May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Summer Fun and Learning in CSTA’s Region 1

Posted: Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

by David Pummill

Looking for something to do on a summer weekend? The North State offers many science related activities. Here are some happenings that have come to our attention:

The Gateway Science Museum at California State University, Chico
625 Esplanade (near Bidwell Mansion), Chico CA 95926 Phone: 530-898-4121

Saturday, June 7, 1:00pm – 1:45pm
Celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Lassen Peak Eruption
This is a special program that begins at 1pm and lasts 45 minutes. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Lassen Peak’s initial eruptions. These early eruptions caught the attention of the country and set the stage for the area to be designated a national park in 1916. To celebrate this historic event, join National Park Ranger Steve Zachary for a special program on volcanoes of Lassen Volcanic National Park highlighting Lassen Peak. This fun, interactive 45-minute program is for both children and adults. The program also includes some of the historic photographs of the eruptions of 1914 taken by B. F. Loomis. This program is free with cost of museum admission.

Saturday, June 14, 1pm – 3pm
Travel on the Pollinator Pathway
Celebrate National Pollinator week June 16 – 23 by taking a trip of discovery and investigation along the Pollinator Pathway throughout Gateway’s Pollinator Garden. Encounter and learn up-close about a wide variety of native bees, butterflies and other bugs while you search for clues on the best food and habitat to support these creatures in our environment. This activity is free with cost of museum admission and is appropriate for ages 8 and up. Activity subject to change.

Saturday, July 5, 1pm – 3pm
Science of Fireworks
Drop in the Investigation Station to learn what fireworks are made of, why they explode and what gives them their color. This activity is free with cost of museum admission and is appropriate for ages 5 and up. Activity subject to change.


Turtle Bay Exploration Park
844 Sundial Bridge Drive, Redding, CA 96001 Phone: 800-TURTLEBAY (800-887-8532)

May 17 – July 6, 2014
Wings of Summer–Butterflies
Observe hundreds of butterflies in a tranquil, enclosed garden.  The butterfly house usually consists of up to 32 species of butterflies found throughout the United States.  The butterflies arrive as chrysalis and will eclose (emerge) in the Butterfly House.  Guests can witness this magical experience as butterflies come out, dry their wings and set flight.  Or, guests can release their own emerging butterfly for $1 per person (when chrysalises are available).
Butterfly House Hours: Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

June 20 – July 4, 2014
Celebrate 10
Redding’s world renowned Sundial Bridge celebrates its 10-year anniversary this summer with two weeks of festivities beginning Friday, June 20, 2014 and culminating on the bridge’s actual anniversary, July 4, 2104.

Saturday, June 21, 10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
GREEN PESTICIDES AND INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
Come and learn about the many safer ways, successful organic and IPM (Integrated Pesticide Management) ways, to control pests and diseases in your garden and home. These methods are used daily by our presenter, local recognized pesticide expert Paul Stockton, in his work for a local pest control company that has tested green methods in the field.

Saturday, June 21, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Summer Solstice
Join Turtle Bay’s Educators and Docents on the Sundial Bridge and in the Museum to celebrate its 10-year anniversary. Various activities will be held in both locations. Museum activities are free with admission. Sundial Bridge activities are free.


Pacific Coast Air Museum
One Museum Way, Santa Rosa, CA 95043 Phone: 707-575-7900

Saturday & Sunday, June 21-22, 10am – 4pm
Climb Aboard an AV-8C Harrier
Sit in the cockpits of our vintage aircraft, and learn about the history of where and how they were used from the crews who have lovingly restored them. We feature one or two historic aircraft each Climb Aboard Weekend. More opportunities to “Climb Aboard” this summer and fall can be found online.


THE DISCOVERY MUSEUM SCIENCE & SPACE CENTER 
3615 AUBURN BLVD SACRAMENTO, CA 95821 Phone: 916-808-3942

Saturday & Sunday, June 7th & 8th, 2014
Cosmic Comets & NASA Weekend!
Celebrate comets this weekend at the Discovery Museum. All ages enjoy our family feature- “The Comet Kitchen” (noon and 2pm each day). Learn how to make a comet nucleus at home, using household ingredients and dry ice. Visitors ages 4 and older experience a special planetarium program, highlighting comets and the spacecraft used to study them. Don’t forget to stop by the lab and craft up a fun comet take-home! The Science Center has received a grant from NASA to sponsor lots of additional activities this weekend. Kids get to make a PDA (personal data assist) book with lots of info from various activities. It’s gonna be SPACE- TACULAR!

Saturday & Sunday, June 14th & 15th, 2014
Paleontologists: Past and Present
Introduce your children to the science field of paleontology this weekend at the Discovery Museum. The little ones can play in our dig pit finding “fossils” beneath the sand. Our Family Feature at noon and 2pm is a play highlighting some of the most famous paleontologists in history- Roy Chapman Andrews and Mary Anning. At the end of this theatrical presentation, children 12 and under receive a fossil cast souvenir to take home. Don’t forget to visit our classroom and get artistic with a craft activity! Remember, admission includes planetarium shows at 1pm & 3pm for ages 4 and older.

