May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 4 Summer 2011 Report

Posted: Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

by Peter A’Hearn

Summer is here, and for many science teachers that means geeky road trips. I’ll put region 4’s potential for geeky road trips up there with any other region. So lets hear from the other regions on this, what have you got?

In region 4-

Mt. Palomar– Camp out at Mt. Palomar Observatory north of San Diego. For a long time Mt. Palomar was the largest observatory in the world and it is still pretty huge and impressive. They have daytime visiting hours and tours on Saturday and Sunday. More info at http://www.astro.caltech.edu/palomar/. There is lots of  cool mountain camping close by in Palomar Mountain State park and many folks bring their own telescopes to take advantage of the dark skies and high altitude viewing, especially on dark weekends. More info at- http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=637.

Kelso Dunes– When people are driving to Vegas in a movie, they aren’t driving on big dull (often jammed) Interstate 15, they are taking the spectacular little road that goes North from 29 Palms through the Eastern Mojave National Scenic Area. This road goes right by the fantastic Kelso Dunes. Which are one of 7 “singing dunes” found in the world. What are singing dunes? Climb up to the top of the tallest one and jump off the steep slip face to find out. You can actually “swim” down the face, and hear the incredible sound they make while you do it. (you’ll need a very good bath to get the sand out of everywhere afterwards). In summer, time your dune walk for early morning or sunset so it’s not too hot. Bring a microscope or a loupe and see if you can tell what makes the sand here different than ordinary non-singing sand.

Bristlecone Pines– Get your Dendrochronology on and drive up to visit the world’s oldest trees in the White Mountains near Big Pine. There are several groves to visit and they won’t tell which is the oldest tree (to discourage souvenir takers from killing it) but its fun to guess. The guide to the loop trail is very inquiry based, which I liked. Camp at nearby Grandview Campground, at 10,000 ft one of the highest and darkest around and don’t forget your telescope. I camped here for the Perseids one year and it was amazing (this year the full Moon in August is badly timed and will wash out the best nights of the Perseids).

Okay, what do they other regions have?

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.

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Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

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On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

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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: Monday, May 8th, 2017

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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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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

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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.