May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

CSULB Alumnus, Faculty Member Honored By California Science Teachers Association

Posted: Thursday, November 1st, 2012

Republished with permission from Everything Long Beach

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) named California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) science education teaching credential alumnus Josiah Jones as the 2012 Future Science Teacher Award winner and CSULB adjunct science faculty member Dean Gilbert as the Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award recipient.

Josiah Jones named the 2012 Future Science Teacher Award winner by The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA)

Both Jones and Gilbert were recognized at CSTA’s annual Science Education Conference, Oct. 19-21, in San Jose, Calif.

Jones is CSULB’s seventh Future Science Teacher recipient since 2005, said Laura Henriques, chair of CSULB’s Department of Science Education, who nominated him.  The award comes with a $1,000 prize from SeaWorld San Diego in recognition of exceptional college students who demonstrate a commitment to science education along with volunteerism and professional activities.

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) named Dean Gilbert as the Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award recipient.

He received dual bachelor of science degrees in environmental science and geography at UC Santa Barbara before earning his credential in earth science at CSULB, where he received a National Science Foundation Robert Noyce Scholarship for science teaching preparation—CSULB’s fourth Noyce scholar to be a CSTA honoree.  He also taught for two summers in the university’s Science Education Experience to Help Underserved Students Succeed program, a two-week daytime science camp for homeless children in Long Beach.

He did his student teaching at Long Beach’s Wilson Classical High School, which hired him to teach earth science and Advance Placement environmental science beginning this fall.

“I was blown away.  I received a letter in the mail and couldn’t believe the words on the page,” Jones said of the award.  “I knew CSULB had a great track record for winning the award and Laura mentioned that my extra work and experience while completing my credential would help my chances, but I never thought I’d actually be selected.  I had pretty low expectations and was very surprised to win.  I was simply doing all I could to be a better teacher, but I never thought I’d win an award for it.  It’s an absolute honor and I’m humbled to be selected.

“The Science Education program at CSULB has really helped me learn the teaching profession and begin my career,” he continued.  “They have given me fantastic support and guidance all throughout my program and even beyond it.  Through countless development workshops, extensive community contacts and various hands-on teaching experiences, they have provided me with ample opportunities to hone my craft.  The Science Education program at CSULB is much more than just a credential program—they are passionate and will do anything they can to help you succeed in your career.”

Having so many CSTA honorees “speaks to the depth of our program and the richness of experience that we offer to students,” Henriques said.  “When CSTA is looking at the award, they’re looking for more than just somebody who has a credential and wants to be a teacher.  They want to know that they’ve done volunteer opportunities and had experiences with kids beyond just what the credential program would require of them.  So, Josiah and the others before him have been involved in multiple activities beyond what they need to do to get their teaching credential and I think that makes them stand out.”

Gilbert is science coordinator with the Orange County Department of Education and previously held similar positions with the Los Angeles County Department of Education and Long Beach Unified School District.  He has taught an Integrated Science Education class at CSULB.

“Dean has been a partner with us for years,” said Henriques, adding that in addition to teaching, Gilbert assisted her department in placing or supervising CSULB student science teachers as part of his duties with various educational agencies.  “He is the most committed, passionate science educator that I know and I’m really excited that he got this award.  He’s such a huge advocate for science teaching and learning.”

“I am honored to be selected as the 2012 recipient of the Margaret Nicholson Award,” Gilbert said.  “It is amazing to be recognized by colleagues at the state level for my contributions to improve science education in our state and nation.  My motivation is and has always been to improve the educational experiences for students.”

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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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:

Please contact Rosanne Luu at 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.