Saturday & Sunday, June 21st & 22nd, 2014
International SUN-day
Welcome the summer season by taking part in International SUN-day. Our special guests, the Sacramento Valley Astronomical Society, are outside with their solar telescopes. These hydrogen alpha scopes allow you to see the sun directly, showing sun spots and prominences. Talk to SVAS about telescopes, backyard astronomy, and community viewing opportunities. This is an exciting opportunity for the entire family! Stop by the classroom to make and take a UV bead bracelet. Admission includes a sun-themed planetarium show at 1pm & 3pm for ages 4 and older.

Saturday – Sunday, June 28th & 29th, 2014
Amateur Radio Weekend
Did you know you could talk around the world without the Internet? Learn more about amateur radio, also called “ham radio”, a system you can use when your cell phone dies or the Internet is down. Amateur radio operators can talk through satellites and with astronauts too. This technology is useful for weather spotters and can support recovery efforts in emergencies. Try your hand at being an amateur radio operator in the laboratory set-up on both Saturday and Sunday and put radio to work! Planetarium shows are at 1pm & 3pm for ages 4 and older.

Monday-Thursday, June 30th- July 3rd, 2014
Fourth of July Fun
Three cheers for the red, white and blue! Enjoy a visit to the Discovery Museum this holiday week with a self-guided tour of our Blast from the Past exhibit. Kids show patriotic pride by crafting an old favorite, a star-spangled waver. Planetarium shows are at 1:00pm and 3:00pm are included with admission (ages 4 and above only); Creature Features at Noon and 2:00pm are for all ages.

Saturday & Sunday, July 5th & 6th, 2014
Fanciful Fishes
Are you ready to swim like a fish? Visit the Discovery Museum this weekend to experience our Swim For Your Lifeexperience. The visitor is an avatar salmon fighting their way upstream to spawn. Beware of the bear, eagle and fisherman! This experience is found in our Nature Room which has an exhibit highlighting life along the river. In the classroom, kids craft a woven paper fish mat to remember their fishy day at the museum. Remember, admission includes planetarium shows at 1pm & 3pm for ages 4 and older.

Saturday & Sunday, July 12th & 13th, 2014
Summer Sun Fun
Beat the summer heat and come inside to the Discovery Museum.   Have a prehistoric adventure in our Blast from the Past exhibit. Greet one of our live animals in the noon and 2pm Creature Feature. Blast-off into space by attending a planetarium show at 1pm or 3pm (ages 4 and older). To complete your day of fun, children decorate a bedazzled sun windsock to take home as a souvenir!

Saturday & Sunday, July 19th & 20th, 2014
Turtle vs Tortoise
Have you ever wondered what the difference was between a turtle and a tortoise? Visit the museum this weekend to find out! Meet our live turtles- Bump, Samantha & Larry and Boris the tortoise, so you can see the answer for yourself. Catch the presentations at noon and 2:00pm with live animals. Take a walk outside to view the wild turtles living in our pond. Kids 12 and under get to make a fun craft to take home. Remember, admission includes planetarium shows at 1pm & 3pm for ages 4 and older.

Saturday & Sunday, July 26th & 27th, 2014
Butterfly Bash!
Butterflies abound at the Discovery Museum this weekend. Multiple insect cases are on display highlighting local and exotic species of butterflies. Take a close up look at butterfly wings using a stereoscope. If you would like to take a walk, enjoy our butterfly garden. Kids- make giant paper butterfly wings to wear home! Remember, admission includes planetarium shows at 1pm & 3pm for ages 4 and older.


Sacramento Zoo: King of Feasts – Wine & Food Luau
3930 West Land Park Drive, Sacramento, CA 95822 Phone: 916-808-5888

Saturday, June 21, 2014, 6 to 9 pm
Quench your thirst and thrill your taste buds at King of Feasts at the Zoo. Escape to a tropical paradise where you will be surrounded by exotic animals as you enjoy the fine cuisine the Sacramento area has to offer. While you enjoy your feast and stroll through the Zoo you can also listen to the sounds of Hawaii and feast your eyes on the dancers as they spread the aloha-spirit throughout the Zoo. You can even grab a hula-hoop and get your own hula on at the Tiki-lounge on the Reptile House Lawn.


Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Rhododendron Walks with Dennis McKiver. Saturdays at 1:00pm
Walk is free with paid Gardens’ admission.


Bird Watching with Mendocino Coast Audubon Society
The Gardens attract more than 150 species of birds that live in or visit each year. Join one of the monthly Audubon Society walks. Monthly walks are as follows:

Beginning Birding: 1st Saturday, 9:00 am

Early Bird Walk: 3rd Wednesday, 8:00 am (May through October)

Written by David Pummill

David Pummill

David Pummill is a retired California science teacher and CSTA’s Region 1 Director.

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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.