May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

News and Events in Region 2

Posted: Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

Feb. 5 & March 5, 2011
San Francisco, CA
Birding at Heron’s Head Park

San Francisco Nature Education Announces 2011 tours of Heron’s Head Park. Come by and experience the thrill of observing and learning about the waterfowl, shorebirds, and wading birds that call the park home during the winter. Recent sightings include Harlequin Duck and White-tailed kite. Tours will be led by interns from Lowell and Lincoln High Schools equipped with spotting scopes. Free event; donations accepted. Free parking is available near entrance. Meet at 10:00 am at Heron’s Head Park for tours that leave every 30 minutes with the last tour at 11:30 am. Heron’s Head Park is located at Jennings Street & Cargo Way, two blocks south of Pier 96. For more information visit our website at www.sfnature.org, call us at 415-387-9160, or email us at info@sfnature.org. Co-Sponsored by Port of San Francisco and Golden Gate Audubon Society.

Feb. 7-9, 2011
San Francisco, CA
Assessing for Learning

Offered by the Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry. For a detailed workshop brochure, visit http://www.exploratorium.edu/ifi/workshops. For questions, call 415-561-0397.

Feb. 19, 2011
Solano County, CA
Project WET Workshop

This FREE workshop is provided by the Solano County Water Agency, Solano Irrigation District School Water Education Program (SWEP), with support from the City of Vallejo- Water Division. This informative, fun, hands-on workshop will demonstrate the use of Project WET activities to engage student learning of local water issues. Concurrent-training sessions will be provided for K-6th grade educators and 7-12th grade educators. Educational materials, breakfast and lunch will be provided free to all Solano County participants. CEU credit is available. Limited to the first 25 educators that register. Contact Ursula Heffernon at: (530) 661-7149 –or– uheffernon@pacbell.net.

March 4, 2011
San Jose, CA
Project WET Workshop

The Santa Clara Valley Water District is offering a unique experience that will not only engage you in Project WET activities, but will also provide a wealth of information on local water issues and additional materials that can be incorporated into the activities. Each participant will walk away with their own Project WET guide, a new appreciation for the magic of water, and the opportunity to receive CEU credit. Contact Kathy Machado at: (408) 265-2607-2331 –or — kmachado@valleywater.org.

April 1, 2011
San Francisco, CA
STEMposium

STEMposium is the collaboration of leaders in STEM education who are sharing their innovations in how to teach, learn and engage STEM in the classroom through 60 second videos. Students, teachers and other educational innovators are invited to upload their videos through this site. The most compelling videos will be selected through several rounds of reviews, starting in February and ending in March. Selected presenters will be invited to speak at the STEMposium Event on April 1, 2011 in San Francisco. These videos will be identified within one of five tracks: Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Integrated STEM.

For more information visit: http://www.stemposium.org/home

Registration for the Sunday, May 1, 2011 Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour is now open. Register now at http://bringingbackthenatives.net/ to receive your garden guide in the first mailing.  This event is expected to fill; registering at this time will reserve your place on the tour.

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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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. 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 NGSS 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.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.