August 2014 – Vol. 26 No. 12

Events in Region 1

Posted: Saturday, February 26th, 2011

March 5, 2011
Humboldt County, CA
Project WET Workshop

The City of Eureka Stormwater Division, North Coast CREEC Network; Humboldt County 4-H, and Sequoia Park Zoo invite you to a Project WET workshop focused on the issue of stormwater. Participants will walk away with a great overview of local stormwater issues, a better understanding of local examples of stormwater best management practices and a Project WET guide. CEU credit is available. To register, please contact Amber Neilson at: education@sequoiaparkzoo.net–or- (707) 441-4217.

March 11, 2011
Berkeley, CA
Seeing Radiation: Nuclear Science Experiments

American Nuclear Society will be presenting a free workshop for high school science teachers. Participants will receive a cloud chamber kit, Geiger counter, workbooks and classroom curriculum. It will include a tour of the Advanced Light Source or Cyclotron. Space is limited, so don’t delay. Click for more information.

March 12 and May 7, 2011
Woodland, CA
2011 Teacher Institute: “Best Practices of Environmental Education and Stewardship”

The California Environmental Education Foundation, in partnership with Yolo County Office of Education (YCOE), invites Northern California educators (Regions 1-6), who teach students of grades K-12, with preference given to grades 4-8, to participate in a unique Three-Saturday Teacher Institute [January 15; March 12; May 7] utilizing an Action Research model to maximize collaborative learning in environmental education and place-based stewardship. Primary fund support for the Institute comes from the Saxton Family Foundation and the state Department of Water Resources. The Institute will be held at YCOE Conference Center, 1280 Santa Anita Court, Suite 120, Woodland, CA 95776. Click for more information. An application is available at:http://www.creec.org/stories/storyReader$39
Application Deadline: December 15, 2010.

March 18-19, 2011
Sacramento, CA
Sacramento Regional Science & Engineering Fair

The annual Sacramento Regional Science & Engineering Fair showcases students in the greater Sacramento region who will become our future scientists, technology experts, engineers, and mathematicians. This regional competition celebrates achievement by middle and high school students, supported by devoted parents, teachers, and other mentors.

For more information visit: http://www.srsefair.org/

March 22, 2011 &
April 12, 2011
Sacramento, CA
Science in the River City

Science in the River City is an outstanding standards-based professional development program for 3rd to 12th grade science teachers. SIRC is held approximately once a month at Sacramento State during the academic year. The program is designed to deepen teachers’ understanding of science (through hands-on, inquiry-based labs and activities) and provide innovative ideas, lessons and strategies for teachers to use in their classrooms. The workshops are taught by university faculty or teacher leaders from the Sacramento Area Science Project.

For more information or to register on-line visit:http://www.csus.edu/mase/sem_inst/sirc.htm

March 23, 2011
Focus on Grades K-5

March 24, 2011
Focus on Grades 6-12

4:00-6:00 p.m.

Far Northern California counties via video-conference

Strategic Science Teaching Workshop Building Content Literacy Through Literature

Learn to make use of Strategic Science Teaching, Grades K-12: A Sampler of Science Lessons Connecting Literature with the California Standards. During this workshop you will: • Enhance your science program with literature selections* aligned with grade level science standards. • Utilize fiction and non-fiction literature selections to launch a science investigation and feature literacy strategies. • Collaborate with teachers at your grade span on identifying student outcomes for science learning. Each workshop participant will receive a grade-specific literature selection, grade level science lesson masters, and practice with the literacy strategies that are emphasized for each literature selection. All workshops are provided via videoconference to a county office near you. Register at: K-5 Science (March 23)— or — Grades 6-12 Science (March 24). TheStrategic Science Teaching book is now available FREE online in PDF format at http://www.ccsesa.org/index/committees.cfm?cid=7. After February 4, contact Marian Murphy-Shaw at mshaw@siskiyoucoe.net.

March 25, 2011
Redding, CA
Map It, Manage It, Sustain It

The Forest Foundation is sponsoring a field trip opportunity for teachers and students. The one day event will be held at Shasta College in Redding and will be focused around introducing teachers and students to Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Send your RSVP ASAP to ensure a space for your school. For more information please e-mail mdunaetz@shastacollege.edu or call 530-410-4836.

April 23, 2011
Redding, CA
Whole Earth and Watershed Festival

Thousands of people are expected to attend this year’s festival to learn how they can live a healthier lifestyle, save money and energy, protect natural resources and discover how the work of many local groups help make our region’s communities better places to live. We are excited about the variety of “green” ways to get to the Festival this year! It’s a great day to dust off your bike, get on a RABA bus, carpool, walk, or run to the 2011 Whole Earth and Watershed Festival and join in the celebration of Earth Day (April 22nd) and Watershed Awareness Month (May). It’s sure to be an experience you and your family will not want to miss! More information is available at: http://wholeearthandwatershedfestival.org/homemain.html.

