May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 1 – News and Events

Posted: Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

by Valerie Joyner

I am very excited about upcoming January 8th release of the Next Generation Science Standards!  Since the initial review period last fall your ideas and input have been used to revise this next draft of the standards.  This month we will have the opportunity to review the revisions that have been made and offer our additional expertise, ideas, and comments.  CSTA will keep you up to date about the release and review period.  I hope that you and your colleagues, at all grade levels, will review and provide comment for this important new document.

It is also time to submit workshop and short course proposals for our 2013 Conference.  We are always looking for new and exciting ideas and presentations.  Short Course proposals are due January 31, 2013 and workshop proposals are due March 4, 2013.  Please consider sharing your ideas and expertise in Palm Springs, October 25-27, 2013.

Future Events and Deadlines:

Creek Restoration/Native Plant Planting in Petaluma
January – March 2013
The Sonoma County Water Agency has scheduled three Community Service Days this school year. The first two involve planting native species in local creeks to improve habitat for steelhead and salmon.  The third will be a creek cleanup (details below). High school and middle school students can earn three community service hours and learn a bit about riparian ecology while having a good time with friends. The Community Service Days are also a first step in getting students interested in the “Sonoma County Youth Ecology Corps” which is a paid summer jobs program that helps students learn job-readiness skills.
Teachers can contact the Water Agency by calling Stefan Klakovich at (707) 547-1930 for more information or to arrange a class presentation.

January 12, 9-12 noon: Native planting
Corona Creek, Petaluma  (Near Sonoma Mountain Pkwy and Corona Road)
Park on Maria Drive (cross street Telford Lane)

February 2, 9-12 noon: Native planting
Five Creek, Rohnert Park (Cross Street Ellen Street)
Park at Eagle Park on Emily Road

March 9, 9-12noon: Creek cleanup
Pollen Creek, Santa Rosa (Cross Street: Guerneville Road)
Park at Northwest Community Park on Marlow Road

San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival Student Competition (March 2013)
January 14, 2013 deadline for submission
Middle and high school students

Sonoma County Science Fair
February 23, 2013
Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park
mroa@scoe.org   re: science fair
Handbook and forms available at www.scoe.org
Contact Mike Roa for additional information

Sonoma County Science Olympiad
March 27, 2013
Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park
Next planning meeting is Tuesday, January 15 (4:00-5:00) at Luther Burbank Elementary School in Santa Rosa.
Handbook and forms available at www.scoe.org
Contact Mike Roa for additional information mroa@scoe.org   re: science olympiad

Sonoma County Spring Science Showcase (May 14, 2013)
Sonoma County will host the first Spring Science Showcase for students grades 4-12 who did not participate in the county’s Science Fair.  Learn how your students can participate in this event May 14, 2013.

For more information contact Mike Roa at mroa@scoe.org  re: Spring Science Showcase

Project ASTRO Summer Workshop
This program of the astronomical Society of the Pacific “seeks 3rd-9th grade teachers…to attend a free 2-day summer workshop to learn hands-on, inquiry-based astronomy activities.  The workshop will be Aug 2-3 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. Online applications are due by May 29, 2013.

For information, call 415-715-1426 or complete teacher application

Written by Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner is a retired elementary science educator and is CSTA’s Primary (grades K-2) 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.