May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Science Resolutions

Posted: Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

by Donna Ross

It is that time of year again. A period of reflection and promise.  Many of us are examining our chocolate consumption, exercise regimes, spending habits, and closet organization. But, this can also be a chance to look beyond your personal habits. I encourage you to use this opportunity to think about your professional resolutions, too.  I’ve included some ideas and strategies to get you started, but you should adapt this to fit your own circumstances.


Resolve to include more science.

Consider how much instructional time you dedicate to science each week. Make a measureable commitment to increase it. For example: I will teach at least four hours of science each week.

Resolve to make science a priority.

Consider how to model a high value for science in your classroom. For example: I will teach science before 1:00 pm so that my instruction in science does not get postponed or rushed at the end of the day.

Resolve to help students see the connections between science and the real world.

Consider how to make the science lessons relevant to students’ lives. For example: I will listen to students’ questions about the everyday world and incorporate one of their questions into a science experiment each week.

Resolve to help students understand the nature of science.

Consider how well students understand that asking questions and gathering evidence are at the heart of the discipline. For example: I will design at least one science investigation each month in which students can modify the question they investigate to make it more meaningful.



Resolve to make the connection between class and careers obvious.

Consider how likely students are to understand how coursework relates to career opportunities. For example: In each unit, I will show a brief video montage of careers that use these science skills and concepts.

Resolve to include hands-on investigations, labs, and field experiences.

Consider how representative students’ understanding of the nature of the discipline will be, based on the balance of seatwork, lab work, fieldwork, lectures, and exams in class. For example: Each week I will include a combination of at least three hours of field or lab experiences.

Resolve to use multiple measures of assessment.

Consider how all students are best able to demonstrate their understanding of the material. For example: I will include a creative component in each exam so that students who struggle with English can draw or model some of their responses.

Resolve to continue shifting higher order thinking to the students.

Consider how many decisions students make in each investigation and increase the control given to the students. For example: I will steadily increase the number of decisions the students make about which variables to change, which questions to investigate, which data to collect, how to record the data, and how to analyze the data.

Keeping your resolutions

Have you ever noticed the gym is crowded in January, but in February it is back to normal? Keeping our resolutions is harder than making them. Professional resolutions are just like personal ones. Here are a few hints for sticking to all of your new goals.

  • Make the resolutions specific and measureable and include a timeline.
  • Include others in your plan, both to share in the process and to hold yourself accountable.
  • Post your resolutions where you will see them often.
  • Set up reminders and a method to track your progress. Anticipate obstacles and develop solutions.
  • Build in rewards (but perhaps you shouldn’t choose hot fudge sundaes if your personal resolution is to lose weight)!
  • And, remember to be kind to yourself. If you slip, refocus and start again. The best teachers are continually striving to improve.

Have a great, science-filled 2012!

Donna Ross is associate professor of science education at San Diego State University and is CSTA’s 4-year college director.

Written by Donna Ross

Donna Ross is Associate Professor of Science Education at San Diego State University.

Leave a Reply


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

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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:

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.