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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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.

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Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

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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.