January/February 2018 – Vol. 31 No. 2

UC Museum of Paleontology Wins the Prestigious SPORE Award

Posted: Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

by Judy ScotchmoorUnderstanding Science

[Editor’s note: In our January issue of CCS, CSTA announced that the UC Museum of Paleontology’s Understanding Science and Understanding Evolution websites had been awarded the prestigious Science Prize for Online Resources in Education—the SPORE award.  The following article by the project coordinator (and past CSTA board member), Judy Scotchmoor, describes the background and significance of the two websites.]

The journey for Understanding Evolution (UE) began in 2000 when UCMP hosted the National Conference on the Teaching of Evolution (NCTE) www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/ncte.  Now known as “the conference with legs” due to the ongoing collaborations initiated at that meeting, NCTE brought together more than 45 scientific, educational, and media organizations to discuss how to better support evolution education.  Lack of good teaching resources was one of the identified needs and led to a successful proposal to the National Understanding EvolutionScience Foundation (ESI-0096613) to build a resource for K-12 teachers to increase their content knowledge, confidence, and access to resources that would, in turn, increase their teaching of evolution.  With additional funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the initial site immediately expanded to include materials for K-12 students and the general public and Understanding Evolution launched in 2004.Tibetan sample

Since that time, the site has continued to expand and attract a large, international audience, averaging more than 1.2 million pages accesses each month during the academic year.  Partnerships with other universities have resulted in translations in Spanish, Turkish, and Tibetan (see figures), and others are underway.  We continue to add new features based Turkish sampleupon audience input, offering a monthly feature called Evo in the News, research profiles, case studies, and interactive investigations, all of which help to reinforce the relevance of evolution and the science of evolution.  With an additional NSF grant (DUE-0918741), we are currently undergoing another expansion to provide resources to support undergraduate teaching.   This grant will also allow an Spanish sampleupgrade to our navigation system and access to new resources such as an image library, access to labs using real datasets, and the inclusion of an interactive syllabus that connects instructors to slide sets that encourage the integration of evolution throughout the biology curriculum.

With a focus on evolution education, the journey has not been free of challenges, and during the process, it became increasingly clear to us that some of the confusions about evolution were similar to confusions about climate change, conservation issues, etc.  The problem was really with a poor public understanding of science and how it works – thus the development of Understanding Science (NSF- EAR-0624436), which launched in 2009.  Barely two years old, this site provides resources that shift the paradigm from teaching science as a set of facts or a rigid, linear method to one that better reflects how science is really done.  By focusing on science as a dynamic and iterative process, we hope to better engage students and the general public with science, its relevance to their lives, its importance to society, and ultimately, the realization that evolution is good science.

Much of the success of these sites lies in (1) the active role of teachers (our primary target audience) in their development, (2) a full-team approach, and (3) extraordinary collaborations.  In both cases, we brought together the necessary scientists, science educators, teachers, writers, and Web designers to inform content and design from start to finish.  Through the various phases of development for Understanding Evolution, we have had invaluable input from 40 advisors from 30 institutions representing 14 states.  For Understanding Science, there are 35 advisors from 30 institutions and 14 states.  Project partners have included the National Center for Science Education, the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent), and the American Institute of Biological Sciences.  As a result, this award belongs to a huge number of people, who respond to review requests, check facts, add new ideas, suggest resources, and generally encourage.

UCMP is dedicated to maintaining these important educational resources, which ultimately will contribute to a more scientifically literate society.  We are extremely grateful to those who have offered financial support toward their sustainability.

Check out the Understanding Evolution and Understanding Science websites.  The  Their article on the projects was published in the December 24, 2010 issue of Science and is available online at: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/330/6012/1764.full.

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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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!

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!

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.



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.