September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

Getting to Know Jim Brazell

Posted: Friday, September 30th, 2011

Keynote Speaker at our CSTA Annual Conference, October 21, 2011
What’s Next for Science Education in America?

by Valerie Joyner

This year we are extremely excited to have noted speaker, strategist, and technology forecaster Jim Brazell give the keynote address at our annual CSTA Conference on Friday, October 21. Jim is a compelling speaker and powerful story-teller who will engage us in a lively interactive session that is far more than a speech. We will all be thinking and talking about the future of science education.

What is technology? Is it a thing, a design, or way of thinking? Throughout the history of education, one thing has always remained constant… there will be change. Students have moved from Horn Books and pieces of slate, to chalkboards, whiteboards, and now Smart-boards. Curriculum has changed from the didactic teachings of Plato, to learning science while tilling the field, to rote memory of scientific facts and arithmetic. Our references have expanded from textbooks to include audio-books and on-line books. Classroom tech is reaching a new peak with the ever increasing student use of netbooks, tablet PCs and iPads. Education is in a constant state of flux that keeps teachers challenged to reflect on our known best practices in teaching to new information. Now more than ever, thanks to the extraordinarily fast development and increased use of new technologies, we need to employ them effectively in our classrooms.

I talked to Jim about the keynote session and he emphasized that it is not a speech or address, but rather is an opportunity for him to facilitate a summit on science education with us, the experts, working day to day in the field. He is going to lead the group and share his expertise as a technology forecaster and strategist in three hands-on activities where we all participate together – no microphones. He will gather all of the information we develop, process it, and return it to CSTA for our use.

Jim will discuss how things are changing in education in terms of emerging technology and jobs in the sciences. Also, he will cover the emerging best practices in science education, those tailored to meet the needs of today’s kids, as they become the scientists of the near future. What should our science classrooms look like today? How will they prepare our students for real world technology and jobs? As science educators, we all know that technology is intertwined with every aspect of our lives including our students, their families, and the community at large. As Jim says, technology is the people, not just machines and devices. It is a reflection of human design – thinking, process, design, and people is what it is all about. Be sure to join us as we explore the many ways we can put current technology to work for our students, and help them prepare to create the new technologies of tomorrow as well.

The Art of the Future with Jim Brazell

Short Course offering #SC 23, Saturday, October 22, 1:00-4:00 pm

Don’t miss the opportunity to come explore and shape the future of science education in Jim Brazell’s short course, The Art of the Future.  Based on his interactive keynote session on Saturday morning, Jim will continue to guide and work with us to shape our understanding and concept of science education for the next generation of California science teachers. Fee: $5.00. Click here to register.

Valerie Joyner is district science lead teacher for Petaluma City Schools and is the CSTA’s region 1 director.


Written by Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner is a retired elementary science educator and is CSTA’s Primary (grades K-2) Director.

Leave a Reply


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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.