May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Greetings from Your New Director in Region 1

Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

I wanted to begin my new term as CSTA Region 1 Director with a brief introduction and then some highlights from our region. I am Marian Murphy-Shaw, I currently live about as far north in California as you can get, in Mount Shasta City. I am entering my 15th year with Siskiyou County Office of Education as an Educational Services Director. Prior to that I taught for 10 years in grades 5 through 12 both in Siskiyou and Alameda counties, I worked as an intern on a controlled life support system at NASA Ames and proudly attended Mills College, then CSU Eastbay (Hayward State back then). I have to take a minute here and thank my Hayward faculty advisor Dr. Stronck for introducing me to CSTA!

Back then I never pictured myself on the CSTA Board of Directors, and I want to remind other educators to consider joining the board – especially classroom teachers. It is a great connection to science education, fabulous colleagues, and is not exclusive to any type of experience. Just do it! I enjoyed my prior role as secretary and look forward to this new role communicating with and about CSTA Region 1.

Region 1 is huge. It includes Alpine, Amador, Butte, Calaveras, Colusa, Del Norte, El Dorado, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, Tuolomne, Yolo, and Yuba Counties! I look forward to hearing from CSTA members and our many science colleagues in this vast area about events, projects, science centers, STEM partnerships, you name it! Share with me please, and we can let science educators Pre-school through college know what is happening in their region.

Back to school time (August through September) is a hectic time for teachers as well as exciting. Planning your year is a big part of that- whether it’s field trips or your own professional learning. Below are some resources to help get you started. Some events in our region may still be a few months away, but in order to plan for them, get your subs, and coordinate with others you may attend with, now is the time to start planning so you can get to the events you see as best serving your students and schools. Science professional learning will be coming at us fast and furious, so get ready!
website-banner_register

Far North NGSS Roll Out 2 – November 2-3, 2015

Scheduled for Red Bluff at the Tehama County Department of Education, this is the furthest north of the 8 currently scheduled events statewide. Please limit your district teams to 4-6 people. This will allow for additional districts to participate as space is limited. Ideally, teams should include an Administrator or Curriculum Leader in addition to Teacher Leaders. These sessions build on last October’s NGSS Symposium 1, so teams are encouraged to bring teachers who attended that event.
Register online

Leadership Matters! Symposium #1– September 2, 2015

“Ignite Learning with a Growth Mindset”
Presented by: Jennifer Lawson, Ed.D. and Emily Diehl
The Mindset Works company is based on “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck, Ph.D.

The growth mindset, the understanding of intelligence and abilities as qualities we can develop, has been shown over and over to have powerful ramifications on student motivation and learning, and school success. Participants will explore several tools, resources, and strategies to deepen their understanding of mindset’s role in schools as well as how to:
1. change their mindsets and
2. cultivate growth mindsets in students.

Breakout for Teachers: Applying Growth Mindsets in K-12 Classrooms
In this session, teachers will explore teaching and assessment practices that cultivate growth mindsets. Teachers will view resources and models and work to apply the concepts to their specific teaching assignments.

Breakout for School Leaders: Leading Change with a Growth Mindset
In this session school leaders will learn about what it takes to begin the journey of creating growth mindset school cultures. Administrators, Coaches and Teachers who influence and lead are all encouraged to attend and work to apply these concepts to their specific assignments and needs.
Register online with the Tehama CDE

Located in Bidwell Park in Chico, CA the Chico Creek Nature Center provides an excellent and accessible opportunity to teach valuable lessons of the natural world and the need for stewardship of the environment. For over thirty years the center has provided quality educational programs on the natural systems of Bidwell Park to elementary school students and the general public, using Bidwell Park as a classroom. Our Naturalists on staff bring academic backgrounds in sciences to programs aligned with standards established by the California public school system. Call (530) 891-4671 for more information or to book your field trip today!

Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding, CA offers a wide variety of educational programs that will fascinate your students with exciting hands-on activities that correspond with California state curriculum. More than 14,000 visitors a year experience our school tour programs, from northern California, western Nevada and southern Oregon, to learn about the Sacramento River region, science, art, history, forestry and horticulture. For more information about California state curriculum requirements or to schedule a field trip call 530-242-3108

ScienceWorks, located in Ashland, OR offers an experience for school groups like no other in far northern California and southern Oregon. The Field Trip Program is designed to spark student interest in science, support instruction of content and process standards, and provide a fun, multi-sensory environment that encourages discussion and collaborative learning. ScienceWorks staff members and trained volunteers guide students through a program that includes labs, demonstrations and team investigations. We hope to see your class here soon! You can start your trip registration online. If you have any additional questions that were not addressed here, please feel free to contact us at 541-482-6767 x226.

Bay Area Science Festival – October 22 –November 7, 2015
Though technically Region 2 many of you are close enough to make use of this resource.

The 5th annual Bay Area Science Festival returns this fall with over 50 events throughout the Bay Area. Be entertained, be educated, and fall in love with science all over again. Over 200 science, technology, and engineering organizations will present the fun and excitement of science through hands-on, interactive exhibits, science-themed performances and demonstrations, and family-oriented entertainment. Participating organizations range from leading research institutes and universities to high tech companies, museums and community organizations. Full festival schedule will be released on 9/8/15.

SAVE THE DATES!

Workshops for Science in the River City (SIRC)
Location:  Sacramento State University
6000 J St.
Sacramento, CA 95819

Thursday, October 15, 2015 –  4:30-6:30
Tuesday, November 10, 2015 –  6:00-8:00
Tuesday, December 8, 2015 –  4:30-6:30
Tuesday, January 26, 2016 –  4:30-6:30
Tuesday, February 23, 2016 –  4:30-6:30
Tuesday, March 29, 2016 –   4:30-6:30

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.

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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.