May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Wyland: Merging Art, Science, and Conservation

Posted: Friday, September 30th, 2011

by Dean Gilbert

Two years ago, I had the opportunity to meet marine conservation artist Wyland at an Earth Day event in the San Fernando Valley.  We were both there to celebrate the winners of the Robert Bateman Get to Know Environmental Science Art Contest. After the awards presentation, Wyland and I had lunch and discussed a variety of topics.  I shared my interest in science; he shared his passion for art.  Oddly enough, the topics we discussed were very much similar in nature, no pun intended.

I have always been an admirer of Wyland’s art and how he so elegantly captures the beauty of the marine ecosystem.  We spoke of whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions, the kelp forest, and how we both use scuba diving as “down time” – to relax and to take time to appreciate the awesome beauty nature offers.

Wyland and I found a common denominator that not only defines who we are, but also what drives us in our respective professions.  Wyland uses his talent to create masterpieces of the marine creatures that we both admire when exploring the underwater world with our compressed air lifelines.  And I, as a former marine biology teacher, marvel at the diverse taxonomy of marine life, from the simplest cnidarians to the largest mammals, the whales.  Looking through different lenses, we both find unique ways to express our visual perception of marine animals.

Since that initial introduction, I have visited the Wyland studio in Laguna Beach numerous times, and had the opportunity to meet with Wyland and his staff from the Wyland Foundation. Each time we meet, we seem to pick up the conversation where we left off, as if no time has elapsed.

I invited Wyland to be a part of the Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair last April.  Experiencing the World through Art & Science became the theme of the Science Fair. The highlight of the three-day event for over 300 students who participated was painting a 40-foot mural alongside Wyland.  It was the perfect fit – the integration of art and science.  Students of all ages grabbed paintbrushes and acrylic paint to express themselves, with Wyland at the helm.  Yes, science students were creatively expressing themselves!  At the day’s close, we had a finished product that would become part of Wyland’s personal collection.

Wyland even stayed late into the evening for the awards ceremony.  He amazed the audience as he created Chinese brush paintings which he auctioned off as a means of fundraising for our non-profit Science Fair organization.

As Co-chair of the upcoming CSTA Annual Conference in Pasadena, I again sought to partner with the Wyland Foundation. I wanted to extend art and science opportunities to my science colleagues. I want them to meet Wyland, witness to his passion for nature, art and science, and to have first-hand experience and hands-on interaction with the Wyland Clean Water Mobile Learning Center. This center is a project of the Wyland Foundation focusing on the preservation and conservation of water.

Wyland’s Mobile Learning Center connects science and art. It is a great location to view Wyland’s phenomenal work up close and to learn about the life stories behind each painting, sculpture, and photograph.

So there you have it.  The world renowned marine conservation artist Wyland is coming to Pasadena to be a part of the CSTA’s California Science Education Conference.  Don’t miss this opportunity to meet Wyland, and hear him speak about his passion for art and the integrated connections between art and science.  Coupled with the other fantastic focus and keynote speakers, workshops, field courses and vendors, the CSTA Conference will prove to be a great professional development experience for everyone.

Wyland’s work will be on display throughout the conference, with affordable prints for purchase and collector pieces for bid at auction as a fundraiser for CSTA.

Dean Gilbert is science consultant with the Los Angeles County Office of Education, is CSTA’s region 3 director, and is co-chair of the 2011 California Science Education Conference Committee.


Written by Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert

Dean Gilbert is the science coordinator for the Orange County Department of Education, and a member of CSTA.

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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.