May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Make 2016 a Year of Service – Join the CSTA Board of Directors

Posted: Thursday, January 14th, 2016

by Laura Henriques

As we look forward to 2016 I hope you’ll consider sharing your talents, time, and expertise with your colleagues. There are so many ways you can do that through your involvement with CSTA.

Post great ideas to the various CSTA Facebook Groups – anytime

CSTA has Facebook Groups for elementary, middle school high school and university faculty plus a group for Coaches/District Leaders. Some groups are more active than others, but all of them are venues for sharing exciting teaching ideas, seek input from colleagues, and ask questions about implementing NGSS. We are happy to have you lurk but consider sharing.

Write articles for California Classroom Science – articles due the 1st of the month for the following issue

As a CSTA regular, you know that CCS comes out each month. We try to have a wide range of articles. We update you on policy and NGSS related issues, we share lesson and unit ideas, updates and information from the NGSS Early Implementing Districts, technology tidbits, fieldtrip ideas and more. You have some great things you do in your classroom or informal site. Write for us and share them with the field. Find details about upcoming issues, submission guidelines and deadlines. Submissions are due on the first of the month preceding publication. While the Publishing Committee has selected themes for the year, you are not obligated to write to those themes.

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Submit a proposal to present at the 2016 CSTA Conference – proposals due on March 4

The next California Science Education Conference will be October 21-23, 2016 in Palm Springs. The call for proposals is here. We are looking for 90 minute presentations that will help us all be better prepared to implement NGSS! Check out the call for proposals and see where you can contribute. Lead presenters receive reduced registration rates.

Consider joining one of CSTA’s committee for 2016-2017 – call for nominations in the spring

CSTA is run by and for its members. This means we are a volunteer based organization. Won’t you volunteer to serve on one of our committees? Our work is done virtually (although we do try to meet in person during the conference). Stay tuned to CCS. President Lisa Hegdahl will put out a call for CSTA members to serve on committees later this spring. Click here to see what committees we have and learn about their work. You can always e-mail the committee chairs to find out more details.

Run to serve on the Board of Directors – nominations and resume due February 1

The CSTA Board of Directors are elected by the membership. The Board oversees the work of the organization. Board members participate in quarterly Board meetings (at least two are conducted virtually), serve on committees and are the stewards of the organization. As such they help develop policies and procedures, direct the work of our Executive Director, work to ensure we meet the mission and goals of our organization. An organization’s health is improved by more people’s involvement and new ideas being shared. Please consider applying to be on the Board. Positions are for two years (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018) with the possibility of being re-elected to the position once.

We are seeking nominations for the following positions for a spring election.

*Region 2: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano counties.
**Region 4: Imperial, Inyo, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego counties.

Nomination forms and resume are due by 5:00 on February 1st. Upon receipt of your nomination form you will be asked for some additional information plus two letters of endorsement from current CSTA members. You may nominate a colleague or you can self-nominate. Please think about all you have to offer (and all you have to gain) by serving on the Board.

Take the next step….

Many of you have already served on committee, written for CCS or presented at our conferences. Think about taking the next step and getting more involved. I can honestly say that what you get back from serving others is greater than the effort you put forth. Ask me or any other members of the Board of Directors how you can become more involved.

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.