May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Jim Brazell’s Sessions at the 2011 California Science Education Conference

Posted: Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Keynote: What’s Next for Science Education in America?

Join the California Science Teachers Association in a large group interactive keynote session initiating dialogue among the membership about what’s next for science education in America. Our facilitator, Jim Brazell, will tell stories about emerging technology, jobs, communities and schools while helping us connect the dots between what we honor and cherish in teaching and the future. Jim’s passion is the pursuit and elevation of the voice of teachers, students and communities in the transformation of American education afoot today. You can learn more about Jim at his blog

Short Course: The Arts of the Future with Jim Brazell

Only available to the first 70 participants to RSVP (tickets are only $5), Jim will model “guide on the side” teaching techniques while facilitating a design workshop based on the outcomes and interactions in the keynote address: What’s Next for Science Education in America? Become a part of this Short Course and help shape our understanding and concept of education for the next generation of California science teachers, 2011-2031.

To register for the Short Course, click here

About Jim:

Jim Brazell is a technology forecaster, strategist and public speaker focused on innovation and transformation.  As an analyst to the Innovation, Creativity and Capital Institute at the University of Texas at Austin and the Texas State Technical College System (2003-2008), Jim lead research and development projects including analysis of emerging international high technology regions; international technology commercialization; technology forecasting for education and economic development; video games for military training transformation; and robotics for STEM+ARTS education in the State of Texas. Jim began his career in educational technology as the Internet designer of Nelson Heller’s Desktop edNET serving the market news and leading trends in educational technology 1996-2000. During this same period, Jim also served Fortune 100 clients with Internet strategy and cloud design/build services including the launch of, State Farm’s network for insurance agents and several other global and US house-hold brands.


A sampling of the diversity of his clients for keynote speeches in 2010-2011 include the National School Boards Association, the League for Innovation in the Community College, Computer Using Educators, Brigham Young University, St Francs University, South Carolina Association for Arts Education, Florida Association of Arts Education, the National Career Pathway Network, 25th Annual Careers Conference, American Technical Education Association, Texas Workforce Commission, Texas School Board Association, the Citadel Military College, the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association, and the Society for Design and Process Science.

Jim resides in San Antonio, Texas, with his wife, Lisa Cervantes and daughter Ava Brazell. Jim blogs about his educational experiences at and for USA Today’s Career and Technical Education blog. Jim is a 1995 graduate of Bradley University, Bachelors of Science, Sociology, Summa Cum Laude. He is a 1995 George Gilder Fellow in High Technology, Entrepreneurship and Public Policy.


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.

2 Responses

  1. […] In addition to the keynote, Jim will conduct a three hour Short Course limited to the first 70 registrants. Tickets for this course are only $5. The Short Course, The Arts of the Future with Jim Brazell, will take place on Saturday, October 22, 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. For more information about the Short Course and Jim Brazell click here. […]

  2. […] there will be two general session meetings. The Friday morning General Session will feature Jim Brazell. The closing session on Sunday is by Ed Begley, Jr. – a pioneer in environmental […]

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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here:

Please contact Rosanne Luu at or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. Learn More…

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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 NGSS 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.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. 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.