January/February 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 4

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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STEM Conference Hosted by CMSESMC

Posted: Saturday, January 14th, 2017

The Council of Math/Science Educators of San Mateo County will be hosting the 41st annual STEM Conference this February 4, 2017 at the San Mateo County Office of Education. This STEM Conference is the place to get lots of new lessons and ideas to use in your classroom. There will be over twenty-five workshops and a variety of exhibitors that provide participants with a wide range of practical and realistic ideas and resources to use in their science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs from Pre-K to grade 12. With California’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, we are dedicated to ensuring that we prepare our teachers to take on these educational policies.

Teachers, administrators, and parents are invited to explore the many exciting aspects of STEM education and learn about and discuss the latest news, information, and issues. This is also an opportunity to network with colleagues who can assist you in building your programs and meet new friends that share your interests and love of teaching. Register online today!

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.

Submit Your NGSS Lessons and Units Today!

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

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If you or your state, district, school, or organization has designed NGSS-aligned instructional materials, please consider submitting these in order to help provide educators across the country with various models and templates of high-quality lesson and unit plans. 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.

Opportunity for High School Students – Los Angeles County

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

An upcoming Perry Outreach Program on Saturday, April 22, 2017 at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children in Los Angeles, CA. The Perry Outreach Program is a free, one-day, hands-on experience for high school and college-aged women who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine and engineering. Students will hear from women leaders in these fields and try it for themselves by performing mock orthopaedic surgeries and biomechanics experiments. 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.

Science Education Policy Update

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

January 2017 has proven to be a very busy month for science education policy and CA NGSS implementation activities. CSTA has been and will be there every step of the way, seeking and enacting all options to support high-quality science education and the successful implementation of CA NGSS.

California Department of Education/U.S. Department of Education Science Double-Testing Waiver Hearing

The year started with California Department of Education’s (CDE) hearing with the U.S. Department of Education conducted via WebEx on January 6, 2017. This hearing was the final step in California’s efforts to secure a waiver from the federal government in order to discontinue administration of the old CST and suspension of the reporting of student test scores on a science assessment for two years. As reported by EdSource, the U.S. Department of Education representative, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary John King Jr., committed to making her final ruling “very shortly.” Deputy Superintendent Keric Ashley presented on behalf of CDE during the hearing and did an excellent job describing the broad-based support for this waiver in California, the rationale for the waiver, and California’s commitment to the successful implementation of a new high-quality science assessment. As previously reported, California is moving forward with its plans to administer a census pilot assessments this spring. The testing window is set to open on March 20, 2017. For more information visit New CA Science Test: What You Should Know.

Learn More…

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.

NSTA Los Angeles Conference Features Many CA Science Leaders

Posted: Friday, January 13th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

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Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.