May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Welcome New CSTA Board Members, Thank You Outgoing Board Members!

Posted: Saturday, September 1st, 2012

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012-2014 CSTA Elections and the appointment of a new Intermediate Director. Returning to his previous position is Eric Lewis as Region 2 Director. Returning to the board in a new capacity is Heather Wygant who will now serve as Treasurer. CSTA welcomes back to the board Gregory Potter in his new position as 4-Year College Director. New to the board are Jeff Orlinsky, High School Director, Sean Timmons, Intermediate Director, and Jeanine Wulfenstein, Region 4 Director.

Gregory Potter has been teaching at the university level for 12 years where his focus is on preparing multiple subject preservice teachers how to teach science. He is a Lifetime member of CSTA and is a member in good standing with NSTA and CMC. Gregory is strongly involved in the K-12 Alliance and has been involved in numerous science education projects in Northern California. He is a past Region 1 Director on the CSTA Board and has presented at many CSTA conferences.

Jeff Orlinsky has been teaching high school biology for the past 25 years. He currently teaches honors biology, AP biology, and earth science at Warren High School in Downey, CA. As the committee chair for the Assessment and Testing Committee in the California Teacher’s Association, he observed the development of the state standards and monitored state laws in the legislature. Jeff has been a California Science Education Conference presenter every year since 1992.

Sean Timmons is a science coordinator for the San Joaquin County Office of Education in Office. He is a fully credentialed educator with a Masters in Education and background in science and intermediate education. His career includes 13 years of professional experience in K-6 education, administration, project management, consulting, and professional development. He leads the planning and development of grant-funded projects for the science department at San Joaquin County Office to promote science inquiry, and coordinates project outreach, the department newsletter, and develops the departments web presence.

Jeanine Wulfenstein has been teaching science for 12 years. She currently teaches at Gardner Middle School in the Temecula Valley USD. She has served as a staff developer for the K-12 Alliance under the continuation of a California Math and Science Partnership grant. Jeanine has also served as a member of the district science curriculum adoption committee, a site GATE coordinator, a science department chair, a science club advisor, and an elementary science coach.

On June 30, 2012 CSTA said farewell to four outgoing board members who have dedicated countless volunteer hours to CSTA. CSTA thanks them sincerely for their hard work and commitment to the association and its future. Several outgoing members will be serving as committee members in the coming year, and we look forward to their continued service. Please take a moment to thank your outgoing board members.

At the final meeting of the 2011-2012 year, the outgoing board members expressed their goodbyes:

Peter A’Hearn: I truly enjoy it and expect to be back.

David Budai: It has been an honor and privilege.

Donna Ross: Thank you, enjoyed it.

Karen Withey-Smith: Thanks for six great years of great learning experiences and for the support.

The CSTA board of directors welcomes your comments and contributions. Please feel free to post a comment below or send them an e-mail at csta@cascience.org.

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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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.