May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

New California Framework Provides NGSS Inspiration

Posted: Friday, December 11th, 2015

by Lisa Hegdahl

After over a year in development, the California Curriculum Science Framework and Evaluation Criteria document is ‘LIVE’ for a 60-day public review period, November 17, 2015 through January 19, 2016.  During that time, all of us can read the current draft of the CA Science Framework and provide feedback to the California Department of Education (CDE).

I had the honor of sitting on the Science Curriculum Frameworks and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC) that worked on the development of the CA Science Framework. From September 2014 – May 2015, the 20 members of the committee read, and re-read, the draft chapters of the CA Science Framework, providing comments and suggestions to the team of writers and the CDE.  Now that my responsibilities with the CFCC are complete, I look at the Framework, not as a Committee member, but as a teacher who will use it as a tool to help me make the necessary conceptual shifts in my teaching so that my students can make sense of the world around them.

photo37Reading the CA Science Framework chapters ahead of time had its advantages.  As a teacher in one of the 10 CA NGSS Early Implementation Initiative districts, I, and my science department colleagues, are actively implementing NGSS. This past month, our 8th grade science team looked at the Preferred Integrated Model draft chapter in order to get an idea of how to bundle the Performance Expectations into an integrated Instructional Segment.  Although we realize that the provided storyline in the first Instructional Segment is just a suggestion, it inspired us to explore how it would play out in an actual classroom. During the two weeks prior to Thanksgiving, students examined evidence that there have been life forms on Earth that do not exist today.  Investigating core samples of Play Doh sedimentary layers, students saw how the arrangement of patterns in strata can help scientists determine which sedimentary rock layers are older and which are more recent.  As we continue, students will examine the geologic time scale through the lens of scale and proportion and weigh the strength of evidence from several theories about the cause of dinosaur extinction.  Focusing on the suggestion that an asteroid collided with the earth, students will develop models that describe and predict the physics of two colliding objects.

What NGSS inspiration will you find as you read the draft of the new CA Science Framework?  Perhaps, as in my case, an interesting storyline will inspire you, or a strategy in Chapter 10 – Instructional Strategies for the Next Generation of Science Standards for California Public Schools – may inspire you to make the instructional shifts necessary to teach NGSS.   Check out Chapter 8 – Assessment and Students Learning, Kindergarten through Grade Twelve – it will inspire all of us to provide more meaningful assessments to our students while they remain engaged in the science and engineering processes.  Whatever inspires you, let it energize your teaching in ways that spark a long-lasting enthusiasm for science discovery in your students.

To find a CA Science Framework Public Review Session near you, check out Laura Henriques’ article in the November issue of California Classroom Science

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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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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 zi@cascience.org.)

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: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

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.