September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Region 2 News and Events

Posted: Saturday, September 1st, 2012

by Eric Lewis

Welcome back to school everyone!  I hope that you had a great summer and had a chance to do some valuable professional development.  I also trust that like me, you’re re-energized for another school year and that you’re excited to meet your new students and families.

This summer I took part in many worthwhile professional development opportunities.  While I really enjoyed building my skills for my English Language Learners through QTEL from WestEd and learning about (and creating!) digital curriculum resources at the Exploratorium, my favorite was as Educator-at-Sea on E/V Nautilus.  After a four day training in Rhode Island where I learned about the types of exploration happening this summer and fall on the ship, the types of resources that support Nautilus’ underwater explorations, and the ins and outs of using the Nautilus website, I was flown out to Turkey to start my work on the ship. 

I had NEVER lived on a ship before, and my last time aboard a boat was probably 25 years earlier.  That said, I’ve always felt like the best professional development is one that exposes you to new experiences and new ideas. This definitely fit the bill! Aboard the ship I learned tons about the kinds of experiences that you need to become ocean engineers, 3-D map creators, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) pilots, underwater archeologists, geo-chemists and more. Additionally, I learned about what it means to be on a watch and to participate fully in the operations of a ship.

I was surprised that the ship was so cosmopolitan. For example, our captain was from Australia, our navigator was from Scotland, our chef was from the UK, the crew was mostly Ukrainian, and many of the scientists were from Turkey. Another surprise was learning that the vast majority of the engineers and scientists were young, and also that so much equipment was being serviced, maintained and used by people in his or her twenties. I was incredibly impressed with how well everyone worked as a team and how quickly people grew to depend on one another to be experts in their part of the work.

If you’re interested in participating as an Educator-at-Sea, I can certainly recommend the program highly. The training in Rhode Island was great and I’m excited to share my stories aboard Nautilus throughout this year.  You can learn more about the program at the Ocean Exploration Trust Website and can see what is going on LIVE with Nautilus at www.nautiluslive.org.  I would recommend spending some time on the Nautilus Live website, which was recently redone with help from partners at National Geographic. On the site you can watch LIVE exploration, ask questions by clicking on the “participate” tab, and see what’s been happening all season by reading blogs and viewing the archived video highlights. There are also great links to other resources that teachers can be use to enhance curriculum in a variety of subjects from Biology, Earth Science and Marine Science to Robotics courses, Physics, and more!

I also hope that you take the opportunity to attend the California Science Education Conference in San Jose this year. 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 better meet your needs and your colleague’s needs this year. To that end, please feel free to email me directly so that I can represent your questions and concerns with the CSTA board, and please let me know if there are events or opportunities that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings.

View the event calender for events in our area.

Please send me an email at lewise2@sfusd.edu.

Written by Eric Lewis

Eric Lewis

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office.

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Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Cal

This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.

Is This a First: Young Female Teens Propose California Water Conservation Legislation?

Posted: Monday, August 28th, 2017

Meet the La Habra Water Guardians from the Optics of their Teacher Moderator, Dr. P.

by Susan M. Pritchard, Ph.D.

You have just won the 2016 Lexus Eco Challenge as one of four First Place Winners in the Middle School Category across the nation! Now, what are you going to do … go to Disneyland? No, not for four of the six La Habra Water Guardians, Disneyland is not in their future at this time. Although I think they would love a trip to Disneyland, (are you listening Mickey Mouse?), at this moment they are focused big time on one major thing … celebrating the passage of their proposed legislation: Assembly Bill 1343 Go Low Flow Water Conservation Partnership Bill and now promoting the enactment of this legislation. Learn More…

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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.