CSTA Region 1 – February 2016 Update
Posted: Monday, February 8th, 2016
by Marian Murphy-Shaw
Here we are a month into the new year – how are your resolutions holding up? I recently had a wonderful conversation on this topic with a very thoughtful science education colleague. She shared a science education idea for a resolution. I decided to give it a try as well as share the idea here.
In the past, she recounted, she would take teachings from a book like “Good to Great” or “The Speed of Trust”, etc. and focus her efforts for a year on one of the themes for self improvement. This year she decided to focus on NGSS! Her resolution is to look for and make use of Crosscutting Concepts.
We thought about that together, and while some CCC’s like Patterns are easily found and used from years of practice teaching science, others like Structure and Function seem worthy of more careful consideration. I am a month into this and finding my awareness of CCC’s all around me has increased. I am able to consider them as driving themes for the way the world works and then use certain DCI’s, from a variety of disciplines, as examples of what a given CCC “looks” like. Funny thing – that translates pretty quickly into good conversations at work about how to design NGSS learning experiences without always starting from a discipline specific topic. Give it try – if you have not already – and maybe resolve to look more deeply at NGSS as a way to see the world. After all, that is what we are all working to help our students learn to do.
Those of you within reach of Sonoma to Monterey counties should check out the Science Schmooze February calendar of events. It is a fabulous resource for teachers and gives opportunities for weekend family fun centered around science. Check out events from Moss Beach Low Tide Walks to Coastal Paleontology at Point Reyes this month.
Those of you in the southern range of Region 1, especially in smaller schools where you may teach both math and science, might like to know about how to teach to the increased rigor, and certainly application to science, of 6-8 statistics.
Making Statistical Connections in Middle School: Facilitator Training
The most recent California Mathematics Content Standards have incorporated statistics and probability standards in grades 6-8. The California Mathematics Project (CMP), in partnership with the California Mathematics Council (CMC) and the California Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (CAMTE), has developed a series of modules for middle school teachers to support the teaching and learning of statistics and probability. This facilitator training will take a close look at the modules, instructional guides for facilitators, and the materials available for use with teachers, focusing specifically on grades 6-8. The training will be held on February 29-March 1, 2016 in Fresno. Participants will receive access to the statistics modules in iBook or PDF format, as well as Facilitator Notes and Teacher Resources.
To register online, go to http://ucla.in/1Qwgjiu.
For more information, visit https://sites.google.com/a/cmpso.org/statistics/
Contact Ann Park with any questions: email@example.com
Also from Region 1 this month, the Center for Mathematics and Science Educationat CalState Sacramento has a series of workshops. To find out more: http://www.csus.edu/mase/sem_inst/sirc.htm
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 http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
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. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
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
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…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
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…
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…