May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

New, Remarkable, Grade 5-12 STEM Education Program Opportunity for School District and School Communities

Posted: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Announcing the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) Fourth Flight
Opportunity – SSEP Mission 2 to the International Space Station (ISS).

The National Center for Earth and Space Science Education http://ncesse.org),
in partnership with NanoRacks (http://nanoracks.com) invites communities across the U.S. to participate in SSEP Mission 2 to ISS.

Each participating community will be provided all launch services to fly a real
microgravity research mini-laboratory on ISS from September 28 to November 12, 2012, and a kit for assembly of their mini-lab. An 8-week  experiment design competition in the community, held Spring 2012, will allow grade 5-12 student teams to design real microgravity experiments vying for their community’s reserved mini-lab slot on ISS.

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SSEP immerses a community of students in real scientific research of their own
design (grade level appropriate), using a highly captivating spaceflight opportunity on ISS – America’s newest National Laboratory – which will garner the community significant media attention.

SSEP is a true STEM education program. It addresses a wide range of biological
and physical science disciplines (thus appropriate for all teachers of science),
including: seed germination, crystal growth, physiology of microorganisms and life cycles (e.g. bacteria), cell biology and growth, food studies, and studies
of micro-aquatic life. Students design experiments to the technology and engineering constraints imposed by a real research mini-lab and flight operations to and from Earth orbit.

HERITAGE:
Through the first two SSEP announcements of opportunity on the final flights of
Space Shuttles Endeavour and Atlantis (STS-134 and STS-135), 27 communities
joined the program, providing a combined 30,700 grade 5-14 students in 101
schools the opportunity to design and propose real spaceflight experiments;
1,027 student team proposals were received; and 27 experiments were selected and flown on the Shuttles – one for each participating community.

For SSEP Mission 1 to ISS, the third flight opportunity, 12 communities are providing 41,200 students, across 92 schools, the opportunity to design and propose experiments. Mission 1 is currently ongoing.

SOME SSEP BASICS:
1. Typically a minimum of 300 grade 5-12 students across a community engage in experiment design. The school district is free to determine the participating
grade levels. SSEP is not designed for a single class or a small number of
students.

2. Implementation is straightforward and well defined; all needed curricular
materials are fully developed; and we provide ongoing, proactive support for
your educator implementation team.

3. Well designed content resources for teachers and students support
foundational instruction on science in microgravity and experimental design.

4. SSEP is flexible enough to be tailored to your community’s strategic needs in
STEM education.

5. A suite of SSEP program elements – the Community Program – leverages the
flight experiment design competition to engage the entire community, embracing a Learning Community Model for STEM education. Elements include flying up to 2 Mission Patches resulting from an art and design competition across your community, and a SSEP Community Blog for each community.

6. Students can take part in their own research conference where they can report on experiment design and results. The conference is held in Washington, DC, in early July, and likely at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, the site of the 2011 conference.

SSEP is about a commitment: to the joys of learning; to student ownership in
exploration through immersive and REAL science experiences; to science as
journey; to rich experiences for teachers in real science; and to science as an
interdisciplinary tapestry that extends to vital written and oral  communication skills.

CRITICAL DEADLINE: all participating communities must be aboard by February 27, 2012, and to do that we need to start working with interested communities right away.

NEXT STEPS – WE ARE ON A FAST TRACK:
1. CAREFULLY review the National Announcement of Opportunity which includes links to all aspects of the program.

2. Contact us at ssep@ncesse.org or call at: 301-395-0770

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.

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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.