Heat Up Science!
Posted: Wednesday, September 1st, 2010
by Sue Pritchard
I am sure you have noticed that education looks a bit different these past two years. The recession has played havoc in how districts assign teachers, and fluctuating student populations make teacher placement even trickier. I would imagine most of us know at least one teacher who is now wondering, “How am I going to teach science without a science background?” Right?
I am no different. I know several teachers in that same situation. I hope this article helps many of you start the year “on fire,” but not literally. This collection of ideas focuses on the 6th grade science standards on heat (thermal energy). The exciting part of this article for me is the new CSTA delivery system of CCS. Now that we are eCCS, we can help you save steps by connecting directly to the outside links cited. Read further for some fun suggestions to make your planning easier and your students engaged in science.
Heat transfer is a fascinating concept to teach. It is possible to use very simple materials and still have a “wow” impact on the students. Try the Jefferson Lab’s ideas found at http://education.jlab.org/beamsactivity/6thgrade/coldstuff/tra01.l.html. This site has a wonderful set of activities and formative assessments. The first page gives a great way to assess students’ prior knowledge on conduction, convection, and radiation. If an LCD projector is available in the classroom, project assessment pages to the class and have them take a few minutes to respond either individually or in small groups. Since some of the terms are defined at the top of the page, this can be a great way to quickly monitor student focus and application abilities.
Once students’ knowledge levels are assessed, page through the site to find fun, inexpensive activities that can support the student-learned outcomes needed. The “Cold Stuff” assessment tool is also reorganized into an activity. Students can bring supplies from home and really expand on what they use for insulators. It is possible to investigate the concepts within the descriptions given or to allow the students to think outside the box and enhance the activities with their “teacher approved” additions.
“The Cold Stuff” is but one resource at this site. Click on the different buttons on the top right of the homepage: teacher resources, student zone, games & puzzles, etc., to read about other investigative opportunities provided.
Want more ideas on heat and thermodynamics? Check out http://www.school-for-champions.com/science/heat_transfer.htm and click on the sixteen different choices for some good background information and activities. Although the information on this site is good, the site does not have the kinds of graphics that some educators may expect. Look beyond this aspect and enjoy the ideas presented. Most of these activities can be the beginnings of inquiry science investigations. Depending on how you approach the learning, you can simply follow the activities as they are listed, or you can increase the inquiry approach through the use of questioning. For more information on changing recipe style science activities to inquiry approaches, refer to the site I have mentioned in previous articles, http://www.csulb.edu/~acolburn/AETS.htm. Bookmark this site because you may want to refer to it often during the school year.
I would be remiss if I did not mention an excellent web resource that I use often. When I searched the Exploratorium site for heat transfer ideas, a very long list appeared. Check out http://www.exploratorium.edu/search/index.php to see what is available. I highly recommend surfing the EXPLO.TV site where a library of podcasts, webcasts, and video clips are just waiting to be enjoyed. Overall, though, the Exploratorium website is not only an excellent source of thermal activities but also contains some great ideas to help segue to the the 6th grade science standards on Shaping Earth’s Surface. No matter how the site is used, it is an excellent resource.
I hope you enjoy our new form of delivery, the eCCS. It is a great way for all of us to be “green” and still enjoy the great resources that YOUR CSTA offers to you. Enjoy the beginning of your school year … and keep science in the forefront. All of our students … all of society, deserve it. Enjoy some hot heat transfer and share it with your students! It is good for you … it is good for your students … and it is good for science.
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 http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
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. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
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
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…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
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…
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…