May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

March Madness Equals Science Madness in San Diego

Posted: Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

by Donna Ross

As I write this, our men’s basketball team at San Diego State University is battling for the Mountain West title and they are ranked 21st in the Associated Press poll.  The energy in the arena on game nights is electrifying and the enthusiasm for March Madness is undeniable on our campus.  Across the city, there is another madness taking hold this month, too.  Science!  March has become the science month for San Diego. The sheer number of community members, scientists, non-profits, and educators donating their time to share their passion for science is also electrifying.  Now, if only we could get the science activities nationally televised along with the basketball games!

Having so many science events in the community and schools during the month of March has a variety of benefits.  There are the obvious advantages.  The nifty-fifty program brings scientists into classrooms all across the county. Students meet scientists, learn about current research, become excited about career opportunities, and rekindle an interest in the discipline.  But, beyond the benefits for our students, it has been fascinating to watch the effects on researchers and community members.  At planning meetings, I have heard adults commenting

  • “I had no idea this research was occurring here in San Diego”
  • “Your daughter was asking really good questions. Have her email me if she is interested in doing an internship.”
  • “Some of our local schools seem to need a lot of support, I’m wondering what I can do during the rest of the year”
  • “I don’t know why we haven’t ever shared our resources, we have a lot of overlap in our areas of research”
  • “I don’t know how to present my research to children, but I’ll do it if someone will help me think about what would work.”
  • “I have a graduate student who would be a great fit for your lab.”
  • “Why haven’t we collaborated on this before?”

Science madness in March brings people with shared interest together and builds connections that benefit the entire community.  I am keeping my fingers crossed for many continued successful science events and, of course, the Mountain West title for the Aztecs.

Here are just a few of the events taking place in the San Diego area this month.  For more information on these events and descriptions of many other opportunities, be sure to check out all of the events on the website for the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering at http://sdsciencefestival.com

 

A sample of the Saturday, March 17 events:

San Diego State University, Science and Engineering Sampler

Saturday, March 17    11am-2pm  Free to the public
SDSU Campus, College of Sciences
Activities and demonstrations of science and technology projects taking place on campus.  Appropriate for all ages.

California State University, San Marcos Super STEM Saturday
Saturday, March 17    11am-2pm  Free to the public
CSUSM Campus
Activities and demonstrations of science and technology projects taking place on campus.  Appropriate for all ages.

San Diego Miramar College,  Science Fun
Saturday, March 17  9am-12pm  Free to the public
Miramar College Science and Technology Building
Appropriate for ages 9-99

Scripps Research Institute, SMART Teams Exploration
Saturday, March 17   9:30am-12pm  Free
Explore groundbreaking new research using Rapid Prototyping Technology.

 

A sample of the Sunday, March 18 events:

San Diego River Park Foundation, River Bugs are Cool!
Sunday, March 18   12pm-3pm  Free
Mission Valley Preserve and Interpretive Garden
Learn how river bugs can unlock the secret of the San Diego River’s health.

Cymer presents Imagination Innovation
Sunday, March 18  1pm-4pm  Free
Cymer Campus
Experiments and robots!!!

A sample of the Monday, March 19 events:

Tony Hawk and Physics of Skateboarding
Monday, March 19    10am-11am   Free
Carmel Valley Skate Park

Training for Endurance Events
Monday, March 19   6pm-7:30pm  Free
Running and training tips with Dr. Jason Karp

A sample of the Tuesday, March 20 events:

General Atomics Tour w/ Bus
Tuesday, March 20    9am-12pm  Free (bus included)
Facility tour of General Atomics for school groups

Maritime Robotics
Tuesday, March 20  3:30-5pm  Free
2877 Historic Decatur Rd.
Tour and demo of mini-ROV underwater vehicles

A sample of the Wednesday, March 21 events:

Crime Scene and Traffic Accident Investigation
Wednesday, March 21  9am-1pm  Free
Escondido Police Department

Advancing Understanding of Human Health and Disease
Wednesday, March 21  3pm-6pm  Free
Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine

Science Speed Round
Wednesday, March 21  6pm-8pm  Free
Short talks about mind-boggling science!
The Neurosciences Institute

A sample of the Thursday, March 22 events:

Career Night
Thursday, March 22,    5-7:30pm  Free
UC San Diego Extension
Career guidance and course opportunities

Science Applications International Corporation Technology Demos
Thursday, March 22,  5:30-7pm  Free
SAIC Vista Technology Center
Learn how VACIS technology allows people to see through trucks and other things.

A sample of the Friday, March 23 events:

Mad Science presents Spin, Pop, Boom
Friday, March 23   1-2:45 (2 sessions)  Free
Beaumont Elementary

Engineering is Fun:  Converting Ideas into Reality
Friday, March 23 2-5:30pm   Free
Qualcomm Campus

And the culminating event:  Expo Day at Petco Park

Science Festival, March 24th
Saturday, March 24   10am-5pm  All ages, Free
A full day of free science and technology activities for the whole family.

Donna Ross is associate professor of science education at San Diego State University and is CSTA’s 4-year college director.

Written by Donna Ross

Donna Ross is Associate Professor of Science Education at San Diego State University.

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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.