May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

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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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.