May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

When Will “Mojave Maxine” Make Her Spring-Time Appearance at the Living Desert?

Posted: Friday, February 1st, 2013

Contest Now Underway For Students to Guess When She Will Emerge!

PALM DESERT/INDIAN WELLS, CA (Jan. 29, 2013) …  It’s that time of year again when the desert tortoise Mojave Maxine, sleeping in her underground burrow at The Living Desert, begins to stir in anticipation of desert springtime and fresh flowers to eat. This also means it’s time for students to enter the annual Mojave Maxine emergence contest and guess when she will emerge!

The east coast has Punxsutawney Phil and Groundhog Day to let them know when they can expect spring. The Living Desert has Mojave Maxine to signify that warmer weather is on the way!

Mojave Maxine is a 35-year old desert tortoise who lives at The Living Desert.  Each year, she retires for the winter to her underground burrow. She stays there in a state of “brumation” (reptilian hibernation) for several months.

Mojave Maxine emerges in early spring as the warm days begin to arrive in the desert, promising fresh flowers– a favorite meal for the desert tortoise. This past year, she emerged at 11:33 am on February 25.

“Mojave Maxine retired underground late last November,” said Peter Siminski, Director of Education and Conservation. “Now the fun begins as we encourage students to guess when Maxine will make her first appearance.  The contest is a great way to help create awareness about the threatened Mojave desert tortoise.”

Students from Inyo, Imperial, San Diego, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, Ventura, and Kern counties are invited to guess the date and time that she will resurface. To enter the contest, go to: www.livingdesert.org or www.mojavedata.gov/contest.

Prizes, which include $50 gift certificates and Mojave Maxine t-shirts for the entire class, will be given to a student from each of the eight southern California counties that is the first to guess the closest date and time of day.

“Kids today need to be aware of the natural world that surrounds them,” said Peter A’Hearn, K-12 Science Specialist with Palm Springs Unified School District.  “The Mohave Maxine contest is an exciting way to get kids connected to our natural desert environment and to the issues of protecting endangered species.”

For information that will help you make a better guess on Maxine’s emergence, see www.mojavedata.gov/deserttortoise_gov.

For more information, visit www.LivingDesert.org or contact 760-346-5694.

About the Living Desert:

The Living Desert is an AZA-accredited zoo and gardens that is dedicated to conservation and education. It is a family friendly place to explore nature and create meaningful experiences for visitors that are remembered for a lifetime. For more information: (760) 346-5694 or visit www.LivingDesert.org. The Living Desert is located at: 47900 Portola Avenue, Palm Desert, CA 92260.

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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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. 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.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

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