September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

IISME (Industry Initiatives for Science and Math Education)

Posted: Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Eric Lewis

Eric:  What exactly is IISME?

Shari:  IISME is a non-profit organization founded in 1985 that seeks to transform teaching and learning through industry-education partnerships. IISME exists to address the critical need for a strong, highly skilled workforce in math, science and technological fields. This industry-education partnership focuses on teachers as the primary agents for effecting meaningful change in mathematics and science education.  Our IISME Summer Fellowship Program is a program that places eligible K-16 teachers of all subjects into industry and research settings for the summer. Teachers work full-time for eight weeks, complete a project for their Fellowship Hosts, and are paid $8,200 for their work. Teachers also spend 10% of their paid time focusing on how they will transfer their Summer Fellowship experience back to their students and colleagues.

Eric:  Who can apply?

Shari:  Teachers are eligible to apply for the IISME Summer Fellowship Program if they meet a series of requirements.  First, teachers need to teach in our service area. Bay Area teachers must currently teach any grade, K-16, full-time in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz or Solano Counties.  IISME is also currently expanding into new regions in California. Teachers in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties are eligible to apply for a small number of Fellowships that will be available in those regions in summer 2013.  All teachers must be contracted to teach full-time during the following school year in the IISME service area.

We are always looking for teachers who are committed to teaching.  Eligible teachers will have completed at least two years of full-time teaching in any discipline by June of the current school year and be committed to continuing to teach for at least the next three years.

Finally, teachers need to have the necessary documents to work in the US in a non-teaching job and be available full-time during standard business hours for the Fellowship period. 

Eric:  What kinds of things have teachers done for their summer work?

Shari:  Each year we place between 150 and 200 teachers into a wide variety of different settings and Fellowship opportunities all around the Bay Area.  The Fellowships span areas such as marketing, laboratory science, website development, and curriculum development, just to name a few.  Once approved, teachers have the opportunity to see all available positions and express interest in the ones that appeal to their professional development goals.

Eric:  What are the requirements for fully completing an IISME Fellowship?

Shari:  IISME Fellows are required to complete an eight-week Fellowship, working 8 hours per day, 40 hours per week during standard business hours.  At least six weeks of any Fellowship must be held during the core eight week Fellowship period (June 17th – August 9th).  Besides completing the Fellowship project assigned by the Host organization, teachers will need to attend a variety of other meetings during the summer.

Besides the work completed for the Host organizations, teachers will need to design and implement an Education Transfer Plan (ETP) for applying the summer experience during the academic year. Earning a passing score on the ETP rubric is required for the Fellow to earn all grant money and be eligible for future IISME Fellowships.

The ETP lies at the very core of the Summer Fellowship Program and brings the Fellows experience back to their students and school.  It is completely up to the Fellows to decide which ETP option meets the needs of their classroom or school. Also, our Host organizations invest in this program because they want to see each teacher transfer new knowledge, ideas, skills, and real world connections back into the classroom as a result of their summer positions. This is an important part of what makes the Fellowship Program successful.

Eric:  If you could add any new areas of work (businesses, locations, etc.) what would they be?

Shari:  We are always looking for new partners in both the business and research communities.  We would love support making new connections to people in San Francisco corporations and research labs in order to discuss the IISME Summer Fellowship Program and the possibility of hosting teachers.  We are trying to break into social media companies and add more from the biotechnology/health sector, but would be happy to work with any industry sector. 

Eric:  Any suggestions and next steps for teachers?

Shari:  The application process for summer 2013 will open in early December. Teachers who would like to be notified when applications become available can sign up here:  The application process is done completely online at the website.  We will be offering a number of Application Support Sessions in early 2013 that will provide insight into the program and the application process.  Signing up to attend a support session will answer any questions an attendee may have regarding the program and will increase the chances of a teacher being selected for a 2013 Fellowship position.

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.

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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…

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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…

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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.