January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

News and Events for March 2014

Posted: Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

by Eric Lewis

Clearly there is a lot of movement around STEM these days. STEM fairs, STEM workshops, STEM getting mentioned in every type of professional development for science teachers. However, “STEM education” seems to have different meanings to different people. As science, technology, engineering and mathematics encompasses a pretty broad range of careers, activities and curriculum, it’s not too surprising that people think of STEM education differently based on their personal experience in education, careers, and aspirations.

Regardless, when I see articles in our local paper around getting more young women into coding, see videos of students printing 3-D robots, and notice the proliferation of Maker Faire Events, I get a bit excited. This seems like STEM to me – using math and science concepts to figure out solutions to problems, creating prototypes of designs to fill specific needs, creating new online gaming environments for other people to explore… These activities exemplify the types of skills that will be needed for some of the more innovative jobs of the future; these are the challenges that breathe life into science and mathematics curricula.

But, many of us are used to being teachers of science. Just science. We’ve refined and enriched our classrooms through laboratory experiments, demonstrations and activities to support our curriculum. What do many of us know of engineering? How many teachers still think of technology as their overhead projector? These are the hurdles that many of us will need to negotiate over the coming years. This is where we need to focus our professional development, and this is where we’ll need to learn from the digital natives that are coming up as new teachers at our sites. Let this be our time to show how well we learn, adapt and integrate new skills into our existing repertoire. The 2014 NSTA Area Conference in Collaboration with CSTA in Long Beach (December 4-6) will be a great place to continue our professional growth.

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!).

Eric Lewis, lewise2@sfusd.edu

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: March 14th, May 11th, September 28th, October 12th

Star Parties:

Houge Park Star Party, March 7th, March 21st

San Mateo County Astronomical Society Star Party, March 1st, March 22nd, March 29th

Starry Nights Open Space at Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve, Morgan Hill: March 22nd

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 March:

2014 Spring STEM Conference

Saturday, 3/15/14, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM
1st floor, McHenry Library, UC Santa Cruz
In this conference, you will:

  • Identify ways to create a classroom culture that promotes the Common Core State Standards in math and literacy in science.
  • Gain strategies on how to integrate the new Common Core Literacy Standards in science and math lessons.
  • Learn about the Next Generation Science Standards in the context of engaging science lessons.
  • Integrate the Environmental Education Initiative curriculum with your science program.
  • Learn how a school garden can breathe life into your science, literacy or math curriculum.

For more information, contact Joyce Hill, Monterey Bay Science Project at joyceh@ucsc.edu or visit their website. Cost: $35/teacher. Continuing Education credits available.

OpenROV: Open Source Underwater Robots for Exploration and Education

Wednesday, 03/19/14, 12:00 PM – 01:00 PM

CITRIS at UC Berkeley, Sutardja Dai Hall, Banatao Auditorium, Berkeley

OpenROV is an open-source underwater robot. But it’s so much more. It’s also a community of people who are working together to create more accessible, affordable, and awesome tools for underwater exploration.

The backbone of the project is the global community of DIY ocean explorers who are working, tinkering and improving the OpenROV design. The community ranges from professional ocean engineers to hobbyists, software developers to students. It’s a welcoming community and everyone’s feedback and input is valued.

The project started in a garage in Cupertino, with a few guys who wanted to explore an underwater cave. After finding a global community of co-developers on Kickstarter©, the project has evolved into a network of connected devices, exploring the oceans and lakes of the world.

Speaker: David Lang, OpenROV

For more information, visit their website or register online here.

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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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.