January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

Technology Partners with Citizen Science

Posted: Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

by Lori Walsh

On a beach walk in Carlsbad, I noticed a child playing a game on a phone while sitting in the sand. The child ignored the beauty of the waves, birds, and water to play in the virtual world. During my childhood, my days were filled exploring on bikes and swimming at the pool. My early experiences with my ‘bug box’, playing with a sand pendulum and kayaking, combined with trips to nature centers, parks, and other informal science centers inspired and created my love of everything in the natural world. These early “wow” moments eventually led to my career that is dedicated to educating families about wildlife and conservation in an aquarium. While technology has presented many advantages, it gives parents and educators a new set of challenges, and we are still deciphering how to navigate the waters. How can we harness the power and attention that technology has to immerse children in nature and inspire future conservation heroes? Our lives are irreversibly intertwined with technology and this provides us with new tools and opportunities to expose kids to the beauty they may be missing in the natural world.

Many of us are still struggling to adapt to ever changing technology, and it may be difficult to see how we can make it work in tandem with natural experiences. People are no longer content to just watch animals at an aquarium; they record and photograph them on their phones, and often they go further by sharing these experiences with the world through social media. We can use these exact same behaviors to engage with kids through citizen science. There have been many successful citizen science programs that make brilliant use of technology to allow everyone to experience nature in new ways and actually contribute to the scientific community.

Bioblitzes are events where scientists and the public conduct short but intensive surveys to document species abundance and distribution in particular areas. The statewide Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Bioblitz occurs in early summer. Participants submit photos and observations through an app, helping scientists and policy makers create a detailed picture of the health of the network of MPAs across our coast. These events are usually very short, lasting only a couple of hours. One year, over 300 observations of tide pool species were made in the Swami’s State Beach MPA in Encinitas. In 2016, over 7,000 people made 146,870 observations about 13,290 species nationwide in the iNaturalist BioBlitz app. Increased information about the creatures in MPAs and national parks will determine the impact of protecting shared resources. These informal learning opportunities make families slow down and observe an area for science. A day at the beach could be turned into a contest to see which person could log the most number of observations. Schools and youth groups organized bioblitz events, but you can join an event nearby with your kids as well. If you do not live near the coast, bioblitz events have occurred in parks and rivers. A united group of citizen scientists can influence research and support of ocean conservation.

Another event that enhances skills in observation while working with technology is the annual King Tides photo project. This citizen science event helps to see the effect of sea level rise on our local coastlines. It’s a quick way to help scientists predict the impact of climate change. During winter king tides, volunteers photograph the highest tides of the season. Citizens take photos at high tide at the coast, and scientists use this data from ‘boots on the ground’ all along our coast. The high tide level is used to document our changing shores. Once again, this science concept encourages technology use to make natural observations with a definite purpose.

With the pressures on increasing integrated science instruction in the classroom, you can turn visits to informal natural experiences into learning opportunities. When at the beach, your child can use their phone to take observational photos with a determined goal. Can they mark the tide line in the sand and document how it changes throughout the day? If you are in an aquarium, make a list of goals for your child’s photos. Can they document how many sharks are resting on the bottom versus swimming constantly? Are you ready to take the leap into an organized citizen science volunteer opportunity? Your outdoor adventures can inspire your budding scientists to enter a career in science.

Lori Walsh is the Education/Operations Supervisor at SEA LIFE® Aquarium at LEGOLAND® California Resort and the Informal Science Director for CSTA.
Lori.walsh@sealifeus.com

Brandon Lewis is the Education Technical Specialist at SEA LIFE® Aquarium at LEGOLAND® California Resort
Brandon.lewis@sealifeus.com

Written by Lori Walsh

Lori Walsh

Lori Walsh is the Education/Operations Supervisor at SEA LIFE Aquarium at LEGOLAND California Resort and Informal Science Director for CSTA.

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Accelerating into NGSS – A Statewide Rollout Series Now Accepting Registrations

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

Are you feeling behind on the implementation of NGSS? Then Accelerating into NGSS – the Statewide Rollout event – is right for you!

WHO SHOULD ATTEND
If you have not experienced Phases 1-4 of the Statewide Rollout, or are feeling behind with the implementation of NGSS, the Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout will provide you with the greatest hits from Phases 1-4!

OVERVIEW
Accelerating Into NGSS Statewide Rollout is a two-day training geared toward grade K-12 academic coaches, administrators, curriculum leads, and teacher leaders. Check-in for the two-day rollout begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Sessions run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. on Day One and from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Day Two.

