May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Friendly Word from Region 2

Posted: Monday, October 19th, 2015

By Minda Berbeco

Hi Region 2! We at CSTA are revving up for the CSTA conference this fall, and I can’t wait to see you all there! I’ll be holding “office hours” at the booth – times to be determined – so definitely come meet me there. I’ll also be holding a workshop on Saturday 8-11 am on Climate Change and Energy, so come and check it out! I’d love to hear all of the great things that you are working on this fall. There is so much happening this fall to keep track of, but I want to keep you in the loop of some really neat programs you should definitely check out!

One program you might be interested in is the YESS project:

The YESS Project team (Marin County Community Development Agency, Coravai, Shore Up Marin, and USC Sea Grant) is developing a new NGSS-aligned, project-based sea level rise curriculum for high school students. We’re looking for a few Bay Area teachers to partner with us and pilot the project in their classrooms during the 2015 – 2016 school year. This is a great opportunity for you to educate, engage, and empower your students to be part of climate change solutions in their own communities!

The YESS Project is flexible and can be scaled to fit you and your students’ needs and interests. Engagement ranges from a single 90-minute lesson plan with homework and extension options, to a multi-subject arc that could occur periodically throughout the 2015 – 2016 school year. The major components of the project are:

  • Classroom curricula: Activity plans that use engaging CC/NGSS strategies to get students using science and engineering practices (SEPs) to perform real-life climate science even as they become authentic participants in community planning.
  • Extensions and local field trips: Students will be able to collect real-world data for sea level rise planning, independently or as part of a planned field trip (funding is available for field trips).
  • Service learning, internships, and portfolio-building: Students will have opportunities to contribute in meaningful ways to Bay Area local government planning and policy; to create digital storytelling products, and to share their work in public venues. Short-term internships and youth leadership opportunities are also available.

Timeline

  • Sept – Oct 2015: Teacher training, gather feedback on curricula, finalize classroom and extension / community activities
  • Nov 2015 – Feb 2016: Pilot curriculum, collect data, develop digital storytelling products
  • Mar – May 2016: Exhibit students’ work at community meetings and public venues, evaluate project

Next Steps

We will hold a short training on the curriculum and connection to local government planning in mid-October. Participating teachers will receive a stipend, support from the state for your school’s transition to NGSS, and a nice meal.

Please visit the project website (www.yessproject.org) or get in touch with Marina Psaros, Project Director, at marina@coravai.com or 415.839.8571 to learn more.

Another program that you might find interesting comes from my organization- the National Center for Science Education:

We are piloting a program this fall with Oakland schools to Get a Scientist into YOUR classroom

This fall we are piloting the Scientists in the Classroom program and we want your class to be a part of it. We’ll match you and your students with a vetted scientist to connect with both in-person and online throughout the fall semester. Participating in the Scientists in the Classroom Fall 2015 pilot is a fantastic opportunity to engage your students with scientists, enriching their evolution and climate change learning experience!

Want to find out more? Check out our website!

Apply to be a part of the semester-long pilot here!

Written by Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco was the Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education and is now the Director of the Sierra Club San Francisco Chapter.

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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.