Your Official Guide to the California Science Education Conference
Posted: Monday, August 1st, 2011
by Laura Henriques
updated September 1, 2011
It’s only a few months until we gather together in Pasadena for the 20th CSTA Science Education Conference! The 2011 Conference Committee has been hard at work putting together a top-notch program. We know you will find the conference to be of great value to you. The conference website is a wonderful tool to help you get the most out of your conference attendance.
Where will the conference be?
The conference is in Pasadena this year. It’s our first time for us to be in the city of roses and we know it will be a great venue! The majority of the sessions will be in the Pasadena Convention Center and adjacent hotels. Once at the conference you’ll be able to walk to all the venues. The conference has a shuttle bus to bring attendees to the convention center from the more distant hotels.
The conference begins on Friday, October 21 at 8:00 AM and concludes on Sunday, October 23 at 1:00 PM.
What’s the conference format?
The conference has a variety of sessions which are bound to educate and excite you. Included with your registration is admission to approximately 200 workshops and lectures. These are one hour in length. There are a variety of workshops and your conference booklet (and the conference website) provides a bit of information about each one. After the session title and description you will be able to see how the presenter describes the focus of the session (what content area is to be addressed) and what grade level the session is most appropriate for. Sessions are presented by CSTA members (preK-16 teachers or informal science educators) or by commercial partners. You will be able to tell by looking at the book.
Gravity: The Universe’s Crazy Glue
Room 103 (Pasadena Convention Center)
Discover what holds our universe together–gravity! Attendees become inquiring scientist as they replicate Galileo’s Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment using everyday objects to discover the effects of gravity.
Earth/Space Science, Pedagogy/I&E
Kristina Atia, Pacific Elementary School
3, 4, 5
Using the description above, you can see that this session is presented by an elementary teacher and it’s most appropriate for 3rd through 5th grade classes. The content is from the earth/space science standards and the focus of the session is pedagogy/investigation & experimentation.
All workshop proposals were blind reviewed by two committee members. The conference committee did its best to select high quality sessions which cover the grade level continuum and provide sufficient options for all content areas. In addition to science content, there are also sessions related to science teaching strategies, research in science education, and new opportunities for teachers.
There are also lectures by invited presenters. These hour-long sessions are called Focus Speaker sessions. These address a variety of timely topics. They run at the same time as the workshops and are included in your registration fee.
Additionally, there will be two general session meetings. The Friday morning General Session will feature Jim Brazell. The closing session on Sunday is by Ed Begley, Jr. – a pioneer in environmental living.
Your conference registration also includes admission into the exhibit hall (be sure to plan your schedule in such a way that you get to spend time there!) and the evening events.
The conference also has short courses and field courses. As their names imply, the short courses are mini-classes on a single topic. There is a fee associated with the short courses and they require pre-registration (on-site registration is allowed if space is available). The field courses are off-site. Like the short courses they require a fee and pre-registration. The short courses and field courses run throughout the conference. It’s important to note what time the short courses and field courses are scheduled if you have your eye on a particular workshop.
What to do at night?
We have a few special treats planned for the evenings. On Friday night we’ll be showing the movie The Angry Red Planet. This will follow a discussion about our fascination with Mars and the ways in which movie makers have consistently spread misconceptions! Before the movie you can “do dinner” with new friends. We have arranged for a Dine-About Pasadena program where you sign up to eat at a restaurant. This is a great option for those of you attending the conference alone and those of you looking to meet colleagues!
Saturday night’s event includes a panel discussion entitled Sharing Science Through Art, Vision, and Creativity. The panel includes the artist and naturalist Wyland and science exhibit curators who educate the public about science through art. Many of you know Wyland’s work (think large scale paintings of whales and ocean life on the sides of buildings). This special event is not to be missed!
The conference website is an amazing tool! Savvy attendees will visit the website well in advance of their arrival in Pasadena. You can search the entire program and plan which sessions you want to attend before leaving home! The workshop page allows you to search by grade level, content area or session type. If you know the name of some good presenters you can search by their name. You can even download the entire conference program in an excel spreadsheet.
You will get the most out of your time in Pasadena if you have done a little homework ahead of time. Figure out what sessions you want to attend and make a plan! Be sure to include time to visit the exhibit hall and opportunities to network with colleagues.
What to bring?
