By Michael Morris
“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.”
Although the phrase was first uttered by Yoda, parents, faculty and volunteers saw the truth to those words throughout Saturday morning as they creatively intertwined science with the “Star Wars” movies at Edwin Markham Elementary School.
Offering an array of science-based subjects that ranged from astronomy to archeology, the 150-plus students in grades first through sixth were broken up into groups that incorporated a specific emphasis.
“Each one of these classes has a different hands-on activity that introduces the students to different concepts in something like chemistry or physics,” explained Mike Silva, a parent and adjunct professor at Solano Community College who helped coordinate the event. “Then, with the knowledge they acquire there, they develop a skit that they can then perform in front of the community, the parents and the other kids involved.”
Source: Saturday science lesson with a touch of “Star Wars” – The Reporter
By Joel Rosenbaum
Michael Silva, of Vacaville and a bioengineer at Genentech, works with a group of Markham Elementary School students while he teaches a five-week pilot after school program on the Exploration of Biotechnology. The program is sponsored by the Vacaville Public Education Foundation and the Solano College Biotechnology program.
Source: Keen eye on biotech at Markham Elementary
By Carolyn Jones
Thorough, comprehensive teacher training and textbooks that appeal to a diverse array of students will be key to successfully implementing California’s new science standards, according to guidelines released by the standards’ creators.
“Implementation is complex. There’s a lot of moving parts,” said Vanessa Wolbrink, program associate at Achieve, the education nonprofit that helped craft the new Next Generation Science Standards. “We hope this will help.”
The new standards, adopted by California in 2013, focus on hands-on science projects, critical thinking over rote memorization, and crossover between scientific disciplines. They also include curriculum for all grade levels, which will be a major shift for some elementary schools that have not in the past emphasized science instruction.
Source: Guidelines designed to help districts implement new science standards | EdSource
By Donna Beth Weilenman
A labor of love that began nearly four years ago with the laying of a brigantine’s keel will take an important step forward Saturday when the “Matthew Turner” is launched in Sausalito. Named for the famous shipbuilder who constructed record-setting vessels in Benicia, the Matthew Turner is patterned after the “Galilee,” the ship that covered the distance from Tahiti to California under sail at such speeds that the produce it carried arrived fresh enough to sell to awaiting customers.
The Galilee still holds the speed record – 22 days – for ships under sail from Tahiti to San Francisco.
Alan Olson, who founded the Call of the Sea and Educational Tall Ship education programs, has been dreaming of the day a ship built along Turner’s own designs would become the San Francisco Bay Area’s tall ship.
At one time, the Hawaiian Chieftain held that honor. That ship is an original design that recalls the packet ships that delivered mail and cargo along the Pacific coastline and inland via rivers, or outward across the ocean.
Source: ‘Matthew Turner’ ship launching Saturday
By Bill Hicks
Hundreds of students and their accompanying projects filled Armijo High School’s E. Gary Vaughn Gymnasium to participate Friday in a science fair that is growing in size.
This is the third year the school has hosted the fair, which had previously included mainly students from Armijo High and Grange Middle School.
Event coordinators Vigdis Asmundson, a Grange science teacher, and Pete Smith, an Armijo science teacher, say this is the first year the event opened up districtwide, with more than 500 entrants.
“They’re allowed to pick anything that interests them,” Asmundson said. Making the experiments “controlled,” or ones testing one variable at a time, was the only requirement, Smith said.
Source: Hundreds fill Armijo gym in name of science
By Pat Maio
In less than two months, California will begin giving public school students a pilot version of an online test based on new science standards – one of the first states to do so in the United States.
About 17 states are in various stages of rolling out assessments based on the new Next Generation Science Standards, which emerged after educational leaders nationwide met in 2010 and pushed for rewriting a science curriculum that had not been changed since the late 1990s. Yet none of those states have progressed as far as California in developing a pilot version based on the standards that California will administer to students in the 5th, 8th and 10th grade.
However, when some districts begin administering the online pilot tests on March 20, California will effectively be in violation of a ruling issued by the U.S. Department of Education two days before President Barack Obama left office. That ruling rejected the state’s request to waive having to administer the outdated paper and pencil California Standards Tests in science, which are based on the old standards introduced in 1998.
