardee of the 2012 PAEMST (Alma Suney Park). Following the presentation of awards will be the keynote presentation by Stephen Pruitt of Achieve.

Using the Tools of the NGSS to Support Quality Science Instruction
Stephen L. Pruitt, Sr. Vice President, Achieve, Inc.

Join Stephen as he provides updates on the various NGSS tools under development and how to use them with teachers to provide a deeper understanding of the NGSS. For the past four years, Stephen has been leading the development of the NGSS. Between 2003 and 2010, he held various roles at the Georgia Department of Education, culminating with him being named chief of staff to the state school superintendent. He also served on the National Academies of Science’s Committee on Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards, which developed the NRC Framework.

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.