May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Regional Update: Region 4 – Welcome, 2013!

Posted: Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

by Jeanine Wulfenstein

With the start of the New Year, Region 4 is bustling with preparations in anticipation of the next draft release of the NGSS and the impending implementation of Common Core Standards and Smarter Balanced Assessments.  This shift in pedagogy and emphasis will mean changes in the way we do business in the classroom. 

If you are interested in being an instructional leader to find out more about what is happening and what this means for teachers, the Riverside County Office of Education (RCOE) is offering a one day workshop on January 22, 2013 fro 8:30 – 3:30 to introduce what the Common Core Standards mean for Science and History-Social Science instruction across our state.

The Riverside County office of Education (RCOE) is also holding a collaborative meeting for all County Science Leaders.  On February 12, 2013 from 9:00 am to 2:00pm, science leaders from across the county will come together to learn about science assessment, data, available grants, instructional materials, research-based strategies, California Department of Education updates, upcoming events, and hands-on activities.  Participants will have an opportunity to participate in discussions and networking about STEM initiatives, the Next Generation Science Standards, and Common Core Standards.  For additional information contact Yamileth Shimojyo (cces@rcoe.us).

For those needing assistance and support in coordinating a science fair, RCOE is holding a Science Fair Coordinators meeting Thursday January 17, 2013 at 4:00pm.

For the outdoor enthusiast, the Orange County Department of Education is offering a celebration of World Wetlands Day at Upper Newport Bay at the Muth Center in Newport Beach on February 2, 2013.  World Wetlands day helps raise public awareness of the value and benefits of wetlands around the world.  For more information contact: http://ito.ocde.us/home.htm or 714-708-3885.

The Orange County Department of Education is offering even more outdoor fun at the Get Outdoors! Program at Peters Canyon Regional Park located in Orange on January 19, 2013 from 12:00 to 3:00 pm.  Enjoy outdoor activities geared to inspire your family to spend more time outside.  This program includes easy Naturalist led hikes, and crafts.  For more information contact http://ito.ocde.us/home.htm or 714-708-3885.

To remain current on the latest research, Science Educators in the San Diego region are invited to attend the San Diego Science Alliance Perspectives on Science Lecture series located at Point Loma Nazarene University.  Refreshments begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by a formal scientific presentation beginning at 5:00 p.m. Upcoming dates and topics include; The HIV Pandemic: Fighting AIDS in San Diego.  Featuring Dr. Douglas Richman (Professor of Pathology and Medicine and Director of the Center for AIDS Research, UC San Diego, Florence Seeley Riford Chair in AIDS Research, Staff Physician at the VA San Diego Healthcare System) on February 5, 2012.  The Early History of Life: A Solution to Darwin’s Dilemma on January 15, 2013.  The guest speaker will be Dr. J. William “Bill” Schopf, (Professor of Paleobiology & Director of IGPP CSEOL University of California, Los Angeles.)

For additional information on this monthly seminar series for science teachers, visit http://www.pointloma.edu/experience/academics/schools-departments/department-biology/science-education-programs/perspectives-science.

Written by Jeanine Wulfenstein

Jeanine Wulfenstein

Jeanine Wulfenstein taught science at Gardner Middle School and is now assistant principal at Bella Vista Middle School in Temecula. She is a member of CSTA. You can reach her by emailing jwulfenstein@tvusd.k12.ca.us.

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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.