May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Earth Science Events Shake Things Up for October!

Posted: Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

by Cindy Pridmore

Earth_Science_Week_LogoEarth Science Week occurs October 12-18 this year, and the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) has a website packed full of information and online resources! Last year at CSTA’s 2013 conference, I was surprised at how most teachers I spoke with were not aware of this national and international event and all the resources associated with it. There are so many ways to get your kids involved and lots of online materials, activities, and contests outlined on the AGI website. This year’s theme is “Earth’s Connected Systems,” which aims to engage everyone in exploring the ways that geoscience provides insight into natural change processes. During Earth Science Week there are daily themes that include International Earthcache Day, Earth Science Literacy Day, No Child Left Inside Day, National Fossil Day, Geoscience for Everyone Day, and Geologic Map Day! For teachers seeking information about our state, the California Geological Survey has Earth Science Week links to California geology, state fossil/mineral/gem, and more.

ShakeOutLogoGet Down for The Great California ShakeOut! On October 16th make sure your class is signed up to participate in the ShakeOut earthquake drill! Many California school districts are registered to participate in this annual earthquake drill, but we still need to spread the word on earthquake awareness, preparedness, and readiness. ShakeOut is endorsed by State Superintendent Tom Torlakson and the American Red Cross, and by participating, your kids can inspire others to better prepare! Districts, schools, and/or classrooms can register to participate. There is flexibility for the timing of your drill – even if you are not able to have it on October 16, any day in October still counts! If you are not sure whether your school is signed up yet you can check online. Last year over 24.9 million people participated globally in this drill! ShakeOut educational resources have been organized for teachers to discuss earthquakes and preparedness in class. For additional information on California earthquakes follow these links to the California Geological Survey, Earthquake Country Alliance, U.S. Geological Survey.

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NAGTFar Western Section-National Association of Geoscience Teachers October 10-12, 2014. This field-oriented conference is open to anyone who has an interest in geology! Geoscience teachers of all levels are encouraged to participate in this conference hosted by California State University Sacramento, as it provides a great opportunity for university, community college, and K-12 educators to network, share insights, and form connections. Continuing education credit will be offered through CSU-Sacramento.

Saturday fieldtrips include the geology of the western Sierra Nevada, geology, and hydrology of the Sacramento Delta, mineral resources of the Yuba Gold Fields (California Mineral Education Foundation), local geology of the Sacramento area, and mercury in the California Gold Rush streams. Executive Officer of the California Mining and Geology Board, Stephen Testa, will speak Friday evening providing a fascinating overview of California’s early days of mapping and gold mining, and the formative years of the state’s higher education plan. Stephen’s presentations are always sprinkled with wit, wry humor, and nuggets of insight and perspective. The Saturday evening speaker is Sue McClurg, Executive Director of the Water Education Foundation speaking on central California’s Bay Delta Conservation Plan. Sue is an award winning journalist and is the author of Water & the Shaping of California. The Water Education Foundation is the California Coordinator for Project WET.

The NAGT-FW conference also offers a choice half-day workshops and field trips on Sunday that cover mineral properties and mineral uses, atmospheric circulation modeling and the NGSS, historical geology and the use of ChronoZoom, Consumnes River Preserve, and dinosaurs and other Mesozoic reptiles of California. For more details about the conference, registration, field trips, and location of events, go to the NAGT-FW website.

Stay tuned for future news of the upcoming 2015 Spring NAGT Far Western Section Conference, which will be held at California State University Bakersfield.

Cindy Pridmore is an Engineering Geologist at the California Geological Survey, and works in Seismic Hazards & Education and Public Outreach; she is a member of CSTA.

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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 California NGSS k-8 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.