May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Students Need YOU!

Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by Dena Deck, M.Ed. & Sharon Snyder

Editor’s note: You read about the value of science fairs to students in the March issue (this article was updated this month with an infographic). This article shares information about the biggest science fair around! If you are in the LA area you might want to stop by to see the exciting things our students are doing. If you have a day to donate, consider volunteering. Just as students need support to get to this level of science and engineering, the Science Fair needs lots of help to be successful.

The Intel® International Science and Engineering Fair® (Intel ISEF) is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition. It occurs annually and provides a forum for more than 1,600 high school students from over 70 countries, regions, and territories to showcase their independent research and compete for more than $4 million in awards.

Today, millions of students worldwide compete each year in local and school-sponsored science fairs; the winners of these events go on to participate in Intel ISEF-affiliated regional and state fairs from which the best win the opportunity to attend Intel ISEF. The event unites these top young scientific minds, showcasing their talent on an international stage, enabling them to submit their work to judging by doctoral-level scientists. The Intel ISEF is the premier global science competition for students in grades 9–12 and the work submitted is astounding. For example in 2012, Maryland high school sophomore Jack Andraka won the Gordon E. Moore award of $75,000 at the Intel ISEF. At age 15 he had invented an inexpensive but sensitive dipstick-like sensor for the rapid, early detection of pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancers!

Success relies upon a whole community coming together. In many cases the experience of talking with a scientist or engineer who is reviewing a project helps to shape a student’s future research.  For students traveling from other cities or countries, having a friendly face to meet them at the airport or stand by their side to help translate an unfamiliar word or phrase empowers them to present to the best of their ability.  The experience allows you, the volunteer, the opportunity to travel alongside and learn about their efforts and home as well as be part of a tremendous region-wide team that applauds youth initiatives long and loud.  These students will be finding the solutions we may never have even dreamed of and you can help that happen. Your expertise will be especially appreciated on Outreach Day, May 15th. On that day we will guide 5,000 Los Angeles students through a scenario as they apply science skills and content knowledge to determine which lake to protect.  Volunteers will be instrumental in using microscopes, doing water quality analysis and biological surveys.

Other volunteer opportunities include, but are not limited to:

Friday, May 9 from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – bag stuffing for finalists, attendees, outreach participants, teachers and judges (12,500 total)

Saturday, May 10 and Sunday, May 11– Airport greeters at LAX

Sunday, May 11 and Monday, May 12 – Registration

Tuesday, May 13 – Registration in the A.M.

Wednesday, May 14 – Interpreters in over 20 languages (mostly Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Mandarin and Portuguese)

Thursday, May 15, as mentioned above – Outreach Day

All volunteer opportunities are at the Los Angeles Convention Center, unless otherwise stated.  Volunteers will receive a meal for every shift over 4 hours, free parking, a t-shirt, and a certificate.  They will also receive the total number of hours contributed (if desired) and an electronic badge.

The evening of Monday, May 12 is like an Olympics Opening Ceremony.  Each country will have finalists representing them by running up on stage with a poster depicting their country’s highlights.  This is a high-energy show with an audience of about 4,500 people.

Nobel Laureates. Students will have the opportunity to interact with Nobel Laureates on Tuesday during the Excellence in Science and Technology panel from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Volunteers like you, who already have a commitment to education and sciences, are greatly needed! Whether it’s for a 4-hour shift, or for to the entire week, you can help. For more information and/or to sign up, go to:

Volunteer: Click here

Judging: Click here.  More than 1,000 judges are needed in 17 scientific disciplines. Judging is the single most important event of the Intel ISEF for finalists and is, in the words of recent judge, “Judging was one of the most personally challenging, educational and rewarding experiences I have had in some time. These are truly amazing people!” And from another, “I cannot emphasize enough what a fantastic experience this science fair is for students and judges alike.

Video: Click here

Dena Deck is an alumnus of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Teacher at Sea Program, and a CSTA Member.  Sharon Snyder is Manager of International Fairs and Volunteer Recruitment for the Society for Science & the Public

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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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.