September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

Diversifying Science Classroom Practice – Engaging with the ‘Youtube Generation’

Posted: Monday, October 1st, 2012

by Brendan O’Brien 

What is

60SecondScience is a fully online International Video Competition sponsored by the Department of Education (DEECD-Innovation Next Practice Division), Victoria, Australia. Since its first iteration in 2008, it has enjoyed continual growth and appeal, from 30 Victorian school-only participants, to well over 300 science videos uploaded in 2012, with over 1100 registering from 40 countries. The competition is Free to Enter and links directly to required student outcomes over a number of Science, Citizenship and ICT Learning Standards. $10,000 in cash prizes is distributed each year, as determined by a prestigious International panel of judges. There are Divisions which cater for students of different ages.

Why is used in Science Classrooms?

Teachers can engage the interests and skills of students in a way that increases the depth of their science knowledge as they hone their multimedia skills.  Many of today’s students are an entrenched part of  the ‘youtube generation’ and are more than comfortable with being producers of content, whereas other generations were comfortable as mere consumers of content. Many students are ‘over’ powerpoint reports by the time they get to secondary and High School settings, and are happy to shoot video on their smart-phones, flipcams, videocameras or webcams. The competition is easily adapted to be used not as an add-on, but as a contingent element within the existing science curriculum

How is used in Secondary/High School Science Classrooms?

  1. Teachers give students the option of making a 60second video to demonstrate their understanding of a topic or unit of work they are studying/researching in any area of the senior science curriculum. Eg Chemistry-physics: Sublimation, Doppler Effect, Newton’s Laws, Occipital Lobe, Projectile Motion, Chemical BondingHot air balloon physics

Making a short explanatory video is often done as an alternative to producing a written report, poster or Powerpoint.

  1. Teachers give the student teams the option to make a ‘prac report video’ instead of the standard ‘written’ prac report. Eg. Photosynthesis, The Law of Reflection, Heart-rate, Thermal expansion, Displacement Reactions.

In both cases, students are required to research deeply and collaborate closely to refine their understandings and condense their knowledge to convey their key concepts and ideas into the 60second format.


How is used in Primary/Elementary Science Classrooms?

Students work with their teacher on a particular science topic or integrated study unit, and produce a video over a number of weeks as part of their weekly routine. This can be used as a science teaching strategy at any grade level.
eg. Grade 3/4: The Mpemba Effect, Grade 5/6 Lemon Battery, Grade 1 Temperature, Grade 6 Plant Osmosis

How does support Multicultural Classrooms?

The LOTE Divisions encourage entrants to use Languages Other Than English. Eg Cantonese, IndonesianItalian, Chinese, French, Cantonese, Malayalam,


International primary / elementary school division – $400/$100
International secondary / high school division $400/$100
International Open – $400/$100 professional/amateur film-makers, teachers.
International LOTE –$250 with English sub-titles, spoken in a Language Other Than English.
Best Cinematography – $250 for videos in any Division
Best Animation – $250 for videos in any Division
Worst Cola-Candy-Mint-Lolly video – All Cola-Candy-Mint-Lolly videos are AUTOMATICALLY registered in this Division) and the ‘Winner’ gets a Certificate + offer of free online video production and science workshop for teachers and students

The competition website has had well over 700,000 video downloads

2013 Deadline:
register by 5 August 2013, Upload videos by 5 August 2013 


Brendan O’Brien
Science, eLearning | DEECD, Hume Region, Victoria, Australia |0438 420 027
Twitter: @Brendano

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.

Leave a Reply


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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.