- Comfortable shoes
- Space in your suitcase for materials from the exhibit hall
- Backpack/bag/rolling cart to hold all the fun stuff you’ll get from sessions and the exhibit hall
- Snacks to keep you going during the day
- Pen/paper to take notes during sessions
- Business cards and/or Address labels (with your name, school address, and e-mail)
- Sticky notes so you can take notes during sessions without writing on hand-outs and to mark sessions in your conference book
How to register?
You can register now! Pre-registration is less expensive than on-site registration, but both are viable options. Click here to register.
As we put on the finishing touches to the conference we will update the conference website. Please join us as we celebrate 20 years of CSTA conferences. The Science Education Conference is the ideal way for you to get new ideas for your teaching and re-energize and re-educate yourself. You owe it to your students and yourself to attend.
See you in Pasadena!
Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach, the co-chair of the 2011 California Science Education Conference Committee, and president-elect of CSTA.
Posted: Tuesday, March 14th, 2017
The pre-publication version of the new California Science Curriculum Framework is now available for download. This publication incorporates all the edits that were approved by the State Board of Education in November 2016 and was many months in the making. Our sincere thanks to the dozens of CSTA members were involved in its development. Our appreciation is also extended to the California Department of Education, the State Board of Education, the Instructional Quality Commission, and the Science Curriculum Framework and Evaluation Criteria Committee and their staff for their hard work and dedication to produce this document and for their commitment to the public input process. To the many writers and contributors to the Framework CSTA thanks you for your many hours of work to produce a world-class document.
For tips on how to approach this document see our article from December 2016: California Has Adopted a New Science Curriculum Framework – Now What …? If you would like to learn more about the Framework, consider participating in one of the Framework Launch events (a.k.a. Rollout #4) scheduled throughout 2017.
The final publication version (formatted for printing) will be available in July 2017. This document will not be available in printed format, only electronically.
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
The 2017 Award Season is now open! One of the benefits of being a CSTA member is your eligibility for awards as well as your eligibility to nominate someone for an award. CSTA offers several awards and members may nominate individuals and organizations for the Future Science Teacher Award, the prestigious Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, and the CSTA Distinguished Contributions Award (organizational award). May 9, 2017 is the deadline for nominations for these awards. CSTA believes that the importance of science education cannot be overstated. Given the essential presence of the sciences in understanding the past and planning for the future, science education remains, and will increasingly be one of the most important disciplines in education. CSTA is committed to recognizing and encouraging excellence in science teaching through the presentation of awards to science educators and organizations who have made outstanding contributions in science education in the state and who are poised to continue the momentum of providing high quality, relevant science education into the future. Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
CSTA is now accepting applications from regular, preservice, and retired members to serve on our volunteer committees! CSTA’s all-volunteer board of directors invites you to consider maximizing your member experience by volunteering for CSTA. CSTA committee service offers you the opportunity to share your expertise, learn a new skill, or do something you love to do but never have the opportunity to do in your regular day. CSTA committee volunteers do some pretty amazing things: Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Marian Murphy-Shaw
If you attended an NGSS Rollout phase 1-3 or CDE workshops at CSTA’s annual conference you may recall hearing from Chris Breazeale when he was working with the CDE. Chris has relocated professionally, with his passion for science education, and is now the Executive Director at the Explorit Science Center, a hands-on exploration museum featuring interactive STEM exhibits located at the beautiful Mace Ranch, 3141 5th St. in Davis, CA. Visitors can “think it, try it, and explorit” with a variety of displays that allow visitors to “do science.” To preview the museum, or schedule a classroom visit, see www.explorit.org. Learn More…
Posted: Monday, March 13th, 2017
by Joseph Calmer
Probably like you, NGSS has been at the forefront of many department meetings, lunch conversations, and solitary lesson planning sessions. Despite reading the original NRC Framework, the Ca Draft Frameworks, and many CSTA writings, I am still left with the question: “what does it actually mean for my classroom?”
I had an eye-opening experience that helped me with that question. It came out of a conversation that I had with a student teacher. It turns out that I’ve found the secret to learning how to teach with NGSS: I need to engage in dialogue about teaching with novice teachers. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching science in some capacity for 12 years. During that time pedagogy and student learning become sort of a “hidden curriculum.” It is difficult to plan a lesson for the hidden curriculum; the best way is to just have two or more professionals talk and see what emerges. I was surprised it took me so long to realize this epiphany. Learn More…