April 29, 2011
Incline Village, NV
Project WET Workshop

The California Project WET program in partnership with the Tahoe Center for Environmental Research, Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships, Nevada and Hawaii Project WET programs, and the Association for Experiential Education invite you to register for this action-packed, pre-conference water education workshop at the Tahoe Center for Environmental Research. The workshop will be focused on the use of Project WET activities to integrate knowledge of local water resources and issues, as well as methods to bring experiential education into the classroom. All participants will receive lunch and walk away with their own Project WET guide. Registration details will be available after February 1, 2011 at: http://west.aee.org/conferences.

Written by Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner is a retired elementary science educator and is CSTA’s Primary Director.

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The Next Generation Science Standards, recently adopted in California, highlight the connections between science and engineering. As children design solutions to engineering challenges, they naturally apply their science content knowledge and engage in science practices. However, engineering also provides meaningful opportunities for children to apply what they are learning in math. 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.

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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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Written by Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco

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Getting Started in Skywatching (for school year 2014-2015)

Posted: Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

– Robert C. Victor, Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University

The 2014-2015 school year has begun, and it will be a great one for astronomy! There will be exciting opportunities to have students observe the sky, keep journals, recognize patterns of change, ask questions, interpret what they see, and develop writing and mathematical skills. Students will learn to observe, describe, model, and predict some patterns of the movement of objects in the sky. For connections to Common Core, examine the NGSS performance expectations ESS1.A and ESS1.B Disciplinary Core Ideas. There will be two eclipses, a total lunar and a partial solar, in October 2014 and a total lunar eclipse in April 2015. At dusk in late January 2015, the two brightest planets, Venus and Jupiter, will gleam at us from opposite sides of the sky. In the five months to follow, these two luminaries will gradually move closer together and attract everyone’s attention as they approach their spectacular conjunction in June, near the end of the school year. On one evening, the two planets will fit together within a single telescope field, and will appear very different from each other. But don’t wait! Some phenomena can best be seen early in the school year. Effects of the changing season can be observed by marking the tip of the shadow of your schoolyard’s flagpole or other tall object at midday (midway between sunrise and sunset, when the Sun is highest) and checking every few days. Students at home can find their own vantage points with good views of the western or eastern horizon, return to the same sites every few days, and keep records of the locations of sunrise and sunset relative to their local landscape features. September and October are months of rapid changes. Another manifestation of the revolution of the Earth around the Sun is the seasonal shift of the stars. In September, use our evening mid-twilight chart to locate Arcturus, brightest star in the evening sky, well up in west, Vega, nearly overhead, and Antares, low in SSW to SW. In September 2014, the planets Saturn and Mars are extra points of light in the southwestern sky. Don’t confuse them with Antares! Mars has a close encounter with that similarly colored star before the end of September. All five of these objects are easily observed near the start of the school year. In October, students will notice definite changes. From November into January, the eastern sky at dusk will host the annual return of a large number of bright seasonal stars, and in mid-April through June they’ll all disappear over the western horizon, providing a rich opportunity to witness seasonal change. Our monthly articles in California Classroom Science call attention to sky events such as Moon passing by planets and stars, and planets passing each other and stars. In early autumn 2014, follow the Moon during evening twilight Aug. 27-Sept. 9, Sept. 25-Oct. 8, and Oct. 24-Nov. 6, and during morning twilight Sept. 8-22 and Oct. 8-22. But the Moon can also be followed in the daytime, during school hours. The best time, for the broadest range of dates, is right at the start of the school day. For example, at 8:00 a.m., the Moon can be seen during Sept. 10-20, Oct. 9-20, and Nov. 9-19. On the first morning of each window of dates, the Moon will be nearly full, and close to the western horizon. On the final date of each window, the Moon will be a crescent, still over 30° from the Sun, our arbitrary limit for easy spotting of the crescent Moon in daylight. If you need to wait until 9:00 a.m. for your lunar observation, the lunar windows will start about a day later, but will still end on the same dates as above. Modeling the Moon’s phases. On different days during these windows, each student can stand in sunlight, and, using his right thumb and forefinger, hold a light-colored ball up to the sky right next to the Moon (taking care that his hand does not cast a shadow on the ball). The lighting on the ball and on the Moon should match! I’ve used even tennis balls with fuzzy surfaces, and have students hold them with the brand labels turned away from them. Worthwhile telescopic viewing of the Moon can also occur in the daytime. Select mornings when the Moon is close to half full, or Last Quarter phase. Best dates this autumn are Sept. 15 and 16, Oct. 14-16, and Nov. 13-15. Use a single polarizing filter*, thread it onto your low-power eyepiece, rotate the eyepiece in its tube until the blue sky surrounding the Moon appears darkest, and your students will enjoy high-contrast daytime views of the Moon and its craters, especially near the lunar terminator, or day-night boundary. *Available for $40 a pair (use one per telescope), from Orion Telescopes and Binoculars, www.telescope.com

Modeling seasonal visibility of stars and visibility of the planets. As stars and planets come and go in morning and evening skies and display beautiful pairings and groupings, students can model these activities with the aid of our <planet orbit charts>, a <table of data for plotting the positions of the planets>, and an <activity sheet with a set of 15 questions on star and planet visibility in 2014-2015 and beyond>.

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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.

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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.