May 2015 – Vol. 27 No. 9

News and Events in Region 2

Posted: Monday, August 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

It’s unbelievable that August is already upon us. In San Francisco Unified, school starts in just two weeks; so much for summer!

As you are all gearing up for the coming school year, take some time to think about what parts of your curriculum you’re hoping to improve and what parts of your curriculum you’re going to throw away! I know we are all guilty of reusing some of our old activities and labs – and we should, since much of it is great. That said it’s our duty as teachers to meet the needs of our students. Sometimes that means putting ourselves into situations where we’re the learners and our students are the experts.

When possible - and appropriate - use some new technology in your classroom. I’m not just talking about using a video projector or a document viewer. I mean to actually create an assessment for students based on a video that they created. KQED QUEST’s media-making toolkit could help out with planning this kind of thing! Or, have students participate in creating blogs or in making slideshows to illustrate their knowledge. Of course, our schools provide us with only so much allowance for materials, and we only have so many computer labs to use…but, how are we going to create the learners, problem solvers and creative thinkers of tomorrow if we’re still assessing students on facts and skills that are based on last year’s (or last century’s) technology?

Please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our region’s offerings! Also, encourage your colleagues to join CSTA. I’m hoping that we’ll have the opportunity to grow our organization and expand to meet your needs and your colleague’s needs. To that end, please feel free to email me directly so that I can represent your questions and concerns with the CSTA board as a whole.

Good luck with the start of your school year! I look forward to seeing you all down in Pasadena for our next CSTA conference from October 21 – 23!

Eric Lewis, lewise2@sfusd.edu


Fintastic! Sharks Program at SF Main Library w/ QUEST
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the SF Public Library Main Branch

QUEST’s Emmy-award winning “Great White Shark: Meet the Man in the Gray Suit” will be screening at the SF Public Library as a part of a special program put together by Kati Schmidt, at the Aquarium of the Bay. Chris Bauer, the producer of the segment, will be a panelist. He’ll also be at the kids program.

Aquarium of the Bay’s Fintastic! Shark Discovery Program
Tuesday, August 2: Main Library Branch Special Program!

  • 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Kids programming at the Children’s Center
  • 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Film screening and discussion surrounding threats to sharks and Assembly Bill, AB 376

Museums on Us® Weekend at the Chabot Space & Science Center
Through Chabot’s participation in the Museums on Us® program, Bank of America Cardholders receive free admission during the first full weekend of every month (August 6 and 7). Present your valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card at the Visitor Services desk for one free admission.

  1. Each Bank of America cardholder is allowed one free general admission on any eligible MOU day.
  2. Admission is non-transferable and for the cardholder only.
  3. Any valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card is acceptable. Photo ID is required along with the card.
  4. The program applies only to the first full weekend (consecutive Saturday and Sunday) of every month
  5. Not to be combined with other offers

Exploratorium Free Day
There is always free admission to the Exploratorium on the first Wednesday of each month (August 3); however, due to capacity limits, groups of 10 or more are required to make reservations or will not be admitted.  The Exploratorium is located in San Francisco in the landmark Palace of Fine Arts building in San Francisco’s Marina district, off Highway 101 near the Golden Gate Bridge.


Enjoy Nature in the Bay Area – go on a hike!
There are so many amazing places to hike in the bay area. Check out these websites to get inspired!

http://www.bahiker.com/kids.html

http://sanfrancisco.about.com/od/environmentnature/tp/Free-Nature-Walks-in-SF.htm

http://www.ebparks.org/node/58

http://www.bahiker.com/northbayhikes/ringmountain.html (this is one of my personal favorites up in Marin!)


Free EXCELLENT Science Lessons and Other Resources
If you’re hoping to add a few new labs or activities this year, be sure to check out SEP Lessons. This is a great free resource that is maintained by SEP at UCSF and has contributions from many teachers and scientists.


Also, be sure to check out the Exploratorium’s Educator Resources. The Exploratorium is always adding on new resources so you never know what you’ll be able to find. Check out one of my personal favorites: The Secret Lives of Flowers.

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office and is CSTA region 2 director.

Written by Eric Lewis

Eric Lewis

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office and is CSTA region 2 director.

