May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 2, April 2014

Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by Eric Lewis

April has arrived, and with it warmer weather and excitement about summer! Of course, we’re lucky to be in this part of our state: not only do we have amazing places to hike, swim and paddle, but we have incredible places to further our passions in science and technology. We’re fortunate to have so many incredible opportunities to further our science knowledge in our local communities. Be sure to take advantage of this month’s total lunar eclipse on April 14th (peak time is 12:45 am) and National Park Week (April 19-27 in a National Park near you!).

Don’t forget to encourage your colleagues to join CSTA. I’m hoping that we’ll have the opportunity to grow our organization and expand to meet your needs and your colleague’s needs. To that end, please feel free to email me directly so that I can represent your questions and concerns with the CSTA board as a whole. Make sure that you participate in our upcoming elections; we will be electing many new board members in the coming year (including a new one for Region 2!).

There are many, many science opportunities in the Bay Area. Please visit here to see a year round calendar of events in our area. Some events to remember:

Free Entry Days at:

Bay Area Discovery Museum, First Wednesday of the month

UC Botanical Gardens, First Thursday of the month

Oakland Museum of California, First Sunday of the month

California Academy of Sciences, Quarterly free days: The next is June 1st, 2014

Exploratorium, Free Days, Selected days: May 11th, September 28th, October 12th

Star Parties:

Houge Park Star Party, April 18th, 8:45 pm

Starry Nights Open Space at Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve, Morgan Hill: April 19th, 9pm

Super-cool Science Parties:

Night Life, Thursdays, 6-10 pm, at the California Academy of Sciences

After Dark, First Thursday of the month, 6-10 pm, at the Exploratorium

Highlighted Event/s in April:

Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants

Friday, 4/4/14, 2:00 PM

Dominican University of CA, Angelico Hall, 50 Acacia Ave, San Rafael

Renowned naturalist and bestselling author Jane Goodall examines the critical role that trees and plants play in our world. In her new book, Goodall blends her experience in nature with her enthusiasm for botany to give readers a deeper understanding of the world around us. Long before her work with chimpanzees, Goodall’s passion for the natural world sprouted in the backyard of her childhood home in England, where she climbed her beech tree and made elderberry wine with her grandmother. The garden her family began then, she continues to enjoy today. “Seeds of Hope” takes us from England to Goodall’s home-away-from-home in Africa, deep inside the Gombe forest, where she and the chimpanzees are enchanted by the fig and plum trees they encounter. She introduces us to botanists around the world, as well as places where hope for plants can be found, such as The Millennium Seed Bank, where one billion seeds are preserved. She shows us the secret world of plants with all their mysteries and potential for healing our bodies as well as Planet Earth. Looking at the world as an adventurer, scientist, and devotee of sustainable foods and gardening – and setting forth simple goals we can all take to protect the plants around us – Jane Goodall delivers an enlightening story of the wonders we can find in our own backyards. Jane Goodall is the world’s foremost authority on chimpanzees and an internationally renowned conservationist. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and has received many distinguished awards in science. Dr. Goodall is also the author of many acclaimed books, including the bestseller Reason for Hope.

* This event will be facilitated by Gail Hudson. Gail Hudson has worked in the publishing industry as a freelance writer, as well as a newspaper and magazine editor. Her features and personal essays about natural health, spiritual growth, and parenting have appeared in numerous publications, including Self, Utne, Natural Health, Parents, Body & Soul, and Good Housekeeping. For many years Gail was Spirituality Editor at Amazon.com. Hudson co-authored this book, along with Goodall’s other works, Harvest for Hope and Hope for Animals and Their World. She teaches classes and workshops on personal narrative and memoir writing. She lives with her husband and two children near Seattle.

Cost: $35 (includes signed book)

You will need to reserve a space in the lecture by clicking here. You can also find the lecture listed on Cal Academy’s Lectures and Workshops site.

Berkeley Bay Festival

Saturday, 4/12/14, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Berkeley Marina, 201 University Avenue, Berkeley

This wonderful FREE event first happened 77 years ago when the Marina first opened in 1937. The Bay Festival now showcases activities and environmental education that are available here at the Marina and all around the region. Come celebrate the Earth and our Bay by listening to Music, eating wonderful food, and enjoying a day by the Bay. There will be entertainment for all ages.

For more information, visit their website here, or email them directly at NATURECENTER@CITYOFBERKELEY.INFO.

Reengineering Your Science Curriculum – STEM Conference at the Exploratorium

Sunday, 4/13/14, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Exploratorium, Pier 15, San Francisco

Wondering how to integrate the NGSS for engineering into your middle- or high-school classroom? Join the Exploratorium’s Teacher Institute for this daylong conference, which features hands-on workshops, and activities you can use in the classroom to engage your students and meet the Standards (you’ll leave with handouts of the activities). Lunch and an evening cocktail social at the Exploratorium are included.

Cost: $45 (fee includes lunch).

Click here to register.

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.