May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Kudos and Thank You! CSTA Members Serve in a Variety of Ways

Posted: Monday, February 3rd, 2014

by Laura Henriques

Applause_Pres_ArticleFor the last couple of months, CSTA has challenged members to become active participants in California’s science education landscape, and you are stepping up to do that. In the past couple of months CSTA members have volunteered their time and expertise in a variety of ways. I want to take this space in this month’s column to highlight some of those efforts and to provide my heartfelt thanks. Your contributions of time and service will have positive impacts throughout the state.

ELA/ELD Framework Review Committees

CSTA extends a big thanks to Jeanine Wulfenstein, Cristina Trecha, Lisa Hegdahl, Mary Whaley and Marian Murphy-Shaw. Each of them hosted a review session of CSTA members to provide feedback on the ELA/ELD Framework. I also give a huge thanks to dedicated CSTA members who read portions of the Framework and provided their time and input during these meetings. There were five meetings throughout the state. CSTA members were invited to participate in the meetings. Prior to coming to the meeting they read a few chapters of the 1,000+ page draft framework. Teams then spent 2-3 hours together talking about the document and providing specific feedback. This will be compiled and shared with the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC).

A huge shout-out to CSTA members who participated in the review process with us. They include:

  • Long Beach Team: Sarah Aguiñaga, Stephanie Bauer, Amy Frame, Jill Grace, Deborah Gray, Laura Henriques, and Kurt Holland
  • San Diego Team: Norma Acosta, Josephine Golchcer, Denise Maggard, Cristina Trecha, Emily Tsai, and Jeanine Wulfenstein
  • Monterey Team: Rick Carriero, Christian Ceci-MacGillis, Lauren Foote, Elva Garcia, Celia McCormack, Laura Mercer, Heather Murphy, Hope Oliver, Lynda Rogers, Claudio Vargas and Diana Velez
  • Sacramento/San Francisco area Team: Elizabeth Cooke, Lori Corona, Mary Elizabeth, Lisa Hegdahl, Karen Murray, Jessica Sawko, Yvonne White, and Barbara Woods

If you want to provide your own feedback on the ELA/ELD Framework you may do so between now and February 13, 2014. The draft Framework and survey are available on the CDE website.

CSTA Members Participate as Focus Group Members for Science Framework

We know that lots of CSTA members applied to serve on the Science Framework Focus Groups and 26 of you were selected. In addition, several CSTA members observed the Framework Focus Groups as part of the public. Board Member Heather Wygant served as a focus group member at the San Francisco area meeting. You can read about the process in Heather’s article. A full list of Focus Group members is online. Among those who served/will serve are CSTA Members:

Peter Ahearn, Palm Springs Unified School District
Marie Bacher, Alameda County Office of Education
Gwen Blankenship, Newport-Mesa Unified School District
James Michael Boykin, Merced Union High School District
Linda Braatz-Brown, San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools
Brennan Brockbank, Burlingame School District
Melanie Brown, Sweetwater Union High School District
Juanita Chan, Rialto Unified School District
Ayham Dahi, Los Angeles Unified School District
Hilary Dito, Contra Costa County Office of Education
Mary Elizabeth, Twin Rivers Unified School District
Rae Fearing, Del Norte County Unified School District
Michelle French, Tulare County Office of Education
Jill Grace, Palos Verdes Peninsula Unified School District
Crystal Howe, San Diego Unified School District
Michal Kreiselman, Los Angeles Unified School District
Jared Marr, Tulare County Office of Education
Dawn O’Connor, Alameda County Office of Education
Ron Pembleton, Kentfield School District
Philip Romig, Sacramento County Office of Education
Rachael Tarshes, San Diego Unified School District
Eric Thiessen, Tulare County Office of Education
David Tupper, Lakeside Union School District
Don Whisman, San Diego Unified School District
Heather Wygant, Morgan Hill Unified School District
Anne Ybarra, Fresno Unified School District

CSTA Members are Writing for CCS

California Classroom Science (CCS) is your publication. We invite you, members of CSTA, to submit articles for inclusion. This school year has already seen more than a dozen articles by CSTA members. Thanks to CSTA members Peter A’Hearn, Tamara Araya, Minda Berbeco, Bethany Dixon, Stephanie Fisher, Susan Gomez Zwiep & Jody Sherriff, Jim Kisiel, Christina Morales, Walter O’Brien, Cheryl Romig, Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, Martin Smith and Steven Worker, and Rebecca Smith for their contributions to CCS this academic year. We still have 6 issues left this year. If you would like to write for CCS please see refer to the author guidelines and due-dates. As you think about what you might contribute, consider the types of articles you like to see in CCS. Successful lesson ideas, integration of NGSS practices or crosscutting concepts, and classroom management strategies are always popular topics.

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and past-president of CSTA. She serves as chair of CSTA’s Nominating Committee and is a co-chair of the NGSS Committee.

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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: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org 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.