September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

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.

Leave a Reply


California Science Assessment Update

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 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.

Some ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in your classroom

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. 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.

2016 Award Recipients – Join CSTA in Honoring Their Accomplishments

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

John Keller

John Keller

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…

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.

NGSS: Making Your Life Easier

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Peter A’hearn

Wait… What?

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Celestial Highlights, September 2016

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.