Source: California will administer new pilot science test despite U.S. Department of Education ruling | EdSource
By Pat Maio
With two days remaining before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, the U.S. Department of Education has rejected California’s request to begin administering online tests this spring based on new science standards, in lieu of a test based on standards established in 1998.
The state’s final administrative appeal following a six-months-long battle over science testing in California was denied Wednesday in a Jan. 18 letter sent by Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr., to State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and State Board of Education President Michael Kirst.
Whalen wrote that she made her ruling based on concerns about the lack of transparency of science testing data during California’s transition from online pilot testing to fully operational tests set for the 2018-19 school year.
Source: U.S. Education Department rejects California’s science testing plans | EdSource
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today saluted the innovative science instruction taking place at Edna Brewer Middle School in the Oakland Unified School District—instruction that will be coming to all of California’s public schools as a result of recent efforts to dramatically enhance and modernize science education.
“As a former science teacher, I couldn’t be more excited by the learning I saw today in Jeri Johnstone’s eighth grade integrated science class,” Torlakson said. “It’s hands-on, interactive, and collaborative. Students and teachers ask lots of questions and work like scientists. These are the kinds of skills needed for success in high school, college and the modern workplace.”
The Oakland Unified School District is one of eight school districts and two charter school management organizations participating in the early implementation of California’s next Generation Science Standards adopted by the State Board of Education (SBE) in 2013.
“I want to thank all the innovative, creative, and dedicated science teachers in California for working to improve science education. It’s a huge effort, but it will be well worth it when we see students who are thinking like scientists and fully engaged in their lessons,” Torlakson said.
Source: Tom Torlakson Highlights Science Standards – Year 2017 (CA Dept of Education)
By Louis Freedberg
The U.S. Department of Education has once again rejected California’s bid to begin phasing in tests this spring based on new science standards, in lieu of current tests based on standards in place since 1998.
In a letter sent Tuesday to state education leaders, Ann Whalen, a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Education John King Jr., said that California would have to continue to administer the old tests. She said the pilot tests based on the Next Generation Science Standards adopted by California in 2013 would not “measure the full depth and breadth of the state’s academic content in science.”
It is not clear what will happen after Jan. 20 when President-elect Donald Trump is inaugurated, and whether his administration will also insist that California administer the old tests.
Source: Federal government insists again that California administer old science tests | EdSource
By Richard Bammer
The 4-H mission, to engage youth to reach their fullest potential, continues in Solano County with another two-day SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) training session.
High school students are invited to take advantage of a chance to perform community service, learn new skills, experience teaching firsthand, and have fun.
The 10-hour training will be held at the Fairfield 4-H office, 501 Texas St., from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Jan. 21 and 1 to 8 p.m. Jan. 22.Teens must participate in both days of training. Deadline to register is Jan. 20.
Source: County 4-H’ers to hold SET training
By Daily Republic Staff
Local high school students are invited to join the Solano County 4-H Science, Engineering and Technology program.
Teens will be trained to teach science in teams to elementary school children in after-school programs. Training sessions are from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 19 and 1 to 8 p.m. Nov. 20 at the 4-H office, 501 Texas St.. Teens must participate both days.
Source: 4-H program seeks Solano high school students for training
By Pat Maio
The State Board of Education on Thursday approved a new science framework that makes California the first state in the nation to produce a framework based on the Next Generation Science Standards for K-12 grades.
“This has been a long time in coming. It is really an exemplar for the nation,” said Ilene Straus, vice president of the board.
The framework, which represents a major overhaul of how science is taught to the state’s 6.2 million K-12 students, is essentially a blueprint for creating a curriculum based on the new standards that can be implemented in the classroom. The standards, more commonly known as NGSS, emerged after educational leaders nationwide met in 2010 and pushed for rewriting a science curriculum that had not been changed since the late 1990s.
Source: State board approves science framework, first in nation | EdSource
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today kicked off California’s largest Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education symposium.
Torlakson, who started his public service career as a high school science teacher and coach, welcomed more than 3,000 teachers, parents, students, researchers, entrepreneurs and others to the two-day event at the Anaheim Convention Center.
“STEM education is a key pathway to success in 21st century careers and college, especially in the high-tech, international economy,” Torlakson said. “We want all of our students to get excited about STEM learning, dream big, and reach for the stars.”
The third annual event showcases the importance of STEM education. Speakers highlighted California’s Next Generation Science Standards, a revolutionary update in teaching California’s 6.2 million public school students about science.
