May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

The Early Bird Catches the Worm – And Saves Money

Posted: Friday, July 1st, 2011

by Jessica Sawko

The early bird registration deadline for the 2011 California Science Education Conference is just one month away. Registering early has several advantages, not just saving money. By registering early, you get first pick on the most popular Field Courses and Short Courses. Many of these events sell out before the conference and registering early means you won’t be left out come conference time. You can also make your hotel reservations on-line and get your first choice of hotel.

Even if you don’t plan to attend a ticketed event, registering early will save you as much as $25. Your registration includes access to all 175+ workshops, the general sessions, focus speakers, evening events, and the exhibit hall. That is a lot of programming for just $98. Remember, you must be a current CSTA member and register before August 1 to take advantage of this fantastic rate.

If your LEA or school will be helping you pay for your registration, but they will not be able to do so until the fall, not to worry, we will work with you. Register today using your credit card, and we will refund your card when we receive payment from your school in the fall.

Here is just one example of the many engaging and fascinating speakers you can enjoy while attending the conference:

Fuels from Sunlight, Water and Carbon Dioxide: A Thermochemical Approach
Saturday, October 22, 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

Sossina M. Haile, Professor of Materials Science and of Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology

Perhaps the greatest challenge facing our planet is sustainable energy. Remarkably, more energy from sunlight strikes the earth in one hour than all of the energy consumed on the planet in one year. Thus, the challenge modern society faces is not one of identifying a sustainable energy source, but rather one of capitalizing on the vast, yet intermittent, solar resource base. Laboratories around the world are pursuing a variety of promising storage methods for converting solar energy into a reliable energy source for on-demand utilization. We have developed a unique thermochemical approach for converting water and carbon dioxide to storable fuels using the heat of the sun. We describe here the state-of-the-art in this approach and the outstanding challenges.

Sossina M. Haile is Professor of Materials Science and of Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. She earned her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1992. As part of her studies, Haile spent two years at the Max Plank Institute for Solid State Research, Stuttgart, Germany, first as a Fulbright Fellow then as a Humboldt Fellow. Before assuming her present position at Caltech in 1996, Haile was a member of the faculty at the University of Washington. Her research broadly encompasses solid state ionic materials and devices, with particular focus on energy technologies and especially fuel cells. Her more recent interests include solar-driven water dissociation (or water splitting) by thermochemical processes. She has published more than 120 articles on these and other topics. In 2007 Haile was named by Newsweek Magazine as one of twelve people ‘to watch’. In 2008 Haile was awarded an American Competitiveness and Innovation (ACI) Fellowship from the National Science Foundation in recognition of her “her timely and transformative research in the energy field and her dedication to inclusive mentoring, education and outreach across many levels.” She is also the recipient of the 2010 Chemical Pioneers Award of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. Her national service includes membership on the National Materials Advisory Board, a committee serving the National Academies of Sciences and of Engineering, from 2005 to 2011.

 

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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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.