September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

Events for August 2014

Posted: Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

by David Pummill

The Gateway Science Museum at California State University, Chico
625 Esplanade (near Bidwell Mansion), Chico CA 95926 Phone: 530-898-4121

Class Field Trips Fall 2014 Scheduling Open Now!

Explore Evolution
Wednesday – Sunday through August 31, 2014, 12:00 pm – 5:00 PM
Explore Evolution investigates evolutionary principles in organisms ranging from the smallest to the largest. The project focuses on seven research projects that have made a major contribution to our understanding of evolution. This interactive exhibit gives visitors an opportunity to experience how scientists conduct research on evolution. This exhibit features the work of the following scientists:

Turtle Bay Exploration Park
844 Sundial Bridge Drive, Redding, CA 96001 Phone: 800-TURTLEBAY (800-887-8532)

Walk on the Wild Side Animal Show
Sunday, through September 1, 11:00 am & 12:00 pm, (NO LATE SEATING)
(Special Monday show on Labor Day, Sept. 1)
Marvel as a hawk flies inches from your head. See a porcupine up close and personal. Watch a fox use its tail to balance on a narrow edge. Join us for a fun-filled educational wildlife show, and see animals showcasing their natural behaviors in a captivating and inspiring atmosphere. This show is one that you won’t soon forget.

Pacific Coast Air Museum
One Museum Way, Santa Rosa, CA 95043 Phone: 707-575-7900

Reconnaissance Weekend is Saturday & Sunday, August 16 & 17, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
“Climb Aboard” our vintage aircraft and learn about the history of where and how they were used from the crew who has lovingly restored them.

This month we are featuring our reconnaissance birds:

F-8U Crusader: Similar to those used to reconnoiter Soviet missile bases in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962.
RF-86F Sabre: One of the United States’ earliest high-speed jet reconnaissance craft.
SR-71 Blackbird Nose: The nose, astro navigation system, and tracking camera of this mysterious and legendary cold war spyplane, whose true performance parameters are still classified.
D-21 Drone: A mach-3+ reconnaissance drone, intended to be carried on the back of a super-secret Lockheed A-12.

This is a rare opportunity to get a close-up look and sit in the cockpits of these historic aircraft.
Visit the website for more opportunities to “Climb Aboard” this fall.

The Discovery Museum Space and Science Center
3615 Auburn Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95821 Phone: 916-808-3942
Summer Schedule: Open daily, Monday – Friday 10:00 am – 4:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10:00 am – 4:30 pm. Planetarium and Family Feature on Saturdays and Sundays only.

Saturday & Sunday, August 2 & 3, 2014
Meet a Rock Hound!
Visit the Discovery Museum to meet and learn from a local “rock hound.” This geology enthusiast is bringing his amazing collection of rocks and fossils that he has collected over the years. See a bendable rock, a mineral that bends light, a whale vertebrae fossil and more! There is a family-friendly presentation at noon and 2:00 pm for all ages. Each family gets a free poster as a souvenir (as supplies last). Planetarium shows are at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm are included with admission (ages 4 and above only).

Saturday & Sunday, August 9 & 10, 2014
Volcanic Blast!
Did you know there are 1,900 active volcanoes on earth? Or that that lava can reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit? Learn about volcanoes and their impact on planet earth this weekend at the Discovery Museum. Volcano demonstrations take place at noon and 2:00 pm. Kids 12 and under receive a volcanic rock to take home, plus a make-and-take paper volcano craft. Enjoy the volcano area of the Blast from the Past exhibit. Planetarium shows are at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm are included with admission (ages 4 and above only).
Saturday & Sunday, August 16 & 17, 2014
Breathe California
Take a deep breath and meet our special guests from Breathe California. They’ll teach your family all about Sacramento’s air. The family feature at noon or 2:00 pm will explore the connection between clean air and healthy lungs. Learn how food waste is used to help improve our air quality! Children 12 and under are invited to create and decorate a model of a wind turbine to take home (from 12:30 pm-4:00 pm). Admission includes planetarium shows at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm for ages 4 and older.

August 23-29: Closed for Exhibit Maintenance
We’re closed this week for repairs, cleaning, painting, touch-ups, tune-ups, fix-ups, and general maintenance. We’ll be back open in time for three days of LABOR DAY FUN!

Saturday, Sunday & Monday, August 30, 31, and September 1, 2014
Labor Day Fun!
Enjoy the holiday weekend by showing your patriotic pride. Visit the Discovery Museum this weekend for a self-guided tour of our Blast from the Past exhibit. Kids crafts one of our favorites, a patriotic windsock. Included with admission all three days: planetarium shows at 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm (ages 4 and above only); animal presentations at noon & 2:00 pm (all ages). Picnics are always welcomed on our grounds!

Sacramento Zoo
3930 West Land Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95822 Phone: 916-808-5888

Ice Cream Safari: Saturday, August 16, 2014, 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm
Join us at the 30th annual Ice Cream Safari where you can get all-you-can-eat Baskin Robbins Ice Cream in cones, sundaes and floats along with all-you-can-drink Coca-Cola beverages. Explore the 14-acre zoo with ice cream treats around every corner!
Entertainment for the kids and fun for everyone! Face painting, an Ice Cream Dance Party and live entertainment. Don’t forget to enter the GiRaffle for the chance to win some fun prizes.

Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
18220 North Highway 1, Fort Bragg, CA 95437 Phone: 707-964-4352

Bird Watching with Mendocino Coast Audubon Society
The Gardens attract more than 150 species of birds that live in or visit each year. Join one of the monthly Audubon Society walks. Monthly walks are as follows:
Beginning Birding: 1st Saturday, 9:00 am
Early Bird Walk: 3rd Wednesday, 8:00 am (May through October)

Written by David Pummill

David Pummill

David Pummill is a retired California science teacher and CSTA’s Region 1 Director.

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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.