Region 2 – News and Events
Posted: Thursday, August 1st, 2013
by Eric Lewis
As August is quickly approaching, I’m sitting on a train heading from New York to Boston. From there I’ll head to Europe for a bit before I return to San Francisco. Summer will be ending early this year for me as I’ll be going to training on Complex Instruction for a week, and then to San Diego (thanks Region 4!) for training at the San Diego Zoo. Shortly after that we’ll be gearing up for our own districts professional development days – our first in YEARS to be centralized, content-focused, and provided by the district’s professional development minions.
In my travels, I’ve been struck at how well our region does science. There are pockets of other science-rich areas where I traveled, but nothing like what we have in the Bay Area. When in NYC, I was struck by all the museums and urban renewal that has been going on. NYC is incredible, but the California Academy of Sciences and the Exploratorium hold their own against any of the NYC museums. Also, if you didn’t see this – the Exploratorium has indicated that any CA teacher is now free to visit the museum at no charge. (But be sure to request your free admission here!) Between free days, field trip venues, professional development opportunities, and sponsored workshops, science teachers in our region are in great shape with resources at our own area museums.
As the school year approaches once again, I recommend taking some time to review your past year of teaching and identify a few ways that you can improve your lessons and try something new. I often get push back from teachers – not necessarily the most senior teachers – about changing curriculum and trying new teaching techniques. And, since I’m not afraid of push back, I still urge them to change up their curriculum a bit. I know that it can seem difficult to do – and we’re not paid to do the half the work that we do as it is – but I still think that it is worth it to the whole school community to continue learning something new and trying out new teaching methods. Engaged and happy students are WAY easier to manage in class! For new teachers this is relatively easy – pretty much everything you do is new. But for those that have been teaching for five or more years, I think it is so essential to take advantage of professional development offered through your districts or accessible through online media. For example, engage your class with more media. KQED has amazing resources to engage students and to help support classroom discussion and argumentation about scientific ideas and issues in OUR region! You can also look at PBS LearningMedia to get access to even more curriculum and media to strengthen your curriculum. And, don’t be afraid if this doesn’t work smoothly the first time – it may take a few tries to get the timing right and for students to understand what you expect of them.
I hope that some of you were able to submit your ideas for workshops for this year’s Education Conference in Palm Springs in October! Please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings and 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.
Eric Lewis, firstname.lastname@example.org
There are many, many science opportunities in the Bay Area. Some big things 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, Free days on selected Sundays: September 29th, December 8th
Exploratorium, Free Days, Selected days: September 29th, October 13th
Houge Park Star Party, August 2nd
San Mateo County Astronomical Society Star Party, First Friday of the month (NOT in July or August)
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
For additional events in our region, please reference the VERY comprehensive calendar compiled by the Bay Area Science Festival.
Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016
by Jessica Sawko
In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.
At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ai/infomeeting.asp.) Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
by Carol Peterson
1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. https://www.engadget.com/2016/08/25/google-offers-360-degree-tours-of-us-national-parks/. Learn More…
Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016
CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!
Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award
The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Peter A’hearn
NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?
The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…
Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt
Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…