Water, Water, Everywhere! – News & Events in Region 1
by Valerie Joyner
Throughout our region and across the state we are heading straight into winter. We have already seen snow and rain, and look forward to more water falling from our skies. From snow high atop Mt. Shasta and the Trinity Alps, to the foggy and rainy days of our Central Valley, to the wind and rain whipped shores of our coast we can all appreciate this natural resource. Water, so critical to life on Earth, is tied to many aspects of our lives on a daily basis, as well as the curriculum we teach.
This time of year offers a great opportunity to pull water concepts into our science studies with some hands on experiences. One way I integrate water into my curriculum is through recording rainfall amounts each year. For the past several years my primary students have checked our rain gauge after each rain storm and recorded the amount of rainfall on a graph. We have rainfall records dating back to 2000. Throughout the year my students graph rainfall amounts in their science notebooks, compare amounts to previous year’s rainfall, and learn to read rainfall statistics in our local newspapers.
Students begin to see that rain falls at varying rates throughout our county. Another aspect of my water integration unit is the all time student favorite, the Room 4 Rainfall Report. This is a great tradition at our school, one that the students learn from and enjoy. After collecting rain and recording amounts, the students and I put together a rainfall report that is read over the school loudspeaker for all students to hear. After the report is finalized, three students are selected to give the report. They practice their given lines, and then go to the principal’s office.
Each rainfall report starts out the same: “Drip Drop, Drip Drop, we are your room 4 Rainfall Reporters for today”. A recording of a storm can often be heard in the background. The students go on to introduce themselves and then read the report over the school’s speaker system. The reports consists of three parts, first the current rainfall amounts are shared, followed by some rain trivia (the wettest place in the world, greatest amount of rainfall in one day, comparing rainfall in other local cities, etc.), and concluding with possible forecasts or updates on total rainfall for the year. The students end by saying “Drip Drop, Drip Drop, we are your room 4 Rainfall Reporters for today signing off“!
Using the winter months to explore and teach water concepts is an ideal way to support our students in applying science to their everyday lives; that crucial experiential form of learning. We can integrate water concepts like surface tension, solutions and dilutions, erosion, and cloud formation with water quality and conservation in our science classes. Whether we are teaching our students earth, physical, or life sciences, water always plays a role in that study. It is an integral part of many of our investigations and experiments.
We all have found and/or developed successful water science lessons, some integrated into other curricular areas and others specific to our area of study. Using our new technologies like whiteboards, document cameras, and computers adds new opportunities for our students – just see what a web search in your local area yields. Normally we try to schedule field trips for sunny weather, but a local wetland, marsh, or seasonal creek during the winter months can host an unforgettable learning experience for your students. What about a photo safari in the field followed by a session where the group works together to classify the photos on the smartboard?
I encourage you to think of all of the ways you use water throughout your science curriculum, and spend some time working with your students to find applications between their area of study and water. I would love to hear your ideas.
Events and Resources in Region 1
Bay Area Environmental Education Resources (BAEER) Fair
Saturday, January 21, 2012, 10:00 am – 4:30 pm
3501 Civic Center Drive San Rafael, CA
Spend the day at the 35th annual BAEER Fair! This year there will be workshops for teachers, parents, students, and community members interested in wildlife, ecology, adventure and much more. Over 70 resources will be available for learning about conservation and wildlife education, school gardens, and strategies for fostering environmental awareness. Discover the latest in classroom materials, environmental education programs, and field trip sites.
For more information, go to www.baeerfair.org, or call 510-657-4847.
Free Environmental Education Resources for Sonoma County Teachers (K-6)
The Sonoma County Office of Education has obtained free units of A Child’s Place in the Environment (ACPE) for distribution throughout Sonoma County. These units, in self-contained binders, each contain 19 or 20 interdisciplinary lessons with pages in Spanish, that are designed to encourage students to become environmentally literate and to participate in environmental projects.
For more information contact Mike Roa at firstname.lastname@example.org.
California Regional Environmental Education Community (CREEC) Network
The CREEC Network is one of California’s environmental education projects. The network provides both state and regional newsletters that list workshops, curriculum materials, grant opportunities, and other items for science and environmental educators.
For more information go to www.creec.org, where you can request a Region 1 newsletter. You can request to be put on their mailing list.
Valerie Joyner is district science lead teacher for Petaluma City Schools and is the CSTA’s region 1 director.
by Michelle French
Since the public reviews of the Next Generation Science Standards have come to a close, like many primary teachers, I’ve been wondering what science will look like in kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms. Learn More…
“SOL Grotto, 2012. 1368 glass tubes, paint. Fabrication: Matarozzi Pelsinger, Rael San Fratello Architects. SOL Grotto is a contemporary take on a grotto or Throeau’s cabin – a spartan retreat that is a space of solitude and close to nature – where one is presented with a mediated experience of water, coolness and light. The SOL Grotto also explores Solyndra’s role as a company S#@t Out of Luck. 1,368 of the 24 million high tech glass tubes destined to be destroyed as a casualty of their bankruptcy, are used in the installation. The tube’s original role as a light concentrating element is extended to transmit cool air into the space via the Venturi effect, to amplify sounds from the adjacent waterfall via the vibrations of the tubes cantilevering over the creek, and to create distorted views of the garden. The form of the electric blue array evokes Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where shadows, light and sounds can call reality into question.”
Responses from Readers:
Peter A’Hearn: Rush hour in little blue circle land.
by Valerie Joyner
Congratulations to CSTA member and STEM Educator, Katherine Schenkelberg, of West High School, in Torrance, CA! Katherine was recently awarded one of the 2013 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. An appointed panel of experts selected her for her innovative use of data-collection technology. “The use of data-collection technology in the classroom helps foster students’ interest in STEM education and provides them with engaging, hands-on opportunities for scientific investigation,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. “For ten years Vernier and NSTA have recognized innovative STEM educators through this award and this year’s winners are no exception – their projects and programs truly utilize the power of data-collection technology as part of the teaching and learning process.” Learn More…
by Tim Williamson
Members of the California Science Teachers Association are now in the process of voting for qualified CSTA members to fill the seven openings on the CSTA Board of Directors for the 2013-2015 term.
The election is being conducted electronically and opened for voting on April 16, 2013. Voting will close on May 16, 2013. All CSTA members were sent links to the online ballot. Members for whom we do not have current email addresses or who request a paper ballot have been mailed a ballot and candidate statements. Learn More…