May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 1 News & Events – Featuring Guest Contributor

Posted: Monday, March 14th, 2016

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

In addition to what is coming up below is a guest article summarizing some of the great things happening in Tuolumne County. Lucky you if you have been part of these activities! If not, and you live in this part of Region 1 maybe there is something you want to look into finding out more about. It is always great to hear from sister CSTA members out there about happenings – please continue sending them to me at mshaw@siskiyoucoe.net.   

Trinity County Office of Education Mobile STEAM Team will visit Douglas City School on April 20, 2016 for an Evening STEAM Event for kids K-8.

Happenings in Tuolumne County

by Cathy Parker, Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services ,Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools

Tuolumne County continues to provide increased student and teacher support for STEM initiatives. The Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools Office hosted the 2nd Annual Global Cardboard Challenge, October 2015 with over 400 K-8 students and two high school teams participating. (http://www.tcsos.us/student-activities/global-cardboard-challenge/) STEM has spread to the most rural regions of Tuolumne County with the opening of a satellite campus of the InnovationLab (http://myinnovationlab.org/) at Tioga High that includes 3D printers, high end computers, and is managed primarily by students. This joint effort by the Tuolumne County Economic Development Authority is a great example of how private businesses can support STEM in our schools.

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Dinner with a Scientist (http://www.tcsos.us/dinner-with-a-scientist/) events were held in Amador/Calaveras counties on November 19 with approximately 60 students and 15 scientists, and in Tuolumne County on December 11 with approximately 120 students and 33 scientists.  Keynote speakers were Dr. Erin Naegle from Columbia College speaking about all of the tubing systems in the human body, and Dr. Debi Bolter of Modesto Junior College speaking about her work leading research on the Homo naledi fossil find in South Africa, respectively.  Women in STEM!

Our county office is working with school districts to help start up GATE programs.  At Sonora Elementary, once per month after school sessions are divided into two grade level groups, 3 to 5 and 6 to 8.  One grade level does math while the other does science/technology, then they switch the following month.

TOPS (Teaching Opportunities for Partners in Science) partners continue to visit elementary classrooms around Tuolumne County.

Our CaMSP grant STEM-TRACKS (http://www.tcsos.us/educational-services/stemtracks/) training continues with Unit Development Team meetings dominating the winter months. Culminating meeting on May 2 and Year Three Summer Intensive Institute from June 20 to 25.

HealthLitNow (http://healthlitnow.org/) has held several workshops with students in grades 7 to 9 to inform them about career opportunities in the healthcare field.  The workshops are composed of six engaging, non-didactic, NGSS focused stations that address multiple healthcare career opportunities. The stations include: neuroscience, heart and circulatory system, pulmonary system, diet, and ophthalmology.


The Forestry Institute for Teachers (FIT) is a multi-day residence workshop developed by the Northern California Society of American Foresters, University of California Cooperative Extension, Shasta County Office of Education, The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and Project Learning Tree. The FIT Program is underwritten by a consortium of public and private sources. Since 1993, more than 2,300 teachers have graduated from the program. Apply online at http://www.forestryinstitute.org/apply.html. 2016 FIT Sessions:

  • June 12-18, Plumas County
  • June 19-25, Tuolumne County
  • June 26-July 2, Shasta County
  • July 10-16, Humboldt County

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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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.