Source: Torlakson Kicks Off 2016 STEM Symposium – Year 2016 (CA Dept of Education)
To find innovative solutions to the challenges of modern living, we need a workforce skilled in science, engineering, and technology. To meet that need, the National Research Council recommended sweeping changes in the way science is taught in America, changes that push students from studying science to actually doing science.
Teachers are at the forefront of this change, and that is why we are offering a “Teachers on the Estuary” program this fall. Solano Land Trust and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are putting on this two-day, professional workshop on October 15 and October 22, 2016.
Source: Getting muddy for kids – Solano Land Trust
By Pat Maio
A framework for new science assessments for California’s 6.2 million public school students moved closer to completion last week, as a state advisory panel approved sending the latest draft to the State Board of Education for approval.
At the same time, the panel, known as the Instructional Quality Commission, approved the draft for a final 60-day public comment period.
The framework would implement the “Next Generation Science Standards” – a major overhaul of the nation’s approach toward teaching science in K-12 grades. The standards, more commonly called NGSS, emerged after educational leaders nationwide met in 2010 and pushed for rewriting a science curriculum that had not been changed since the late 1990s.
Approving the framework is a key step in the multi-layered and multi-year process the state has initiated to introduce the standards in every school district in the state. While the NGSS standards create common practices for teaching science, the framework consists of several chapters detailing what is to be taught at specific grade levels: pre-1st grade, 1st and 2nd grades, 3rd through 5th, 6th through 8th, and the high school grades.
Source: New framework for teaching K-12 science moves closer to approval | EdSource
By Bill Hicks
With graduation season in the rear view mirror, the school year for the Fairfield-Suisun School District is over – but that doesn’t mean the learning has stopped.
A group of 40 sixth- and seventh-graders returned, Friday night, from a five-day Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics camp, which included a trip to Vacaville-based ICON Aircraft, the Senate and Assembly chambers at the State Capitol and culminated with a trip to Vandenberg Air Force Base outside of Lompoc in Southern California.
This was the inaugural year for the program, which was developed in part thanks to a pre-existing connection Superintendent Kris Corey had with staff at Vandenberg AFB.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun School District STEM camp helps dreams take flight
By Amy Maginnis-Honey
When Lauren and Chris Runow asked their then-5-year-old son Mason where he wanted to go for his birthday, there was no indication the destination he chose would launch something similar in Vacaville.
Mason, with choices that included Lake Tahoe, Six Flags and San Francisco opted for an “explore day.” The destination was the Sacramento Children’s Museum.
Once the family was inside and their young sons were enjoying the exhibits, Lauren Runow felt pretty confident Vacaville needed, and would welcome, such a museum.
Source: Imagine That! Vacaville primed for new science, art center
By Richard Bammer
Willis Jepson Middle School science teacher Melanie Pope on Tuesday received the Rising Star Award from the University of California, Davis, Education Department.
A UC Davis graduate, she received the recognition at the Honoring Educators Award ceremony in the Buehler Alumni Center on the university campus. The School of Education Alumni Association sponsored the evening event.
Pope, who teaches seventh-graders at the Elder Street school in Vacaville, is known for using gestures, a visual language, as a teaching tool, reinforcing abstract academic and science concepts with hand and arm movements, which the students replicate, often while standing up.
Source: Jepson science teacher receives honor from UC Davis
By Richard Bammer
President Obama vowed in his first term to make science “cool,” and he has made good on his word.
Consider that he decorated the Oval Office with patent models of well-known scientific inventions and, on Wednesday, hosted his sixth and final White House Science Fair, featuring the robots, spacecraft, toys made from 3-D printers, and other assorted flabbergasting gizmos cobbled together by more than 100 young students from across the nation.
Source: Science is cool at Solano County STEM Fair
Genentech’s Vacaville and Dixon facilities announced last week that they are providing a $100,000 grant to the Explorit Science Center to support the center’s mission to ignite and foster curiosity about science and nature through hands-on exploration.
Specifically, the grant would support the following initiatives:
• “Community Science Project,” which partners with middle schools and elementary schools in Solano and Yolo counties to encourage students in science discovery through a variety of topics. The content is integrated into teachers’ on-going curriculum and aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and Common Core Standards.
via: The Reporter