May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Search Begins for California’s Best High School Water Research Project

Posted: Friday, December 11th, 2015

Call for Applications Begins: California Water Environment Association looking for best and brightest high school student in California to represent state in global Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition. Applications due by April 15, 2016.

The California Water Environment Association (CWEA) is opening the application process for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize (SJWP), an annual water research competition for California high school students. Applications are due by April 15, 2016.

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition is the world’s most prestigious water-science competition for students. The winner of the California competition will advance to the national level, and the winner of that event will represent America at the global competition in Sweden.

Previous winners of the California SJWP have developed systems which detect pathogens; analyze the formation of trihalomethanes; remove nanoparticles from water and screen for toxic chemicals. The purpose of the SJWP program is to increase students’ interest in water-related issues and research and to raise awareness about global water challenges.

The 2015 winner of the California prize is Michele Eggleston from Mt. Everest Academy in San Diego with her research project “Is It Clear? Is it Clean? Correlating Turbidity and Bacterial Contamination Using a Home Made Nephelometer.” Her science teacher is Trudy Pachon. The 2015 winner of the global SJWP is American Perry Alagappan from Houston, Texas.

The winner of the 2016 California SJWP prize will receive:

  • A complimentary trip to the national competition at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina, June 17-19, 2016. CWEA and WEF will cover the cost of airfare, hotel and meals for the student.
  • $250 cash prize
  • California SJWP medal and one-year WEF student membership
  • A certificate recognizing the student’s contribution to the water environment
  • An invitation to speak at CWEA’s Annual Conference the following year
  • Winning paper published in CWEA’s Wastewater Professional magazine
  • Complimentary CWEA student membership for one year

The criteria for SJWP entries are:

  • Water-science research project aimed at enhancing the quality of life at the local, regional or global level
  • Open to all high school students, grades 9-12 and ages 15-20 (must reach age 15 by August 1, 2016)
  • Projects may be done individually or by a team of up to three students
  • The competition is open to public high schools, private schools, homeschools, and independent projects not associated with a school

It is essential that all projects use a research-oriented approach, which means they must use scientifically accepted methodologies for experimentation, monitoring, and reporting, including statistical analysis.

Applications are due to CWEA by April 15, 2016. There is no fee at any stage of the SJWP, the program is supported by CWEA and the Water Environment Federation (WEF).

To enter the California competition and for detailed instructions please visit: www.wef.org/enter-sjwp-state-competition/

For general SJWP information please visit: www.wef.org/SJWP

The competition is judged by members of CWEA’s Membership & External Relations Committee with assistance from a distinguished panel of water experts.

About CWEA

The California Water Environment Association (CWEA) is a nonprofit public benefit corporation that is committed to protecting our water environment through education and certification. CWEA is dedicated to the educational development of our 9,500+ members, who are clean water professionals. Based in Oakland and with 17 local sections throughout the state, CWEA conducts training, disseminates information, produces training manuals and tests for competency.

Contact
Ian Mackenzie
CWEA WEF Delegate Director
Chair, California SJWP Selection Committee
iamackenzie@hazenandsawyer.com

Alec Mackie
Director of Communications and Marketing
CWEA
510-532-3800 x114
Cell: 818-261-3399
amackie@cwea.org

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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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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

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

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. 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 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

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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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.