May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Science Is in the Air – So Much Going On!

Posted: Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

by Laura Henriques

It’s May and with that comes AP exams, science fair, science Olympiad, NGSS Rollout Symposium, plans for summer professional development opportunities for us and our students. There are so many things happening in our regions and around the state. It’s hard to keep up on everything, but try we must!

Springtime is when our students show us what they’ve got!

Springtime is the culmination for a wide range of year-long or semester-long science activities. Congratulations and thank you to all of our members and science friends who helped with Science Olympiad, Science Fairs, academic decathlon, AP exams, robotics competitions, science or STEM fairs and more. We all recognize that it takes a lot of time, work, energy and passion from teachers and kids to get to the point where kids are able to share what they know, apply their knowledge and skills, be competitive, and shine. Those long after-school sessions, Saturday work sessions, the time away from family, the extra hours… they are worth it. You do make a difference and the opportunities that you are providing to your students will be remembered long after the event(s) are over. 

NGSS Professional Learning Opportunities

Registration

At press time, there is one NGSS Rollout I symposium still to come – June 1-2 in Ventura. The first NGSS Rollout II symposium took place April 27-28 at the San Joaquin County Office of Education. Two hundred science educators from around the state took part in two packed days of NGSS learning. Evaluation data from the rollout was positive. There was lots of learning, good connections and networking, and a sense that we can do this. There are two additional NGSS Rollout II sessions this spring and a half-dozen more in the fall. For details and to register visit regonline.com/NGSS2015Training. CSTA was part of the team that planned, wrote and presented at the rollout. Thanks to CSTA members who participated in these roles. Sessions include NGSS 103, The Tool (a tool to help with planning lessons), A Lesson (participation in grade level lessons so you can feel what a NGSS 3D learning sequence is like), Practices, and the opportunity to pick a session from Engineering, Administration Strand, Crosscutting Concepts and High School (course sequence discussions). It was great to see so many CSTA members in San Joaquin. I look forward to seeing more CSTA members at future rollouts. Stop by the CSTA table to see the latest NGSS timeline, get a membership ribbon or just visit.

CSTA and NSTA are teaming up again for a summer institute about NGSS on July 9th in Anaheim. CSTA members get a discounted registration rate for this full-day event. In addition to a keynote there will be breakout sessions for elementary and secondary science. Presenters include some national names associated with NGSS and California Science Project’s Maria Simani. Find out more and register online.

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The 2015 California Science Education Conference (October 2-4 in Sacramento) will have ~200 workshops, presentations, field courses and talks to help you continue on the journey from awareness to transition to implementation of NGSS. Registration opens soon. The conference committee, under the leadership of Deb Farkas, is putting together a great event. Check out the site to find out some of the unique programs we have planned for you.

Our Regional Directors find out what’s happening in their region and share that with all of us. As we learn about new summer opportunities they get posted to the CSTA events calendar. Check out the opportunities listed within each region.

Framework Update This month the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee will see the final draft of the CA Science Framework. This group of dedicated individuals will have read more than 3,000 pages this school year, providing input to the writers. After the May 20-21 meeting the framework will go to the Subject Matter Committee then to the Instructional Quality Commission and then to all of us for the public input period. A big thanks to the writing team (headed up by the California Science Project) and to the CFCC members. You should also know that the CSTA NGSS Committee has read all the drafts and provided feedback along the way as well. The entire membership owes them a debt of thanks for their contributions to the process.

Earth/Space Science ad-hoc committee getting started

Maria Simani (California Science Project) and I (CSTA) have been engaged in conversations around the dilemma of earth/space science not being a D-lab course for UC/CSU A-G requirements. We know that this is a concern for many of our members, especially geoscience teachers at the high school level. We figure that the adoption of NGSS might be a good time for us to re-examine the issue and see what we can do about getting a change in thinking. A small ad-hoc committee has been formed to develop a working plan. The committee will meet in early June. Once we have a plan we will call for wider participation and input from the CSTA membership.

And finally …. CSTA will be holding its quarterly Board of Directors meeting on June 6th in Long Beach. Just as the state is busy determining how to transition and implement NGSS, CSTA continues to support you through the process. Our board members and committee members serve in a variety of ways to help support science education in California. We’ll spend some of our time at the June board meeting determining how best to do that. Please let me know if you have suggestions or questions.

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and a past-president of CSTA.

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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.