May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 1, April 2014

Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by David Pummill and Marian Murphy-Shaw

As a science educator, or supporter of science education, this article has a list of some events and updates you may want to get on your calendar now! Consider looking at what you can align your resources to support this spring, summer, and next fall. With NGSS science is coming to life in CA we hope you are as excited as we are not to miss the fun!

  • Chico State 14th Annual Science Teaching SymposiumApril 26 from 8:30-3:30, from attached or contact the CMSE at CSU Chico. Register by April 22!
  • California Science Teacher’s Association has some great membership deals for new teachers, current members and those attending the December joint conference with NSTA!
  • First and Second Year Teachers: Get two years’ CSTA membership for the price of one! Join CSTA at the regular member rate of $50 and get your second year of membership for free! We must receive verification of your status as a new (first or second year) teacher, signed by your principal or BTSA provider. Download a membership form and send it in to CSTA along with your verification. Click here for a sample verification form.
  • Current Members: Get three, get one free. Current CSTA members who bring in three new members will get their following year’s membership free! Introduce your colleagues to the benefits of belonging to their professional organization and get a year’s free membership in the bargain. Send in memberships for three individuals who are not and have not been CSTA members for at least three years; new memberships must be submitted at the same time. Download this membership form for your colleagues (don’t forget to fill in your name at the bottom!) and send all three in at the same time.
  • NEW for 2014: Joint 1-Year NSTA/CSTA Membership: $105 (a $125 value) To celebrate the 2014 NSTA Area Conference in Long Beach in Collaboration with CSTA (join on the NSTA website – look under “Membership Type”, it is the last option) This is a limited time offer only available in 2014 and only via the NSTA website.
  • Second Annual CA STEM Symposium: September 22-23, 2014 at the San Diego Convention Center. Save the date.
  • CSTA is partnering with the National Science Teachers Association to produce the 2014 NSTA Long Beach Area Conference – in Collaboration with CSTA! December 4-6 at the Long Beach Convention Center. Conference Strands for 2014 are:

• #NGSS #Implementation
• Science: The Gateway to Common Core State Standards
• STEM Classrooms: Anytime/Anyplace/Anywhere

Additional Region 1 Events:

CREEC Student Competitions and Contests
April 15, 2014: Nominate a Young Environmental Hero for a $5,000 Barron Prize.Do you know a young person who is doing great things to help other people or the planet? Nominate him or her for the 2014 Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes! The Barron Prize celebrates inspiring, public-spirited young people (ages 8–18) who have made a significant positive difference to people and our environment. Each year, 10 to 15 winners each receive a $5,000 cash award to support their service work or higher education. Half of each year’s winners are chosen for their work to protect the environment. Deadline: April 15, 2014

May 30, 2014: Green Living Project: Student File Project
GLP Films has launched the 2014 Student Film Project! Students are encouraged to document and submit unique and compelling short films (5 minutes or less) about local or global sustainability-related projects. Winning films will be screened at GLP events this year! Winners also receive prize packages valued at $500 from Mountainsmith, The North Face, Think Tank Photo, Freewaters, Pura Vida, Relan and more. The contest is open to 6th grade through graduate level students. Regular Deadline: May 30, 2014

May 3, 2014: NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE SATURDAY
When: May 3, 2014 – 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Sacramento State Union
Cost: $90 (after April 28 late registration is $99)
Included: Three Workshops, Workshop Materials,
Breakfast, Lunch, 6 Professional Development Hours
Download A Super SIRC Flyer
Download a Registration Form

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s secretary.

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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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.