September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Update from Region 2

Posted: Friday, April 8th, 2016

by Minda Berbeco

Hey Greater Bay Area,

Being stuck inside due to the rain this winter has been both a blessing (hurray for rain!) and a curse (what do we do inside all day!!) I personally can’t wait to get out this spring, connect with teachers and spend some time with the science of the outdoors! I’m kicking off this month with travel to Nashville for NSTA. If you are planning on being there, send me a note! I love to meet my teachers in Region 2. For those who are going, I’ll be at my organization’s booth: the National Center for Science Education. I’ll also be giving a workshop on the Big Bang (yeah!) with Brian Kruse from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Be sure to come by our workshop.

Now that the weather has started to let up, it is a great time it is to get outside, with or without your students to reconnect with science education in our community! Here are a few things going on in our area to wet your appetite.

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The Bay Area Discovery Museum free every Wednesday. Worth a wander and in a really great spot to sit by the ocean and contemplate the newly returned sun!

On April 5th, Bart Thompson will be giving a talk at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford entitled, “After the El Nino, now what?” I sure want to know! More here: http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=17383

On April 8th, UC Berkeley will be hosting a lecture on Facilitating a Citizen Science Network to Monitor Mammals through Camera Trapping. Perfect for teachers, citizen science is a way to get your students connected to authentic data. More here: http://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar.html?event_ID=98714&date=2016-04-08&tab=lectures

April 9th there will be a Teen Careers Conference for high school students at the SF Zoo! I want some career counseling that gets me into a career with zoos! Lucky teens! REGISTER NOW AT http://TeenCareerConference.eventbrite.com

On the 14th, Astronaut Steve Smith will share highlights from his career and reflections upon how his environmental perspective has been influenced by his time in space. If you haven’t seen Steve on YouTube before, take a few minutes to check out his videos. A brilliant scientist, engineer and human – no doubt this talk will be a delight. The presentation will be in Menlo Park, more information here: http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=16881

And don’t forget EARTH DAY!! This year you can join others in celebrating by going to Earth Day on the Bay on the 16th. More information here: http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=17466 Or Join the Pacifica Beach Coalition on the 23th for a volunteer action and eco-fest, more here http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=17506

Last, finish off the month on the 27th with a talk on UC Berkeley campus about Entrepreneurship and Climate Change. More here: http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=1696

Minda Berbeco is the Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education and is CSTA’s Region 2 Director.

Written by Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco was the Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education and is now the Director of the Sierra Club San Francisco Chapter.

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CSTA Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There are time and energy commitments, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 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.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. 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.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

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

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.