September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

CSTA Welcomes New and Renewing Members from January and February 2016

Posted: Monday, March 14th, 2016


Our many thanks to the following 174 individuals for joining CSTA or renewing their membership in CSTA in the months of January and February 2016. CSTA has more than 3,000 members and represents science educators in call grade levels K-university. CSTA members enjoy the benefits of:

One-year, three-year, CSTA/NSTA joint membership, new teacher, retired teacher, and preservice teacher memberships are all options that CSTA offers. Visit our membership website for more information.

New and Renewing Members:

Davin Aalto
Candice Aguirre
Peter A’Hearn
Tracy Albrecht
Stephanie Anastasopoulos
Kathleen Anders-Sagan
Bill Andrews
Vivian Ariza
Andrea Aust

Kenneth Balderrama
Kristina Bandziulis
Robyn Battaglia
Jessica Beckham
Michael Beiersdorf
Anne Marie Bergen
Kyla Bradylong
Valarie Broadhead
Barbara Brydon
Jackie Burneson
Heather Butler

Joseph Calmer
Kelly Canino
Juan Catalan
Bill Cavanagh
Jamie Chan
Anjali Chandran
Elizabeth Chang
Cheryl Chase
Sylvia Chatagnier
Alan Chen
Tara Clarke
Koreen Corbett
Diane Coventry
Jen Cox
Christine Crispin
Thomas Crofoot



Adam Daley
Dena Deck
Marina DeGroot
Tova Diaz
Polly Diffenbaugh
Kevin Dufault

Joan Ellis
John Feathers
Christina Fintikakis
Joanne Firestone
Jason Fisk
Aulikki Flagan
Carolyn Fong
Justin Fournier
Sherwood Fuellas

Courtney Gagnon
Anna Gaiter
Bridget Gardea
Prudence Gemmell
Carolyn Gencarella
John Gifford
Maria Giordano-Licoscos
Anna Grace
Jennie Guzman

Wendy Hagan
Stacey Hamamura
Lorie Hammond
John Hampton
Abraham Hanono
Erica Hardbarger
Julie Hargrove
Vickie Harri
Jennifer Hartigan
Lee Anne Hatch
Melody Haughton
Doug Henderson
Herman Hilkey
Amy Hjortland
Linda Hodges
Rick Hoffman
Barbara Hogan
Julie Huffman

Nathan Inouye

Cynthia Jenson-Elliott
Kim Jones

Richard Keene
Michael Kenny
Paul Killian
Laura Kitagawa
Brian Kruse
Benjamin Ku

Chad Lazreg
Janet Lee
Obie Leff
Amanda Libke
Alison Linden
Jose Lopez
Peggy Lubchenco
Nicole Luckin
Jeff Lukens
Glen Lusebrink
Heather Lutes
Taylor Lyen

Suzanna Macedo
Shirley Magnusson
Lilian Marmon
Wendy Marshall
Guadalupe Martin
Sarah Martin
Patricia McBride
Sarah McGrew
Shawna Metcalf
Ellen Metzger
Dorothy Mockus Lubin
Dawn Moffett
Katharine Monsma
Linda Morris
Mark Moss
Sylvia Mulvehill
Heather Murphy

Julie Newdoll
Greg Nicholas
Mary Nowak

Laura O’Dell

Parul Patel
Roger Pence
Nick Perez
Michel Perez
Aileen Perry
Gaia Pine
Krystal Poloka

Erik Ramirez
Gretchen Reynolds
Jennifer Rigby
William Ritz
Lynda Rogers
Jessie Rubner
Amani Rushing

Peter Sabin
Katherine Sanchez
Kaleigh Schiro
Karen Schmidt
Andrea Schnitz
Mike Schulist
Jodye Selco
Susan Selle
Dee Sheahan
April Shishido
Bud Smith
Sarah Soule
Toby Spencer
John Spiegel
Sandra Starr
Christine Steigelman
Georgia Stern
Jamie Stevenson
Jennifer Stewart
Laura Stockton
Gina Stolpestad
Jasmine Suttles
Rajasree Swaminathan

Laurie Thomas
Wayne Thompson
Michelle Trimble
Nelly Tsai
Shelley Turski

Susan Varney
Carolyn Viviano

Jennifer Weibert
Mary Whaley
Arielle Whitacre
Marla White
Ali Widmar
Emily Williams
Karen Wilson
Brian Woods

David Youngblood

Shana Zent

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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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…

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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…

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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.