April 2016 – Vol. 28 No. 8

Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Lesson Plans

Posted: Friday, April 1st, 2011

by Heather A. Marshall

We have all heard by now about the recent 9.0 earthquake off the coast of Japan and the resulting tsunami. Though this event is tragic in terms of lives lost and damages, it is an excellent “teachable moment.” IRIS is great with these teachable moments. Any time a large earthquake occurs, IRIS posts lessons on their website for teachers to use in their classrooms within 24 hours of the event. For the Japan quake, I used their site to show my students about the earthquake, tsunami, rank of this quake compared to other historic quakes, and videos of the event. This helped my students understand the implications of the Japan quake, and realize what could happen on the Pacific coast.

A colleague of mine, Kelly Heid, shared a virtual lab with me. All you need is a class set of computers with internet and flash player, and the students can go through some modules online to become “virtual seismologists.”  I tried this in my primarily 10th grade CP Geology classes with a set of nine netbooks, and the students loved it.  The learning curve on how to use the software was a little high–so the first module took us closer to 45 minutes than the 15-20 intended, but the remaining modules went more quickly once they were familiar with the software.

Heather Marshall teaches CP geology at Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill and is CSTA’s high school director.

Written by Heather Wygant

Heather Wygant

Heather Wygant teaches CP geology at Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill, CA and is a member of CSTA.

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Call for Presenters: Northwest Nevada Math & Science Conference

Posted: Monday, April 11th, 2016

Looking to take your NGSS presentation on the road? Consider submitting an application to present in the fellow NGSS-adoption state of Nevada!

You are invited to submit a proposal for a 90 minute presentation at the first annual Northwest Nevada Math & Science Conference on Saturday August 27, 2016.  Take this opportunity to share your ideas and enthusiasm and to highlight your successes and challenges with fellow attendees at the inaugural conference. The deadline to submit a proposal is April 22. 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.

Apply Today to Assist in New Science Assessment Item Writing

Posted: Monday, April 11th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

One of the number one questions that has been posed by teachers since the adoption of the California Next Generation Science Standards in 2013 is: “What about the assessments?” (or some version of that question). Last month, we reported the most recent information available on that topic and since then work has launched to being writing and reviewing assessment items for the new science summative assessment.

Many of you may have already put your names “into the hat” to participate in this process. For those of you who have not and would like to be considered for such an opportunity, I urge you to submit your application today: http://caaspp.org/reviewers.html. CDE’s testing contractor Educational Testing Services (ETS) is soliciting applications for content reviewers for the new CA NGSS assessment and alternate assessment.

This is your opportunity to participate in the implementation of the California NGSS and the new science summative assessment. Seize the moment and apply today!

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.

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Present at an NSTA Conference

Posted: Sunday, April 10th, 2016

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is currently accepting proposals for speakers to present at the 2017 National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles, March 30–April 2. Strands can be viewed here and focus on the Next Generation Science Standards, STEM, science and literacy, and equity. To submit, please click here. The deadline to submit is April 15, 2016. Learn more about NSTA conferences. Questions? Please e-mail conferences@nsta.org. 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.

Hitting the Wall: When Your District Isn’t Behind NGSS

Posted: Friday, April 8th, 2016

by Joanne Michael

It’s coming…NGSS implementation. You’ve been going to the CSTA conferences to learn more, reading articles, following the “Early Implementers” twitter handle (@earlyimplement), and are excited to start trying out all of the new standards and lessons. One hiccup… your district isn’t ready to begin implementing-in fact, is telling you directly to NOT begin transitioning your lessons for at least another year. What’s a motivated, focused science teacher to do?

This exact situation is what I am in right now. To be fair, my district is beginning to implement in the middle school level and preparing for implementation at the high school level, but we were given direct instructions to not begin implementing any lessons at the elementary level for a bit longer (to give the classroom teachers a chance to adapt to the new Common Core math and ELA curriculum and standards). While frustrating, there are some things that can be done in the interim before getting the go-ahead to begin implementation. 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.

Activity Mania, This Is Not!

Posted: Friday, April 8th, 2016

by Terry Shanahan

In preparation for the summer 2015 Southern California K-8 NGSS Early Implementation Institute in Vista, our grade 2 cadre of science educators from elementary, secondary, and the university, planned a week of science investigations around matter and its interactions. Of course, we began our planning with the question, “What would you expect a second grader to know about matter?” After our quick write, we began our conceptual flow, using post-its for each of our statements. We then checked our conceptual flow against “A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Cross-Cutting Concepts, and Core Ideas”. Had we left out any important concepts? Our biggest idea became: Matter is observable and it is not created or destroyed even as it changes form. Our conceptual flow moved from left to right: concrete to abstract. Our smaller ideas and the concepts we found in the Framework document later became the guiding statement for each day of our institute: 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.