September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

New “EiE Video Snippets” Let You Peek Inside the Engineering Classroom

Posted: Thursday, May 12th, 2016

posted by Cynthia Berger

Reprinted with permission from

Engineering is Elementary is pleased to announce a new set of online resources for K–12 engineering educators: EiE Video Snippets. This collection of short videos can be used in three ways:

When You Ask for Teaching Tools, We Listen
Berger1How did this collection come to be? EiE founder and director Christine Cunningham often gives keynotes and presentations at STEM education conferences across the country. In these talks, she shares short videos showing kids engaged in hands-on engineering. “These videos are not scripted—everything you see is candid,” says Cunningham. “The video clips are invariably a hit, and afterwards, audience members come up to ask, ‘Can I get access to those videos? I could really use them!’”



We listened to this feedback, learned more about what you had in mind, and used the conference clips as the basis for an online collection organized around the three strands listed above.

Make Your Point about Classroom Engineering
One way we envision educators using these videos is to help preservice teachers prepare to teach science and engineering. “I can also see using the EiE Video Snippets in my professional development workshops, to show teachers evidence of the outcomes I describe for engineering education,” says Liz Parry, a consultant for The Engineering Place at North Carolina State University and an EiE professional development collaborator.

Parry also thinks EiE Video Snippets would make powerful examples to show administrators who are making decisions about curriculum and must balance different needs when funding initiatives. “The vignettes clearly show how engineering supports the development of both academic proficiency and important life skills such as persistence, collaboration, and using evidence for decision making,” she says.

Parry says schools that are using (or contemplating using) EiE as an instructional tool might show these videos to parents, to demonstrate how engineering supports a way of learning that will help their children have a broad choice of career paths. “Pretty potent punch for such brief video snippets!” she says.

Great for Workshops
Berger2“I definitely plan to integrate these videos in future professional development sessions with science teachers,” agrees Joelle Clark of the Center for Science Teaching and Learning at Northern Arizona University, who is also an EiE PD collaborator. “I think it’s brilliant to organize the videos according to the science and engineering practices outlined in ‘A Framework for K–12 Science Education’—

and how fantastic that the Snippets collection also highlights the engineering habits of mind that support science and engineering practices. And seeing students in action is a very powerful way to inspire other teachers.”

We invite you to browse these new Video Snippets. We hope you’ll enjoy them, share them with your colleagues, and find even more creative ways to use them.

This post originally appeared on the Engineering is Elementary® blog on 12/8/ 15 at

Engineering is Elementary is a project of the National Center for Technological Literacy® at the Museum of Science, Boston.

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:

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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


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.