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Science Is in the Air – So Much Going On!

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

It’s May and with that comes AP exams, science fair, science Olympiad, NGSS Rollout Symposium, plans for summer professional development opportunities for us and our students. There are so many things happening in our regions and around the state. It’s hard to keep up on everything, but try we must!

Springtime is when our students show us what they’ve got!

Springtime is the culmination for a wide range of year-long or semester-long science activities. Congratulations and thank you to all of our members and science friends who helped with Science Olympiad, Science Fairs, academic decathlon, AP exams, robotics competitions, science or STEM fairs and more. We all recognize that it takes a lot of time, work, energy and passion from teachers and kids to get to the point where kids are able to share what they know, apply their knowledge and skills, be competitive, and shine. Those long after-school sessions, Saturday work sessions, the time away from family, the extra hours… they are worth it. You do make a difference and the opportunities that you are providing to your students will be remembered long after the event(s) are over.  Learn More…

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and president of CSTA.

Computer Based Testing for Science – Coming Soon Plus Sample 2015 Individual Student Reports for 5th and 8th Grade Science CSTs

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

updated May 6, 2015

by Jessica Sawko

On Wednesday, May 6, 2015 the California State Board of Education voted to approve Educational Testing Service (ETS) as the contractor to develop the new science assessments that are required to meet federal testing regulations.  The vote is not without controversy and was preceded by a closed session of the the State Board. As reported in the Sacramento Bee on April 5, Pearson School was dissatisfied with the results of the bidding process and threatened a lawsuit.

Partial view of the sample 5th grade student report. Click the image to access a full copy of the sample report.

Partial view of the sample 5th grade student report. Click the image to access a full copy of the sample report.

Additionally, this week the California Department of Education also released the final version of sample individual student reports that will be sent home to parents this summer. These reports will include the science assessment results in grades 5 and 8. The sample report of the grade 10 life science test has not been posted and CSTA has requested more information about what information this report will contain. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

Science Framework Delay Passes First Committee While Standards Implementation Funding Stalls in Appropriations

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

by Jessica Sawko

There is a great deal of positioning and lobbying going on at the state Capitol these days with the projected increase in state revenue, which may translate into as much as $3 billion in additional funding for K-12 education. The question is “how will that be spent?.” Governor Brown is expected to release his revised budget proposal on May 14. The budget will likely give us the answer to this question. CSTA, the Association of California School Administrators (ACSA), CSLNet, Children Now, TechAmerica, TechNet, Education Trust-West, California Federation of Teachers, and several LEAs agree that $1 billion should be earmarked to fund implementation of new state standards. AB 631 (Bonilla) proposes just that, and while it easily passed the Assembly Education Committee last month, it stalled in the Assembly Appropriations Committee and was put on suspense. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

A Teacher’s Journey: NGSS Is NOT an Add On

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

by Peter A’Hearn

Students looking at a beaker containing 55.85g of iron-

AHearn_Photo_1

“That is one atom of iron.”

Huh… Umm…Sinking feeling… I hope nobody who knows anything about science walks into my room right now.

My students were looking at a mole of iron (602,200,000,000,000,000,000,000 atoms more or less) and concluding that they were probably looking at one atom of iron. And this was after two weeks of learning about the periodic table and structure of the atom. My formal observation lesson that year had been about how to figure out the number of protons, neutrons, and electrons in an atom based on the periodic table. My principal gave me all “3s” and told me it was one of the best lessons he had observed that year. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District, Co-Chair of the 2013 Conference Committee, and a member of CSTA.

NGSS – Next Generation Science Students

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

by Leah Wheeler

For the past 10 years, students have entered my 5th and 6th grade classrooms with little science experience.  Because science has not been taught and takes the backseat to all other subject areas, students had no idea how fascinating science could really be for them.  However, this past year, I had the pleasure to be a part of Galt Elementary School District’s NGSS Early Implementation team and it has truly transformed how I teach science in my classroom.

In years past, students would moan, “Oh no, science!” and, “This is so boring just reading out of a book,” but not this year.  This year students are enthused about learning science and thrilled for the opportunity to explore something new.

We started out our school year exploring Earth’s systems and the human impact on those systems.   Learn More…

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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.