May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Events in December 2014 and early January 2015 in CSTA’s Region 2

Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

by Minda Berbeco

Opportunities abound in CSTA’s Region 2, which includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Solano counties.

Mid-Late December 2014:

Kitchen Chemistry: The Science Of Food
Saturday, 12/13/14 3-4pm
Chabot Space and Science Center
Everyone’s a chemist in the kitchen! It’s time to play with your food and explore the microbiology, nanoscience, physics, and chemistry of the edibles we love.  Enjoy demonstrations and hands-on experiments on everyday treats and ingredients – from yogurt to yeast, oobleck to ice cream! For more information, visit their website at: https://14884.blackbaudhosting.com/14884/page.aspx?pid=196&tab=2&txobjid=c245e802-3550-49eb-b1dd-1a840aa1061d

The Science of (Holiday) Light Walking Tour (Preview tour)

Sunday, 12/14/14 6:30-8pm
Dolores Park
Join us on this festive trek and gain a new appreciation for some of the city’s most spectacular light displays. We’ll stroll along San Francisco stairways, side streets, and scenic vistas, admiring the local holiday handiwork while doing experiments with color mixing and animation, and talking about light. Learn about the history of holiday lights, enjoy some seasonal treats, and bask in the glow that lights the winter’s night. For more information, visit their website at: http://www.discoverystreettours.com/

It’s Ptough to be a Pteropod!
Saturday, 12/20/14 1-2:30pm
Bay Model Visitors Center
Visitors will measure and observe changing chemistry in an ocean-like environment, explore the complex food web, and discuss potential solutions to slow that change. Target Audience: 4th grade and up. For more information, visit their website at:
http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/BayModelVisitorCenter.aspx

Early January 2015:

Free Entry Days at:
Bay Area Discovery Museum, First Wednesday of the month
UC Botanical Gardens, First Thursday of the month
Oakland Museum of California, First Sunday of the month

Super-cool Science Parties and lectures:
Nerd Nite East Bay, Last Monday of the month
Nerd Nite San Francisco, Third Wednesday of the month
Night Life, Thursdays, 6-10 pm, at the California Academy of Sciences
After Dark, First Thursday of the month, 6-10 pm, at the Exploratorium
Café Inquiry, First Thursday of the month, 6pm, at Café Borrone, Menlo Park

Point Reyes National Seashore Fungus Fair
Sunday, 01/04/15 10:00 AM – 04:00 PM
Point Reyes National Seashore
Mushrooms will be on display at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Visitors are invited to attend free lectures in the auditorium.
For more information, visit their website at: http://www.bayareamushrooms.org/calendar.html

Introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards:  A Paradigm Shift in Teaching and Learning
Wednesday, 01/07/15, 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
Solano County Office of Education (Fairfield)
This full-day workshop will highlight the many shifts required of both teachers and learners under the Next Generation Science Standards.  In the morning session, participants will engage in an overview of the NGSS and its Three Dimensions.  During the afternoon sessions, participants will be invited to experience either a K-5 or 6-12 session.  Each of these sessions will further explore the NGSS with an emphasis on the impact it will have within K-5 and 6-12 classrooms. http://www.cascd.org/event-calendar/ngss—fairfield—1_7_15.php

Bird Walk Hike at Lake Merritt in Oakland
Saturday, 01/10/15 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Lindsay Wildlife Museum
January is the perfect time to observe wintering waterfowl. Join the Lindsay Wildlife Museum for a morning of birding with experienced birdwatchers from the Mt Diablo Audubon Society. Bring your binoculars and learn how to tell the difference between a tern and a gull. Bird walk hike will be at Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Map and directions will be sent after registration is completed. To register online: http://wildlife-museum.org/cart/registration/4108
For more information, visit their website at: http://wildlife-museum.org/

The Venus Fly trap and other Amazing Carnivorous Plants
Saturday, 01/10/15 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
UC Botanical Garden
John Bartram was the first to introduce the Venus Fly Trap into cultivation. Family members of all age are invited to discover some of the fascinating and beautiful plants that can eat insects. Get up close with the amazing leaf adaptations as you learn more
about them.
For more information, visit their website at: http://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar/sn/bot.html?event_ID=83269&date=2015-01-10

2015 Stanford Brain Bee
Saturday, 01/10/15 12:00 PM – 05:00 PM
Hewlett Teaching Center Stanford University
The Stanford Brain Bee is a local qualifying round of the International Brain Bee (IBB), a neuroscience competition exclusively for high school students ages 14-18. The Stanford Brain Bee involves both a written component and a live oral Q&A session. In addition to the competition, students will have the opportunity to attend a presentation by a Stanford neuroscientist and speak with Stanford professors and students from the medical, biosciences, and neuroscience fields.

The IBB motivates students to learn about the brain, captures their imagination, and inspires them to pursue neuroscience careers in order to help treat and find cures for neurological and psychological disorders. There are currently about 150 Local Brain Bee coordinators in 30 countries worldwide that conduct competitions annually. The winner of each Local Bee is invited to attend the National Brain Bee (NBB) competition in his or her own country, and the winner of each NBB is invited to compete in the International Brain Bee Championship.

Deadline to register December 27, 2014. More details at http://oso.stanford.edu/programs/125-stanford-brain-bee

For more information, visit their website at: http://oso.stanford.edu/programs/125-stanford-brain-bee

Groundwater: California’s Real Buried Gold
Tuesday, 01/13/15 7:00 PM – 09:00 PM
St. Albans Parish Hall, Albany
California stores far more water than falls as rain or snow, or can be held in reservoirs. But this hidden treasure has been treated first-come, winner-take-all. California’s new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and just-passed Proposition 1 bring opportunities to use groundwater more wisely. Environmental attorney Tina Cannon Leahy, Principal Consultant to the California Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife, and the Assembly’s primary water law and policy expert, outlines the value and complexity of groundwater, along with opportunities.

For more information, visit their website at: http://www.fivecreeks.org/calendar.shtml

Check back in early January 2015 for more!

Written by Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco is the Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education and is CSTA’s Region 2 Director.

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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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org 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.