May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Primary Science – Integrating NGSS and the Common Core

Posted: Monday, October 19th, 2015

By Valerie Joyner

It’s hard to believe that it is already October and that you have been working with your primary (TK-2) students for several weeks now. As your new class settles into the routines and is now ready to begin to take on new challenges, it’s time to look at how you will integrate NGSS science and CaCCSS (California Common Core State Standards). To some this may seem a daunting task, but in reality there are many integration connections that already exist in both NGSS science instruction and CaCCSS.

Let’s start by looking at the Kindergarten NGSS Performance Expectation, K-ESS2-1 (Use and share observations of local weather conditions to describe patterns over time). Here students observe and record local weather conditions overtime and eventually begin to analyze the data they have collected. The opportunity to integrate science and math exists within the CaCCSS, K.CC (Counting and Cardinality) and K.OA (Operations and Algebraic Thinking). Kindergarten students explore numbers and operations through weather related science and that will lead them becoming proficient in math, as they count and work with numbers within the standards. This holds true for ELA (English Language Arts) as well, where kindergarteners become familiar with informational texts, listening and speaking about their science observations, and writing/recording their observations about the weather.

The first grade life science Earth – Space Science Performance Expectation, 1-LS1-2 (Read texts and use media to determine patterns in behaviors of parents and offspring that help offspring survive), shows a direct connection to CaCCSS in ELA by asking students to use informational texts to determine patterns in the behaviors of parents and offspring that help offspring survive. Other ELA connections can be made as students use the NGSS Practice of Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information about parent – offspring behaviors, as they write about and discuss the patterns. Again, there are logical connections and opportunities to use science to explore and move students towards math proficiency with Operations and Algebraic Thinking, as students compare the number of behaviors and identify patterns within the science.

The second grade physical science Performance Expectation, 2-PS1-2 (Analyze data obtained from testing different materials to determine which materials have the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose) again provides students with opportunities to use science as a vehicle for developing proficiency in ELA and math. As students test different materials and determine the properties that are best suited for an intended purpose, (such as comparing sponges and blocks for building castles) they collect, record, and share their observations with their peers. Students develop their writing skills as they write informative/explanatory texts, routinely write in their science notebooks, and ask clarifying questions about the science they are studying. In math, students represent and interpret data by drawing picture or bar graphs that represent the data they have collected.

These are just a few examples of opportunities for integrate NGSS science and CaCCSS with your primary students. As you look at your curriculum and collaborate with your colleagues identify additional ways to integrate science and CaCCSS. Please share your ideas with us.

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Written by Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner is a retired elementary science educator and is a member of CSTA.

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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 California NGSS k-8 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. 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.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.