January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

Switching Lab Materials Gives 8th Grade Teachers Options

Posted: Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

by Lisa Hegdahl

Recently, I was setting up a series of labs for Open House.  I became aware of how many labs have evolved over the years and how I’ve made changes to better suit my teaching situation. For example, I never prepared the Destroying Water Lab because I had only seen it using a huge battery, large beakers, and wires.  After attending a workshop at the California Science Teachers Conference, though, I started preparing the Destroying Water Lab using a small 9V battery, metal thumb tacks, 2 test tubes, and a 3 ounce condiment cup.  This lab has amazed my students every year since. Below, I offer some other lab variations for you to try.  I am sure there are countless other lab material options out there – you can add your favorites to the comment section below this article.

  • Changing the density of water:  As an introductory demonstration to density, I used to float an egg that had been sunk in water by adding salt.  A colleague mentioned that students could do the experiment by substituting the egg with a piece of carrot.  Last year, I substituted the carrot with a golf ball.
  •  Buoyancy Boats:  Instead of using clay, I now use foil (washers for the passengers).  When the students are finished, I have them flatten out the foil to dry, and then I recycle it with my aluminum cans.
  •  Building Towers:  As an introduction to balanced and unbalance forces,  my students build towers using limited amounts of straws, tape, and time. Replacing the straws with pasta makes the lab more environmentally friendly.
  •  Making Atoms:  My students use large blue and white beads twisted together with string for the nucleus and tiny green beads on wire for the electrons and electron orbitals.  They attach the orbitals to the nucleus by tying the left over string from the nucleus to them.  (I recycle the beads for use each year.) I have also seen atoms constructed from candy, Styrofoam balls, and paper.  You may also decide to have students choose their own suitable materials.
  •  Raisins rising and falling in soda water can be done with grapes as well.  A peeled grape changes the results.
  •  Density Columns:  Students find the masses and volumes of 3-7 liquids (there are many suggestions for the liquids on the internet), calculate the densities, predict how the liquids will stack in a column, and then test their hypothesis.  When I don’t have the time or resources, I give the students a list of masses and volumes for some stackable liquids.  Students calculate the densities, and then draw the columns instead.   Solids can be added to either option.

 

 

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is President for CSTA.

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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

Achieve has launched and is facilitating an EQuIP Peer Review Panel for Science–a group of expert reviewers who will evaluate the quality and alignment of lessons and units to the standards–in an effort to identify and shine a spotlight on emerging high-quality lesson and unit plans designed for the NGSS.

If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

The early-bird registration rates for the 65th NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Los Angeles is just days away (ends Feb. 3). And as the early-registration deadline approaches excitement is building for what is anticipated to be the largest gathering of science educators (both California and nationwide) – with attendance expected to reach 10,000 or more. If you have never had the pleasure of attending the NSTA National Conference, I recommend you visit their website with tips for newcomers that describe the various components of the event. A conference preview is also available for download. Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.