May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

The Exploratorium Offers Complimentary Field Trip Admissions for California Title I Public School Students

Posted: Friday, October 11th, 2013

PG&E-sponsored program aims to reach more than 60,000 underserved students by 2016

The Exploratorium and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) on October 10, 2013 announced a partnership to give California Title I schools the opportunity to visit the hands-on museum of science, art, and human perception for free through the Free Admission Program. Title I is a federal program that provides funding to local school districts to improve the academic achievement of students who are underserved and often underrepresented in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) fields. Since registration opened in May 2013, over 45 Title I schools have signed up to visit the Exploratorium as part of the Free Admission Program. The program will run through August 2016, and will potentially reach more than 60,000 Title I students.

The PG&E-sponsored Free Admission Program officially launched on October 3, 2013, with approximately 300 Title I students from around the Bay Area visiting the Exploratorium on field trips. Over 3,000 Title I students registered to visit in the month of October from all over California. The students were able to experiment with the Exploratorium’s 600+ exhibits, as well as tinker, take apart, and create in the museum’s Tinkering Studio. Students in attendance at the celebratory kick-off day were greeted by PG&E’s mascot “Helmet” and treated to special solar car races and souvenirs, all made possible by PG&E.

The PG&E-sponsored Free Admission Program at the Exploratorium is part of the museum’s collaboration with leading businesses to identify tools to support STEM education. “A robust STEM learning ecosystem in California is a powerful driver for the community, business and state,” said Dennis M. Bartels, PhD., Executive Director of the Exploratorium and educational policy expert. “PG&E’s support for free field trips for all California Title I schools is one significant driver of this critical ecosystem. It is so important to get students engaged in science at a young age – and that’s what we will accomplish with this program.”

“At PG&E, technology and engineering play such a large role in helping us provide safe, reliable, affordable and clean energy to our customers,” said Wendy Fukamaki, PG&E’s manager of sponsorships and programs. “We are proud to provide California students with the opportunity to fully experience everything the Exploratorium has to offer, including inspiring their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

To plan a Free Admission Program field trip to the Exploratorium for your Title I school, teachers may register online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/field-trips/reservations.  For additional information about field trips and other Exploratorium programs, please visit www.exploratorium.edu.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (NYSE:PCG), and the PG&E Corporation Foundation strive to power strong communities throughout Northern and Central California. In 2012, PG&E contributed more than $23 million to more than 1,500 charitable organizations, including matching the generosity of employees who donated more than $6 million and volunteered more than 41,000 hours to company-supported events. Community investments are funded entirely by the company’s shareholders. For more information, visit www.pge.com/community.

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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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. 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.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.