May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

State Science Education Updates

Posted: Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

The start of a school year is always a busy time. This year has a great deal more energy around science education than we’ve seen in a long time. The adoption of new science standards has taken place, the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee has begun their work, a few thousand STEM education enthusiasts descended on San Diego for the STEM Symposium, NGSS State Rollout Symposiums are being conducted around the state, LCFF/LCAP legislation allows districts to support science professional development and science standards implementation, and the NSTA Regional Conference in Long Beach is just around the corner.  These are good times for science education in California! Read on to learn how CSTA is involved in these activities and how you too can be involved.

Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee (CFCC)
The State Board of Education appointed a team of 20 science educators to serve on the Instructional Quality Commission’s Science CFCC. The team had their first meeting in September and will meet every month through February. The group reads drafts of chapters prior to arriving at the meeting. As a group they provide input for improvement. This process is open to the public and CSTA is attending these meetings and providing input into the process as allowed. Once the CFCC has provided its input, a draft will be released for a 60-day public review period in June-July 2015. The Science Subject Matter Committee (part of the IQC) will review public input and staff recommendations before a second public draft is released. This draft will also have a 60-day public review period (October/November 2015). CSTA’s NGSS Committee will be reviewing drafts of chapters as they are available and providing input as we are able through the public comment process of the CFCC meetings. (Click here for CSTA’s overview of the CFCC, timelines, and other information. See also CDE’s CFCC website

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2014 California STEM Symposium
The second California STEM Symposium was held in San Diego September 21-23. Approximately 3,000 STEM educators from around the state gathered to hear keynote addresses, participate in round table discussions and hands-on workshops. 100 of the attendees stopped by the CSTA booth to get their CSTA member ribbon. It was nice to see so many of you in person and we look forward to seeing you at other upcoming events in the state. Be sure to stop by the CSTA booth/table to get your member ribbon so you can show your CSTA pride! Check out their Dropbox site for handouts and presentations.

Next Generation Science Standards State Rollout Symposium #1
A collaboration between California Department of Education, California Science Project, K-12 Alliance/WestEd, Curriculum and Instruction Steering Committee, and CSTA resulted in the development of a two-day NGSS workshop (part 1). To date, workshops have been held in San Joaquin County, Long Beach, Yucaipa and San Diego. There are three additional sets of dates to catch this workshop. Fresno (October 16-17), Oakland (October 20-21) and Redbluff (October 23-24). Teams from districts are encouraged to attend together. It would be ideal to bring an administrator and teacher leaders. Details about the events and registration information is available online. Find your CSTA representatives to get your CSTA member ribbon!

LCFF/LCAP Update
As we reported earlier, the Local Control Funding Formula and Local Control Accountability Plans call for districts to develop plans about how they will implement state adopted standards (all standards — including science). Money allocated under State Priority #2 enable schools to support science professional development. Be sure that you are part of the conversation when your school and district develop their plans so that what you need for successful implementation of NGSS gets included in the plan.

NSTA Regional Conference in Long Beach
End out 2014 with your science education colleagues in Long Beach! The NSTA Regional Conference (in collaboration with CSTA) will bring together thousands of science educators from California and beyond. There will be workshops, speakers, short-courses, field trips and a great exhibit hall. Check out the conference preview booklet and register now. Early bird prices expire on October 24th. CSTA (or NSTA) members save $90 on conference registration. Since CSTA membership only costs $50 that’s $40 in your pocket! In addition to all the NSTA events, there are three CSTA-hosted events and a CSTA Membership Meeting. Preconference field trips to Catalina and the San Andreas Fault take place on Wednesday December 3rd. The CSTA Night at the Aquarium of the Pacific NGSS Science & Engineering Showcase will highlight outstanding STEM/Engineering/NGSS instruction, speakers and time with the fish. All three of these are ticketed events (with discounts for CSTA members). The CSTA Membership Meeting & Awards Presentation will be Thursday 3:15-4:30 in the Long Beach Convention Center. This will include Steven Pruitt as the keynote speaker sharing the latest resources to support NGSS implementation. Stop by the CSTA booth to get your CSTA member ribbon, chat with Board Members, and learn about the October 2015 conference in Sacramento.

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.