May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Two Lessons for Spring – BZZZZ

Posted: Sunday, April 1st, 2012

by Rick Pomeroy

Non-Verbal Communications, Aka The Waggle Dance

Overview

Bees have been observed communicating the location of rich pollen sites to other bees in their hives by doing a “dance” that indicates the direction and distance to a pollen source. In this activity, you will simulate the bee wiggle dance by creating a series of non- verbal body signals that will direct other students to a “flower’s” location.

For more information on the Bee Waggle Dance, check out the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nga4Z_HRUsU.

Procedure

1. Select 2 people to serve as “Scout” bees for their respective hives (the classroom).  Hide two prizes in another area of your building to represent a flower that is a rich source of pollen.  Show the scouts the location of the “flower”

2. Demonstrate the Bee Wiggle Dance motions that represent direction and distance. These could include tail wagging, arm flapping, spinning or hopping.  For this activity, the dance motions are as follows:

a) Distance:  Steps- 1 step for near 5 steps for far.  Steps should come before spins

b) Direction: Spinning in circles.  After three rotations, the direction the bee is facing is the direction to the “flower”.

c) Elevation: Fold arms like wings.  Wings point to relative elevation of the “flower”

3. After showing the scouts the location of the “flower” have them dance the directions to the flower using only non-verbal cues.

4. Send the worker bees out to pollinate (bring back the prize).

5. Recognize the winning team.


Chemo Receptors in Bees

Overview

Bees utilize a very sensitive sense of smell to identify hive mates and queens so that they can be sure that they are in the correct colony when returning from pollination forays away from the hive.  In this activity, you will use smell (chemo receptors) to identify hive mates. Once you determine your hive mate, you will attempt to determine if you are in the correct hive. You will know you are in the correct hive if your scent matches the scent of the queen bee “Q”.  If you are in the wrong hive, the other bees will force you out.

Materials

Prepare two sets of scent vials using two common spices so that you have enough unique scents for every person in the class. Avoid any spices that might cause allergic reactions.  (A nice multi-cultural twist is to select cooking spices from stores that specialize in non-western cooking).   Be sure to use distinct scents to facilitate finding a hive mate.  Prepare one additional scent vial using one of the two scents marked “Q” to represent the queen bee.  You may need to poke small holes in the top of the scent vial and you may want to insert a thin layer of cotton or part of a cotton ball on the inside of the lid to prevent the scent substance from coming out. Students should rely solely on their sense of smell to find a partner.  No opening the containers or tapping out contents on the table. Film canisters make great sense containers but digital photography makes finding these canisters more and more difficult. It is important that the containers be opaque to emphasize the need to use only the sense of smell.

Procedure

1. Distribute scent vials randomly throughout the classroom.

2. Give students an opportunity to identify hive mates.  It may help to turn lights down to facilitate a heightened sense of smell. It is often difficult for students to filter out visual or auditory stimuli in an effort to concentrate on the olfactory cues

3. Once hive mates have been identified, introduce the queen scent vial and have teams determine if they are in the correct hive.

4. Discuss clues students used.  Would it have been as easy to do if the scents were not familiar to them?

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Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

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

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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.