Cost of training is $250 per attendee. Fee includes all materials, continental breakfast, and lunch on both days. It is recommended that districts send teams of four to six, which include at least one administrator. Payment can be made by check or credit card. If paying by check, registration is NOT complete until payment has been received. All payments must be received prior to the Rollout location date you are attending. Paying by credit card secures your seat at time of registration. No purchase orders accepted. No participant cancellation refunds.

For questions or more information, please contact Amy Kennedy at akennedy@sjcoe.net or (209) 468-9027.

REGISTER

http://bit.ly/ACCELERATINGINTONGSS

DATES & LOCATIONS
MARCH 28-29, 2018
Host: San Mateo County Office of Education
Location: San Mateo County Office of Education, Redwood City

APRIL 10-11, 2018
Host: Orange County Office of Education
Location: Brandman University, Irvine

MAY 1-2, 2018
Host: Tulare County Office of Education
Location: Tulare County Office of Education, Visalia

MAY 3-4, 2018
Host: San Bernardino Superintendent of Schools
Location: West End Educational Service Center, Rancho Cucamonga

MAY 7-8, 2018
Host: Sacramento County Office of Education
Location: Sacramento County Office of Education Conference Center and David P. Meaney Education Center, Mather

JUNE 14-15, 2018
Host: Imperial County Office of Education
Location: Imperial Valley College, Imperial

Presented by the California Department of Education, California County Superintendents Educational Services Association/County Offices of Education, K-12 Alliance @WestEd, California Science Project, and the California Science Teachers Association.

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.

The Teaching and Learning Collaborative, Reflections from an Administrator

Posted: Friday, January 19th, 2018

by Kelly Patchen

My name is Mrs. Kelly Patchen, and I am proud to be an elementary assistant principal working in the Tracy Unified School District (TUSD) at Louis Bohn and McKinley Elementary Schools. Each of the schools I support are Title I K-5 schools with about 450 students, a diverse student population, a high percentage of English Language Learners, and students living in poverty. We’re also lucky to be part of the CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative with the K-12 Alliance. 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.

2018 CSTA Conference Call for Proposals

Posted: Wednesday, January 17th, 2018

CSTA is pleased to announce that we are now accepting proposals for 90-minute workshops and three- and six-hour short courses for the 2018 California Science Education Conference. Workshops and short courses make up the bulk of the content and professional learning opportunities available at the conference. In recognition of their contribution, members who present a workshop or short course receive 50% off of their registration fees. Click for more information regarding proposals, or submit one today by following the links below.

Short Course Proposal

Workshop Proposal 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.

CSTA’s New Administrator Facebook Group Page

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Holly Steele

The California Science Teachers Association’s mission is to promote high-quality science education, and one of the best practice’s we use to fulfill that mission is through the use of our Facebook group pages. CSTA hosts several closed and moderated Facebook group pages for specific grade levels, (Elementary, Middle, and High School), pages for district coaches and science education faculty, and the official CSTA Facebook page. These pages serve as an online resource for teachers and coaches to exchange teaching methods, materials, staying update on science events in California and asking questions. CSTA is happy to announce the creation of a 6th group page called, California Administrators Supporting Science. 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.

Find Your Reason to Engage

Posted: Monday, January 15th, 2018

by Jill Grace

I was recently reflecting on events in the news and remembered that several years ago, National Public Radio had a story about a man named Stéphane Hessel, a World War II French resistance fighter, Nazi concentration camp survivor, and contributor to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The story focused on a book he had published, Time for Outrage (2010).

In it, Hessel makes the argument that the worst attitude is indifference:

“Who is in charge; who are the decision makers? It’s not always easy to discern. We’re not dealing with a small elite anymore, whose actions we can clearly identify. We are dealing with a vast, interdependent world that is interconnected in unprecedented ways. But there are unbearable things all around us. You have to look for them; search carefully. Open your eyes and you will see. This is what I tell young people: If you spend a little time searching, you will find your reasons to engage. The worst attitude is indifference. ‘There’s nothing I can do; I get by’ – adopting this mindset will deprive you of one of the fundamental qualities of being human: outrage.  Our capacity for protest is indispensable, as is our freedom to engage.”

His words make me take pause when I think of the status of science in the United States. A general “mistrust” of science is increasingly pervasive, as outlined in a New Yorker article from the summer of 2016. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.