May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

NGSS in California Update

Posted: Monday, November 4th, 2013

by Jessica Sawko

On September 4, 2013 the California State Board of Education adopted the Next Generation Science Standards for California Public Schools. The board adopted grade specific standards for grades K-5 and grade span standards for grades 6-8 and grades 9-12. During its meeting this Wednesday, November 6, 2013, the State Board of Education will take up the issue of how to arrange the standards in grades 6-8 (see Item #6). Based on letters and emails received along with public comment provided during the September meeting, it is clear that there is a great deal of division in the science education community regarding how best to arrange the standards for middle school science. There are now three “camps” taking sides on the issue, those in favor of integrated science, those in favor of discipline-specific science, and those advocating that the state leave the decision of how best to present science to middle school students up to the districts (local decision). With California being a K-8 adoption state, it is not clear to CSTA at this time if the local decision option is allowable under current policies and statutes. Information about how to participate in the State Board meeting in person or remotely is available at: http://www.cascience.org/csta/ngss.asp. For CSTA’s response to the State Board of Education Agenda Item #6 for the November meeting, click here.

The pending decision on the arrangement of the middle school standards is not holding up the recently authorized development of the new curriculum framework for science. The California Department of Education is now accepting applications for Focus Group participants. The Science Framework will incorporate and support the Next Generation Science Standards adopted by the State Board of Education in September 2013.

2016 Revision of the Science Framework

California’s SB300 (Chapter 480, Statutes of 2013) calls for the revision of the California Science Framework to align with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Among the first steps in the revision of the Science Framework are the recruitment and subsequent appointment of focus group members by the California Department of Education (CDE). Pursuant to California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Education, Section 9511, the CDE will convene at least four public focus groups of educators in different regions of California to gather comments on the revision of the Science Framework.

Focus Group Application

The focus group meetings will be open to the public, and comments made at each meeting will be forwarded to the Instructional Quality Commission and the State Board of Education for consideration. Each focus group will include between 10 and 15 invitees, who will be selected to ensure balanced representation of regions, types of schools, and grade-level experience.Note: Application closes on December 2, 2013 at 3:00PM PT

The Instructional Quality Commission (IQC) is seeking science teachers to fill open positions on the IQC. The deadline for applications is November 15, 2013. 

The IQC has many roles, and science will be its focus in the near future – members with science teaching experience have not been on the IQC for some time and are truly needed now that CA is moving forward with Next Generation Science Standards.

The California State Board of Education (SBE) is now accepting applications for practicing science teachers to serve on the Instructional Quality Commission (IQC). This high-level commission is responsible for advising the SBE on matters related to curriculum and instruction. The IQC (1) develops and recommends curriculum frameworks; (2) develops and recommends criteria for evaluating instructional materials submitted for adoption; (3) evaluates instructional materials that have been submitted by publishers and makes recommendations to adopt or reject each submission; (4) recommends policies and activities to the SBE, the California Department of Education (CDE), and local education agencies regarding curriculum and instruction; and (5) advises and makes recommendations to the SBE on implementing the state’s academic content standards. Applications are due 5:00 pm, November 15, 2013.

The IQC, formerly known as the Curriculum Development and Supplemental Materials Commission, consists of 18 members, 13 of whom are appointed by the SBE upon the recommendation of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction or the members of the SBE. At any one time, at least seven of the public members are current classroom teachers, or mentor teachers, or both, who are assigned to teach in grades K-12.

Commitment

The IQC holds four two-day meetings a year. Additional IQC and Subject Matter Committee meetings may also be scheduled if needed. All of these meetings require preparation time for IQC members. IQC members may be called upon to make an additional commitment of 10-12 days to participate in the review of instructional materials submitted for adoption in California.

Term of Office
Terms are for four calendar years, and may be renewed by the SBE based upon participation and contribution, membership composition, a need to stagger terms, or other considerations. Additional information about the IQC may be found at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/cc/cd/.

Travel, Lodging, and Other Expenses
IQC members serve without pay and are reimbursed for authorized travel costs according to established SBE procedures. Members will be reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses related to IQC meetings only. No reimbursement is made for other activities.

Application Form
The application form may be found on the SBE’s Web site at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/cc/ab/.

Please note that the application form requests that applicants provide both a resume and two letters of recommendation. The SBE also requests that applicants provide a detailed explanation of interest in and qualifications to serve on the IQC.

Application Deadline
All applications and corresponding materials must be received in the CDE by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, November 15, 2013, in order to be considered for appointment. Incomplete applications will not be considered. All applications and corresponding materials for appointment to the IQC should be sent to:

Thomas Adams, Executive Director, Instructional Quality Commission
Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Division
California Department of Education
1430 N Street, Suite 3207
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 319-0881

Telephone Interviewing
Final candidates must be available for telephone interviews with the SBE Screening Committee on December 16 and/or December 17, 2013. Telephone interview times will be announced at a later date.

Questions
For questions or additional information regarding the IQC, contact Thomas Adams at 916 319-0881.

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

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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.