March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

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 Endorses March for Science

Posted: Monday, March 27th, 2017

The California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) stands with our science and science education colleagues in endorsing the March For Science and its associated activities.

The decision by the CSTA Board of Directors to support the March for Science was based on the understanding that this is an opportunity to advocate for our mission of high quality science education for all and to advance the idea that science has application to everyday life, is a vehicle for lifelong learning, and the scientific enterprise expands our knowledge of the world around us. The principles and goals of the March for Science parallel those of CSTA to assume a leadership role in solidarity with our colleagues in science and science education and create an understanding of the value of science in the greater community. CSTA believes that the integrity of the nature of science and that the work of scientists and science educators should be valued and supported. We encourage your participation to stand with us.

There are over 30 satellite marches planned for the April 22, 2017 March for Science in California (to find a march near you, click on “marches” in the upper right of the main page, select “satellite marches” and use the search feature). We encourage members who participate in the March for Science to share their involvement and promotion of science and science education. Feel free to promote CSTA on your signs and banners. For those on social media, you may share your involvement via Twitter, @cascience and our Facebook groups.

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.

California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.

For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

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: Monday, March 13th, 2017

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CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

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Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

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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: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

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