May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

CSTA WANTS YOU!

Posted: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Rick Pomeroy

Originally coined as part of a recruiting campaign for World War I (Your Country Wants YOU!), this phrase and the various images of Uncle Sam and Lord Kirchner that adorned the posters were responsible for large increases in the enlistments of volunteers on both sides of the Atlantic in 1916-17.  Now, roughly 95 years later, CSTA wants and needs you. We need you to enlist (or re-enlist) as a member of CSTA, we need you to serve in positions of leadership, we need you to volunteer on the committees that do the work of this organization so that we can advocate for high quality science education for all children in California.

Membership is the core value of CSTA. When I took on the position as president of CSTA, I promised that this would be YOUR Association. CSTA exists for science teachers, to advocate for high quality science education for all children, to provide high quality professional development opportunities, and to provide a professional venue for science teachers to collaborate on innovative and effective strategies for preparing a scientifically literate population. This will only work when CSTA actually represents science teachers. Organizations across the country are struggling with membership. During tight budgetary times and as new forms of communication and collaboration enter our lives, we often lose track of the power and value of an organization that represents our collective beliefs. We lose the opportunities to communicate with our peers, when we turn to a worldwide, seemingly unfocused entity for our information and updating our skills and strategies. By focusing on what is most convenient, we lose focus on those things that are specific to California. We lose a sense of being part of something that can make a difference here. Essentially we lose our voice.

As we move into 2012, I encourage you to renew your membership in CSTA and invite at least one new science teacher or new elementary teacher to join. Better yet, offer to sponsor a new teacher as a way of welcoming them into the profession. The cost of joining CSTA is $39 plus there are two membership incentives available. If you are a first or second year teacher, you can become a new member and get your second year’s membership for free, or if you are a current CSTA member, you can get your next year’s membership for free when you get three new members to join. Information about these membership incentives is available on CSTA’s website at http://www.cascience.org/csta/aboutIncentives.asp.

Service is the second place where CSTA wants you. In order to be a part of the changes that are coming this year and in the future, please consider running for one of the open positions on the Board of Directors. The Board sets policies and the agenda for the Association and it oversees structure, venue, and format of the annual conference. CSTA is currently accepting nominations for the positions of Treasurer, 4-Year College Director, High School Director, Intermediate (grades 3-5) Director, Region 2, and Region 4 Directors. Directors will serve a two-year term beginning July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2014. To make a difference, please consider taking a leadership role in YOUR association and running for one of the open positions on the Board. Information about the nomination process can be obtained at the CSTA website: http://www.cascience.org/csta/aboutNominations.asp.

Volunteering to serve on one the committees that do the work of the Board and the association is a third way to shape the future of the organization and science education at the same time. We currently have committees that deal with issues of finance, membership, electronic communications, publications, long term planning, oversight of legislative actions, nominations, conference planning, and NSTA Relations.  Each committee is chaired by a Board member and each has a charge for this year and will develop goals and objectives for the coming years. Committee service is a valuable way to participate in the running of your organization, a way to give back to the association, and a way to become acquainted with CSTA leadership, policies, and organization. It is a great first step for those people who want to take on leadership positions in this professional organization. If you are interested in serving on a committee, please send an email to me at president@cascience.org or write a comment in the comment section below and I will contact you.

As we enter 2012, it would be wrong to say that we are entering a war but we are definitely embarking on a very important and historic campaign. We have a new Conceptual Framework that will guide the development of the Next Generation Science Standards and we have allies in the California Department of Education and STEM based companies throughout California who want to see change in the status quo. However, we are up against tight budget times and bureaucratic inertia. On the positive side, we do have as an ally SB 300, the legislation that directs the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop new Science Standards for the State of California with a tentative roll out of those new standards in Fall 2012 and adoption soon after. These are going to be busy times. As CSTA advocates for higher quality science education for all students, we need your participation and more importantly your voice. We want and need you as members so that our collective voice represents YOUR wishes.

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California, Davis and is CSTA’s president.

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Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis.

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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.