May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 4 News and Events

Posted: Sunday, May 1st, 2011

by Pete A’Hearn

Region 4 is the most amazingly diverse place in the world to teach science. We stretch from the cold Pacific Ocean to the hottest desert in the world, contain the highest and lowest points in California, the oldest tree in the world, and the oldest cloned plant. We have top research facilities from the Salk Institute in San Diego to the 200-inch telescope at Mt. Palomar. Region 4 is the counties of San Diego, Orange, Riverside, Imperial, San Bernardino, Inyo, and Mono.

Ah…springtime in region 4 and a young teacher’s thoughts turn to…

Summer! Just around the corner with many opportunities for professional growth. In the meantime to keep you from getting into the post-CST test doldrums, there is lots going on.

Boojom Institute in Idyllwild is having an Open House on May 7. They do some great outdoor science programs. More info at: http://www.boojum.org/images/openhouse_may_7_10.jpg.

Head to Los Angeles for the International Science and Engineering Fair on May 9 to May 13, and cheer on the region 4 kids who are competing. More information can be found at: http://www.societyforscience.org/intelisef2011.

Sally Ride Science Festival, May 14, San Diego, CA: Presented by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, the festival for 5th to 8th grade students features hands-on workshops, guest speakers, and a street fair complete with food, booths and music. A highlight of the day will be the keynote presentation by former NASA astronaut Wendy Lawrence. Since 2001, Sally Ride Science Festivals have given middle school girls the opportunity to explore a variety of science fields and meet inspiring scientists such as Sally Ride, Laurie Leshin, and Ellen Ochoa. The festival runs from 11 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. and, with the exception of workshops, will be held completely outdoors. The event is open to the public and advanced registration is required. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased online at www.sallyridescience.com/festivals or by calling 1-800-561-5161.

JPL is having an open house on May 14 and 15. JPL! Need I say more? Details can be found at: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/.

The District Science Leadership Network for Riverside and San Bernardino counties is on May 17 at Riverside County Office of Education. Come hear presentations from schools identified as science education “outliers”, hear what the latest research says, and get connected with what’s going on in the region. Check out the details at: http://scienceinquirer.wikispaces.com/.

Mark your calendars for Yami’s amazing notebook training July 13 and 14 at RCOE. If you don’t know Yami she is the new RCOE science person and has done amazing work with using notebooks in high school biology. More detailed info in the next report or contact Yamileth Shimojyo at YSHIMOJYO@rcoe.us.

Join  the California Institute for Biodiversity team, naturalist David Lukas, and UC researchers as we explore the Sierra Nevada, focusing on climate change’s influence on natural systems. You will learn how climate change has already affected California and how mitigation can reduce the impact in the future. Participating teachers will also have the opportunity to “do science” by participating in a team field investigation that explores an aspect of global climate change. We will give you the right tools to help your students understand the threat of global climate change and how they can respond now and in the future! This intensive course will integrate state science standards for sixth through 12th grades. The registration fee includes room and board, your own field journal, a teacher packet with hands-on activities, and the use of scientific equipment for your field investigations. Regular registration is $375. http://eurekaseries.org/main/node/122.

Applications for the CSULB Master’s in Science Education program are due June 1. There are options for elementary, secondary and informal science educators. Details about the MS program and contact information are located at www.scienceteaching.org.

As the new region 4 director, I need help tracking all the events in a big and spread out region. You can help me to include events in your part of region 4 by sending me information about events and opportunities at pahearn@psusd.us.

Pete A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is region 4 director for CSTA.

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

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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.