September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

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.
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.

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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California Science Assessment Update

Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.

At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at 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.

Some ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in your classroom

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

by Carol Peterson

1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. 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.

2016 Award Recipients – Join CSTA in Honoring Their Accomplishments

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference  on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!

Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

John Keller

John Keller

The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” 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.

NGSS: Making Your Life Easier

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Peter A’hearn

Wait… What?

NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?

The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Celestial Highlights, September 2016

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt 

Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. 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.