January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Oregon State University Study Documents Invasive Species Release by Science Teachers

Posted: Monday, October 1st, 2012

by Judith Aquilar

Oregon State University recently released their findings of a study conducted regarding the introduction of invasive species by science teachers. It was presented on August 7, 2012 at the National Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. The study surveyed 2000 teachers from Florida, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Oregon, Washington, California, Connecticut, British Columbia, and Ontario and included focus groups and interviews with teachers, curriculum specialists and biological supply house owners and managers.  The researchers found that one out of four educators who used live organisms in their classrooms released them into the wild after they were done using them. Some of the organisms included crayfish, elodea, amphibians, and mosquito fish.

For example, crayfish are often used to teach students about habitats and adaptation, and Elodea can be used to provide food and shelter for the crayfish. These organisms are popular to allow students to observe the behaviors of the crawfish as well as their structure and the function. It seems like a fantastic idea for inquiry-based learning in an elementary classroom.  Unfortunately, however, the study found that teachers in Oregon stopped using the native Pacific Northwest crayfish due to their high mortality rate and instead began to order their crayfish from Louisiana. If these non-native Louisiana crayfish are eventually released into the wild, this poses a problem because they are not an indigenous organism if released into a local Pacific Northwest lake or stream and the diseases or parasites they carry are unknown.

The NSTA Position Statement for the Use of Live Animals specifically states that if used teachers must “refrain from releasing animals into non-indigenous environs.” Unfortunately, though, sometimes teachers don’t give this issue much thought. Oregon State University expert on invasive species, Sam Chan, advises teachers and suppliers to become educated about the introduction of invasive species. So what should teachers do? The easiest answer is probably to rely only on reputable sources for organisms, and use native species whenever possible. Plan ahead for care or disposal of the organisms once you’re finished with them in the classroom. If in doubt, there are resources available to help you decide the best option. These include:

You can read the official news release from Oregon State University by visiting their web page.

Written by Judith Aguilar

Judith Aguilar is a science teacher in the Long Beach Unified School District and is a member of CSTA.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.