May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

The Season of Lists

Posted: Thursday, December 1st, 2011

by Rick Pomeroy

As I was driving home over the Thanksgiving weekend, I realized that we are right in the middle of what I have come to refer to as “The Season of Lists.”  Every year at this time, we make lists of the things we are thankful for, things we wish for, and resolutions or things we want to do or change. The more I thought about it the more I wondered about what would these lists look like for CSTA and for science teachers in California?

Stealing part of a late night television bit, here are my lists of the top 3 things in each of those categories.

Things to be thankful for

  • Passage of SB 300 authorizing the rewriting of the California science education standards.
  • A conference in Pasadena that introduced a new venue and engaged a new science teachers in our professional organization.
  • An experienced board of directors and an active membership who are working to steer the association into the future.

Wishes for the future

  • Development of new science standards that encourage critical thinking and problem solving and have robust content.
  • Inclusion of science in the core curricula at all grades in all elementary schools in California.
  • Increased membership in CSTA.

Resolutions for the coming year

  • To position CSTA as a key player in the development, adoption, and subsequent implementation of a new and robust set of science standards.
  • To increase membership in CSTA through a combination of outreach to new science teachers, re-engaging past members, and enhancing the value of membership to our current members.
  • To implement plans to insure a healthy and valued association for now and the future.

It is pretty clear that standards, both the existing standards and those that will evolve as a result of SB 300, play a central role in my thinking about the past the present and the future of CSTA. The existing standards have guided science instruction since their introduction in the late 90’s, and, along with the high stakes testing, are responsible for many of the things that science teachers hope will change under new standards patterned after the Next Generation Science Standards. Under the current conditions, science has been virtually eliminated from many elementary school classrooms at a time when parents and children alike believe that more science instruction is important. The content has been reduced to “knowing” a seemingly endless list of facts at the expense of  the problem solving and critical thinking that an inquiry based science curriculum promises to deliver. If the Next Generation Science Standards are adopted, there is a promise of less fact driven instruction, with a greater focus on the processes of science, and the knowledge and skills necessary to promote our students’ smooth transitions from school to college and careers.

As we move forward in the first steps of the reinventing of science education in California, it will be very important that science teachers are represented at all steps in the process. In the coming months, there will be opportunities for members to play an active role in the upcoming public comment periods on the Next Generation Science Standards, STEM task force, the California Teacher Advisory Council, and the Instructional Quality Commission.  As the organization representing science teachers, it is important that you stay connected and that you encourage your peers to renew or restart their membership. The cost of membership ($39) is a small price to pay for representation on such critical issues as those facing science teachers today.

As we move into the “Season of the Lists”, I encourage you to add items to these CSTA thoughts by commenting below.  Your thoughts will help as a way of providing guidance, direction, and inspiration.

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California, Davis and is CSTA’s president.

 

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis.

3 Responses

  1. Thanks, Rick.

    Glad you’re leading us..
    Bonnie

  2. I’d like a link on these to “like” this on facebook…right now the only option is to post it as a link, which is cool, but I like “liking” things as well. Good and interesting summary!

  3. Dear Cristina,
    Thank you for the suggestion!

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.