May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 2 – News and Events for October 2013

Posted: Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

by Eric Lewis

I hope that your school year has been off to a great start. I also hope that you can take advantage of some of the great science opportunities in our region this month!

The Next Generation Science Standards have arrived in California and now we need to get to work. In my district, as I’m sure is true in yours, there is a mixed response to the NGSS from fanatical excitement to tempered indifference. I myself think that these standards are going to be amazing not only because they emphasize a whole different kind of science teaching and learning, but also because they connect so wonderfully to the CA Common Core Standards in ELA and Mathematics. Of course, I think in order to really make the changes that we want in education, we’re going to need to support a different structure for schools – especially high schools. We will need more time to work with our colleagues in other disciplines to ensure that we’re utilizing the tools provided in our standards. How else will we be able to weave these standards together? I hope that we see some new innovations in school structures over the next few years to help teachers to meet the challenges and opportunities that these new standards provide. 

Additionally, many of us are watching carefully to see how the assessments for these new standards come to fruition. Some of us remember the Golden State Exams used from 1983 to 2003 – they seemed to be aligned to the kinds of performance expectations that the NGSS encourage. When will these new assessments arrive in CA? Will they be online like the other content area standards’ assessments? Will we have sufficient time with these new standards before we are assessed on them? We are excited to find out!

I do hope that I’ll get to see you at this year’s Education Conference in Palm Springs later this month. Please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings. 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, 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 big 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, Free days on selected Sundays: December 8th

Exploratorium, Free Days, Selected days: October 13th

 

Star Parties:

Houge Park Star Party, October 11th and 25th

San Mateo County Astronomical Society Star Party, October 5th and 26th

 

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 October:

October LASER at UC Berkeley

Wednesday, 10/09/13, 6:30 PM – 9:00 PM

Barrows Hall room 110, UC Berkeley, Berkeley

6:30-6:55: Zann Gill, (former NASA scientist) on “Resolving Prediction’s Paradox: collaborative intelligence ecosystems.”

6:55-7:20: Jennifer Parker (UC Santa Cruz) on “Down to earth: Art, Astronomy and Physics”

7:20-7:40: BREAK. Before or after the break, anyone in the audience currently working within the intersections of art and science will have 30 seconds to share their work. Please present your work as a teaser so that those who are interested can seek you out during social time following the event.

7:40-8:05: Cheryl Leonard (Composer) on “Music from High Latitudes”

8:05-8:30: Wayne Vitale (Gamelan Sekar Jaya) on “Between Ancient Texts and Three Screens”

8:30pm-9:00pm: Discussions, networking – You can mingle with the speakers and the audience

For more information, visit their website at http://www.leonardo.info/isast/laser.html

East Bay Mini Maker Faire 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013, 10:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M.

Park Day School, 360 42nd Street, Oakland

What and why: A Maker Faire is about celebrating learning and doing – not the finished and perfect end product. It’s a place to share what we’re learning with others, and celebrate the fun and freedom of being an amateur.

Featuring both established and emerging local “makers,” the East Bay Mini Maker Faire is a family-friendly celebration coming to Oakland for its fourth year on Sunday, October 20, 2013. It will feature rockets and robots, digital fabrication, DIY science and technology, urban farming and sustainability, alternative energy, bicycles, unique hand-made crafts, music and local food, and educational workshops and installations.

The East Bay Mini Maker Faire follows the “big” Maker Faire model of celebrating invention, creativity, and resourcefulness, but is smaller in scale (170 makers vs. 900 makers; 5,000 people on one day vs. 65,000) and will showcase the wonders of Alameda and Contra Costa counties and beyond!

Tickets range from $10-$20 depending on when you purchase (so purchase early!).

For more information contact Sabrina Merlo at info@ebmakerfaire.com, call 510.325.5178, or visit their website at http://ebmakerfaire.wordpress.com/

For additional events in our region, please reference the VERY comprehensive calendar compiled by the Bay Area Science Festival. 

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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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.