Earth Science Events Shake Things Up for October!
Posted: Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
by Cindy Pridmore
Earth 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.
Get 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.
Far 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.
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 http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
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. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
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
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…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
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…
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…