May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Inspiring Scientists of All Ages

Posted: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

by Rebecca Smith

* originally published by MediaPlanet.com, reused with permission

A national festival pairs curious students with STEM professionals to celebrate and explore the world of science.

A national festival pairs curious students with STEM professionals to celebrate and explore the world of science.

When I was six, I fell in love with science. Visiting a friend one day in rural Indiana, her mother, an artist, showed us how to see onion skin cells using a microscope. A whole world opened up to me and I was hooked. Liking science became a part of my identity even though I had never met a scientist nor had I studied science in school.

Research shows that, like me, many STEM professionals can point to an experience, often in early childhood, which inspired them to pursue a science career.

Role models are also known to play a critical role in building and sustaining student interest in science and science careers, as well as changing perceptions of scientists. A surprising number of students still believe that most scientists are white men in lab coats. Moreover, for many students, the only STEM professionals they ever meet are pediatricians and school nurses. Thus, students’ ideas of both who goes into science and available scientific careers are very limited.

How can we provide students with that critical spark and introduce them to role models? Science Festivals, a growing national movement, are one way. The Bay Area Science Festival seeks to inspire and connect attendees of all ages with STEM professionals from a range of fields. The Festival is a 10-day celebration that reaches more than 75,000 people and culminates with a free, hands-on science extravaganza at AT&T Park.

Role models

Many groups around the country also connect science professionals with students in schools, after-school programs, and in laboratories. Here at U.C. San Francisco, more than 250 scientists each year volunteer in classrooms via the Science & Health Education Partnership. Through these programs, students develop relationships with scientist role models, experience enriched science learning opportunities, change their perceptions of scientists, and critically, start to see themselves as scientists.

Finally, a critical place for that love of science to grow is schools. They are perhaps the only setting where we can reach nearly all students. But, to do so, we actually have to teach science—our country’s education policies have resulted in most elementary students receiving little to no science instruction.

This year’s release of the Next Generation Science Standards provides an opportunity—both to increase the amount of science taught and the way it is taught. Science is not a list of facts to be memorized. It is a creative endeavor, a dynamic and exciting field, and STEM professionals are constantly learning and solving problems. In our teaching, we need to intimately link doing science with learning science and thus create opportunities for discovery and inspiration in the classroom and beyond.

Dr. Rebecca Smith is Co-Director, UCSF Science & Health Education Partnership, and is a CSTA member.

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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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.

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Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

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Outgoing Board Members

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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.

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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.

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Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

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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.

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.