May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Science Subject Matter Committee Considers Your Comments

Posted: Monday, March 14th, 2016

by Lisa Hegdahl

On Friday, February 19th, the Instructional Quality Commission’s (IQC) Science Subject Matter Committee (SMC) met to discuss the field results from the first public review session of the draft California Science Framework.  The committee considered all of the over 2,000 suggested edits and revisions. As mentioned in February’s California Classroom Science, the California Science Teachers Association’s NGSS Committee sent in comments from 625 people who attended 30 Framework review sessions across California. Other organizations that submitted recommendations included Achieve, California Department of Education, Children Now, Code.org, and Lawrence Hall of Science. The meeting, held at the California Department of Education in Sacramento, was attended by, among others:

  • Lauryn Wild, Commission IQC Chair
  • Rob Foster, Science SMC Chair
  • Dean Reese, Science SMC Vice Chair
  • Science SMC Members – Jocelyn Broemmelsiek, Soomin Chao, Lizette Diaz, Lori Freiermuth, Bill Honig, and Jennifer Woo
  • Thomas Adams, IQC Executive Director
  • Cliff Rudnick, Interim Director, Curriculum Framework and Instructional Resources Division (CFIRD), CDE
  • Bryan Boyd, Education Programs Consultant, CFIRD, CDE
  • Ilene Straus and Trish Williams, State Board of Education Liaisons
  • Matt d’Alessio, current primary writer
  • Interested public members
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I attended this meeting on behalf the California Science Teachers Association and provided comments on several occasions in order to clarify particular requested revisions as well as offer suggestions as to how to address certain Science SMC concerns.  As can be imagined, many decisions were made as a result of the 8 hour discussion.  Below are outlined some of the changes the Science SMC will recommend for approval to the full IQC at their meeting on May 19-20, 2016.  

Vignettes:

  • one per grade level.
  • focus on 3-dimensional learning and making sense around phenomena.
  • the core ideas of life science, physical science and earth and space science vignettes will be spread across the grade spans as will engineering and the Environmental Principles and Concepts.
  • grades 6-8 will also have one vignette per grade level for each the preferred integrated model and the discipline specific model.
  • Some of the remaining vignettes will be shortened to snapshots while others will be placed in an appendix.
  • place performance expectations at the beginning of the vignettes so that teachers are of aware of what to look for as they read them.
  • use the vignettes to illustrate a variety of ways performance expectations will be reached – multiple choice, portfolios, performance tasks, to name a few.

Assessment and Student Learning – Chapter 8

  • the assessment chapter should focus on classroom assessment, not state assessments.
  • the committee, realizing that formative and summative assessments will evolve over time with our understanding of the CA NGSS, chose to focus the chapter revisions on providing a variety of assessment strategies to meet the performance expectations.  Teachers may use a variety of assessments to understand the sense making a student achieved around a particular phenomena.
  • Add an administrative summary at the beginning that will indicate that assessing NGSS will look different than the previous standards.

Combining Chapter 1 & 2

  • The Science SMC decided that Chapter 1: Introduction and Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the Next Generation of Science Standards for California Public Schools, Kindergarten Through Twelve, does not give enough guidance as to the nature of NGSS.  After much thoughtful discussion, the Science SMC is going to recommend that the framework writer, Matthew d’Alessio, take the best parts of Chapter 1 and combine them with the content in Chapter 2: Overview of the California Next Generation of Science Standards.  He will determine where it is best to place the remaining portions of Chapter 1; they may possibly be in an appendix.

Computer Science in the Framework.  

  • K-5 will focus on basic computer skills.
  • 6-8 will introduce students to the use of computers to help investigate and solve science problems – computer simulations, analyzing data, etc.  
  • 9-12 will acquaint students with coding – how the programs that are used to assist scientists are created.
  • Any language that infers that computer science ‘has to’ be taught in science classes will be removed and replaced with language that suggests teachers ‘can’ use computer science to enhance their teaching of NGSS.

Other Revisions of Interest:

  • Words that describe specific facets of NGSS should only be used for that meaning.  For example, the word ‘modeling’ will only be used to mean modeling as in the Science and Engineering Practice, “Developing and using Models”.
  • Reintroduce acronyms the first time they are mentioned in any chapter.
  • Provide examples of ELD scaffolds throughout the framework
  • Provide samples from “Integrating ELD Standards into K‒12 Mathematics and Science Teaching and Learning: A Supplementary Resource for Educators”.
  • Provide more examples of phenomena particularly at the elementary level.

Next Steps for the Science Framework Revision:

  • March 18, 2019 – Science SMC teleconference to review changes to revised chapters.
  • May 19-20, 2016 – Science SMC will submit their recommended edits and changes for the draft California Science Framework for approval to the full IQC.
  • June-July 2016 – Second 60-day public review and comment on IQC’s recommended Science Framework.
  • September/November 2016 – SBE action on IQC’s recommended Science Framework includes public hearing.

Keep reading California Classroom Science for updates on the progress of the Science Framework as well as specific dates for the second public review period this summer.

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th-grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is 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.