March/April 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 6

NSTA Is Coming to Los Angeles!

Posted: Monday, November 14th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

With the 2016 California Science Education Conference now in our rear view, CSTA has begun to look towards the next major science education event scheduled to take place in our fine state – the National Science Teachers Association’s National Conference on Science Education! This incredible event is expected to draw more than 10,000 science educators from all over the country to the Los Angeles Convention Center March 30-April 2, 2017. Luckily for us here in California, this incredible event right here in our great state, and CSTA members are eligible to register for the conference at member rates! For more information and to register today, visit http://www.nsta.org/conferences/national.aspx.

To help you make the most of the professional learning opportunities available at the Los Angeles conference, the Conference Committee has planned the conference around four strands that explore topics of current significance, enabling you to focus on a specific area of interest or need.

NGSS: The Next Generation of Science Teaching

Celebrate the vision of three-dimensional teaching and learning in the NRC Framework and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). This strand provides engaging and collaborative examination of the NGSSarchitecture to allow teachers to implement the changes necessary to construct a coherent program, including classroom practice and instructional sequence, as well as to build student skills. Bundling performance expectations connects the three key dimensions within a progression. This strand will focus on providing opportunities for students to collaborate as they develop and use science and engineering practices, communicate evidence of core scientific understanding, and apply real-world contexts. Alignment of assessments connecting core concepts, science and engineering practices, and crosscutting concepts is essential.

2017: A STEM Odyssey

Students’ science learning has changed dramatically from learning in the past. In a STEM environment, students’ understanding of the world around them is facilitated through the intentional connections between the four disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM curriculum provides research-based instructional strategies that engage diverse learners and highlights career pathways in STEM-related fields. More importantly, STEM provides opportunities for all students to place themselves in a 21st-century world. In this strand, participants will connect and collaborate to increase their understanding and ability to teach STEM-based lessons and instructional sequences.

Science & Literacy Reloaded

With the continued emphasis on mathematics and language arts, elementary teachers have not been encouraged or given opportunities to teach science. This strand will support these teachers in seeing the connections between science and literacy. Elementary science will be re-envisioned as an opportunity for authentic language learning and not just one more thing to squeeze into the curriculum. As students investigate natural phenomena, they collect data to then make claims from their evidence and explain their reasoning, arguing from their evidence. Teachers can then support their students’ language and literacy through science notebooks, technical writing, interactive journals, and e-portfolios. This strand will allow teachers to become advocates of literacy in science, blending oral and written communication skills within the science curriculum.

Mission Possible: Equity for Universal Access

Access to science education is not a privilege; it is a right for students of all abilities, genders, languages, socioeconomic status, and geographic locations. A quality science education is essential in closing the skills gap in our current workforce. Science learning must start in early childhood and be sustained through postsecondary education to keep our nation as a leader in innovation. Current challenges provide opportunities for equitable access to science education. Some issues include maximizing student achievement for exceptional students while respecting cultural and linguistic diversity in order to celebrate those differences. The sessions in this strand will focus on pedagogical best practices to enhance learning for ALL.

Make your plans to join CSTA in Los Angeles this March 30-April 2, 2017. Register today!

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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California Science Curriculum Framework Now Available

Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017

The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.

For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.

The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.

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.

Call for CSTA Awards Nominations

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. 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.

Call for Volunteers – CSTA Committees

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

Volunteer

CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: 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.

A Friend in CA Science Education Now at CSTA Region 1 Science Center

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. 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.

Learning to Teach in 3D

Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017

by Joseph Calmer

Probably like you, NGSS has been at the forefront of many department meetings, lunch conversations, and solitary lesson planning sessions. Despite reading the original NRC Framework, the Ca Draft Frameworks, and many CSTA writings, I am still left with the question: “what does it actually mean for my classroom?”

I had an eye-opening experience that helped me with that question. It came out of a conversation that I had with a student teacher. It turns out that I’ve found the secret to learning how to teach with NGSS: I need to engage in dialogue about teaching with novice teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching science in some capacity for 12 years. During that time pedagogy and student learning become sort of a “hidden curriculum.” It is difficult to plan a lesson for the hidden curriculum; the best way is to just have two or more professionals talk and see what emerges. I was surprised it took me so long to realize this epiphany. 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.