May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

May 2014: Upcoming Events in the South

Posted: Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

The southern part of the state is full of professional development opportunities for educators to learn more about Earth and Ocean Sciences, physics, as well as the Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards. Field tests of the new Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessments are well underway in the region. The Smarter Balanced practice tests are an opportunity for schools and districts to become familiar with the format and testing procedures inherent with the shifts in the Smarter Balanced Assessments. With this in mind, there is much anticipation for what the future of assessment will look like for the sciences. It is already clear that teachers, schools, and students will need to be proficient in several technology components. Fortunately, both the Common Core Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards embrace technological literacy for all students. As we delve deeper into both sets of standards, teachers will need training and support in the latest content discoveries, as well as advances in technology to best support student learning.

With that said, there are many technology, CCSS, NGSS, and curricular content-based workshops that teachers in the region may attend to hone their skills. The following is a list of upcoming professional development opportunities for Earth and ocean sciences, physics, NGSS, CCSS and STEM topics broken down by county:



Riverside/San Bernardino:

  • RCOE STEM Leadership Network Meeting: This meeting is a venue for district and school STEM leaders to come together to discuss best practices, and issues related to forming, sustaining, and elevating STEM education across Riverside County. This meeting will be held on Wednesday May 7th from 8:30 – 12:00pm at Citrus Hill High School in Perris, CA. Click for more information.
  • NGSS State Rollout Symposium #1: Statewide science leaders will converge for a professional learning symposium to discuss implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. The Rollout Symposium will be held May 27th and May 28th at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa. Click for more information and to register.

San Diego:

  • For teachers interest in Space, The San Diego Air & Space Museum will host its 11th Annual Space Day celebration This day will be packed full of access to local and national experts in the field providing demonstrations, giveaways, and hands-on activities. This event will be held May 3rd from 10:00 – 2:00pm. Click for more information.
  • The Ruben H. Fleet science center is sponsoring a Suds & Science bimonthly event on May 12, 2014 from 06:30 to 08:00pm at Callahan’s Pub in Mira Mesa. Click for more information.
  • Teachers interested in content on water quality and generating clean green power will want to attend the Perspectives on science lecture: Waste not: Recovering Clean Water and power from wastewater using microbial fuel cells. This event is scheduled to be held on May 13, 2014
    from 04:30 to 07:30pm at Point Loma Nazarene University. For more additional information about this event, click here.
  • Teachers interested in ocean exploration and the reasons we explore, will want to attend a two part professional development series sponsored by the Birch Aquarium entitled, “Why Do We Explore?” This event will be held on May 17th from 8:00 to 4:00pm at the Birch Aquarium. Click for more information about this event.

Orange County:

  • NGSS State Rollout Symposium #1: Statewide science leaders will converge for a professional learning symposium to discuss implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards. The Rollout Symposium will be held Thursday, May 22nd and Friday May 23rd from 8:30 until 4:30 pm at the Hilton Long Beach. Click for more information on that event and to register.

It is my hope that all educators embrace the new standards as a way to grow personally and professionally in instructional practice. Enjoy the events our region has to offer!

Written by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Jeanine Wulfenstein

Jeanine Wulfenstein taught science at Gardner Middle School and is now assistant principal at Bella Vista Middle School in Temecula. She is a member of CSTA. You can reach her by emailing

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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 California NGSS k-8 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy:

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.