May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Sessions for All Grade Bands and Disciplines at NSTA Conference on Science Education in Long Beach

Posted: Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

Here are some of the many exciting events you can expect at the NSTA Area Conference on Science Education in Long Beach this December 4–6:

Register today for the most savings! Our Earlybird Deadline ends October 24.  – Remember CSTA members: Select the “NSTA Affiliate Member Rate” when registering to save $90 on registration.

RegisterLong Beach Conference PreviewClick here to browse through all the scheduled sessions and make your schedule today! 
A PEEK AT OVER 400 SESSIONS JUST FOR YOU!
Check out some sessions below to help you get started on your daily schedule.

  • STEM in the Primary Classroom
  • Building a Community Classroom: Encouraging Students to Think Globally and Act Locally
  • From Food to Fuel: Recycling the Molecules of Life
  • Integrating the NGSS Practices Through Online Collaboration with Google
  • Using Case Studies to Promote Technical Literacy in an Anatomy and Physiology Class
  • The Apps That Launched STEAM Classrooms
  • Chemical Change and Stability: Kinetics and Equilibrium
  • Designing a Middle School Integrated NGSS Curriculum
  • Teach Engineering Principles on the Cheap with Concrete
  • NGSS, Close Reading, and Classroom Notebooking Practices

FEATURED SPEAKERS
Julie Scardina

KEYNOTE SPEAKER:

Julie Scardina @juliescardina
Naturalist, Author, SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Ambassador
San Diego, Calif.

The Balancing Act of Environmental Education: Removing the Fear But Keeping Reality

Having begun her career working with species ranging from sea lions and dolphins to killer whales, Julie currently serves many roles with SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, and Discovery Cove—from zoological corporate curator of animal ambassador programs and training to Animal Ambassador. She has traveled to conservation and environmental projects on all seven continents where she learns about issues firsthand and documents on film people and projects that are making a difference for animals. She has also co-authored the book Wildlife Heroes, focusing on 40 people who have committed their lives to preserving species and solving some of the planets most pressing environmental issues. Join Julie for a special presentation along with some “Animal Ambassadors.”

FEATURED PRESENTATIONS:

SheldonUsing the Past to Take Science Education into the Future
Myrna Perez Sheldon @SRCatHarvard
Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Rice University, Houston, Tex.

Why do we teach science in our public school classrooms? We do it because we believe that all students must understand the fundamentals of science in order to succeed in our modern world. But science is much more than a collection of facts about the natural world. If we want our students to have a deeper understanding of science and engineering, we must give them the tools to connect science to the subjects that engage the big questions—social studies, English, political science, and others. In this talk, Myrna Perez Sheldon tells us the power of connecting science education with the humanities, and shows us some of the newest and most innovative digital resources to do this!

PruittUsing the Tools of the NGSS to Support Quality Science Instruction
Stephen L. Pruitt @DrSPruitt
Senior Vice President, Achieve, Inc.

Stephen will provide updates on the various NGSS tools under development and how to use them with teachers to provide a deeper understanding of the NGSS.

The CSTA Annual Meeting and presentation of awards will precede Stephen Pruitt’s presentation.

TaylorSTEM the New Normal! Really When Did That Happen?
Nancy Taylor
Principal Investigator, Exploring STEM Careers
San Diego State University, San Diego, Calif.

Join Nancy for a frank conversation about how this acronym “STEM” has flooded all channels of education reform and for a status report from the field—K-12 classrooms and extended learning time. It’s a transformational time in U.S. education! Society has an insatiable demand for STEM integration and programming while the NGSS and CCSS are driving the redesign of learning progressions. How quickly is this transformation of the school day expected to spring into action and what are the implications? Integrated STEM experiences are building capacity and quality; let’s explore the practices, the partnerships, and possibilities for the new normal.

BeauchampThe Central Role of Dialogue in the Sense-making Classroom
Arthur Beauchamp
Interim Director of the Sacramento Area Science Project and Senior Director of Professional Learning Systems, School of Education, University of California–Davis

The NGSS and CCSS ask for a shift toward more sense making by students in STEM classrooms. Dialogue is one of our main methods of processing information, making sense of things, and advancing understanding. Dialogue is also an important support for student writing, and both neuroscience and psychology point to the importance of dialogue in learning. Join Arthur as he discusses how we might make better use of dialogue as a learning tool in our classrooms.

HayesFrom Silent Spring to Silent Night: A Tale of Toads and Men
Tyrone Hayes
University of California: Berkeley, CA

Join Dr. Tyrone B. Hayes as he shares his amphibian research. Two main areas of interest are metamorphosis and sex differentiation as well as examining growth (larval and adult) and hormonal regulation of aggressive behavior. A few of the amphibians he has studied include local toads, the African clawed frog, the Japanese kajika frog, and the field tree frog.

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.