September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Multimedia for Science Education

Posted: Thursday, November 12th, 2015

by Lisa Hegdahl

In the October 22nd issue of the School Improvement Network’s e-Newsletter, the Educational Strategy of the Week was The Increasing Importance of Technology in the Classroom. The article stated, “Today, with smartphones in every pocket and instant access to knowledge of virtually every kind, information technology is woven into every aspect of our children’s lives. The objective is no longer to teach children how to use the technology, but how to use the technology to best teach children.”

This month, California Classroom Science focuses on multimedia for science education. In the article “On Using Media as a Means to get Students Future – Ready or Intermediality in the Classroom,” Joseph Calmer points out that many teachers are already using a variety of media formats in their classrooms. Some use technology to organize, communicate, and inform themselves, while others use technology as a teaching tool to engage their students. Using technology in the classroom is one component of preparing our students to be “future ready”.

Anna Thanukos, Teresa MacDonald, David Heiser, and Robert Ross, in their article, “The Tree Room: A new online resource for teaching evolutionary relationships” introduce this month’s CCS readers to an online tool found on the UC Berkeley website, evolution.berkeley.edu, that helps educators make sense of evolutionary trees. Using new technology to look at “old” content is a great way to get students involved in the 3-dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

While the theme of this issue of California Classroom Science is multi-media for science education, it is also jam packed with articles that continue CSTA’s focus on helping the educators of California implement the Next Generation Science Standards. Speaking of implementation, read Ellen Raco’s article “Using Phase Changes to Remove Contaminants from Water” which gives an account of how 2nd and 5th grade teachers in the Galt and Tracy NGSS Early Implementation districts learned how to bring this real world problem to their students. A great NGSS lesson idea that you can try in your own classroom.

Articles by Pete A’Hearn & Wanda Battaglia as well as Robert Sherriff explore conversations educators are having about NGSS. “Is the NGSS Going to Ruin High School Chemistry looks at the concerns some educators have about high school NGSS courses. “Middle School Madness – Part 2, Integrated Science versus Coordinated Science” illustrates how what many people call integrated science is, in reality, coordinated science.

This November 2015 issue of California Classroom Science contains other articles by talented science educators who, along with CSTA, want to keep you informed. If you have something to contribute to California Classroom Science, visit the CSTA website for details. California Classroom Science is a great way to share your ideas with a large audience. Every one of us has something that we do in our classroom that other California educators would be excited to learn about. We are all more capable and knowledgeable when we collaborate.

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th-grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is Past-President of CSTA.

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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 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.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

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

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.