By Nick Sestanovich
As the global coronavirus outbreak has forced schools to close, many teachers have had to adapt to virtual learning. Peggy Harte, a science teacher at Gretchen Higgins Elementary School in Dixon, wanted to make sure students were continuing to learn important science lessons while also getting outside.
Harte set up a lab through the platform iNaturalist to enable students to document the various plant and animal species they find.
“So much of the research shows that just physically being outside helps people’s stress levels, helps people’s emotional needs as well just being in an outdoor space,” she said. “With all the stress that these little kids are under, I thought it was just a simple way for students to go outside, engage in some science and be able to feel like they’re contributing while still being in their own backyard.”
Source: Dixon science teacher offers virtual lessons as classrooms are closed – The Reporter
By Sydney Johnson
At a time when California is placing a greater emphasis on science education, most students did not score at a proficient level on the state’s new science test, with scores especially low among several student groups.
The results of the test were released this week. They represent the first scores on the California Science Test, a new test developed by the California Department of Education, to measure progress on the Next Generation Science Standards adopted by California in 2013.
Source: Less than a third of California students met or exceeded standards on new science test – Times-Herald
By Nick Sestanovich
Sixth-graders at Dixon Montessori Charter School (DMCS) became botanists, geologists, hydrologists and ornithologists all over the course of one morning Thursday as they did activities at the Suisun Marsh.
They were among nearly 2,000 sixth and seventh-graders to visit this month as part of the Solano Resource Conservation District’s Watershed Education Program. The youths hike through the largest brackish water marsh on the West Coast and learn about wildlife, plant life, soil and water, as well as ways to protect it from pollution. Along the way, they perform numerous activities and record data.
Source: Dixon Montessori students become citizen scientists at Suisun Marsh – The Reporter
By Todd R. Hansen
It takes about two weeks for dermestids to clean the flesh and soft tissue away from the bones of a full skeleton.
That is if the beetles are kept warm, fed and healthy and, well, loved.
Colleen Milligan, a forensic anthropology professor at California State University, Chico, and co-director of the on-campus Human Identification Lab, shared case studies Monday from the lab’s work with about 120 cadets at the Public Safety Academy in Fairfield.
Source: Public Safety Academy cadets bone up on forensic sciences
By Naaz Modan
As there is a national push for increased computer science literacy, many states are requiring high schools to offer courses in the subject, with some districts even making computer science a requirement for graduation. Some states are even requiring elementary and middle schools to offer computer science, the report says.
Georgia is among those phasing in the change through an incremental approach over the course of six years. The state has put in place benchmarks to see the plan through:
Source: 33 states adopted 57 computer science ed policies since 2018 | Education Dive
By Daily Republic Staff
Vanden High sophomore Mayah Gantt was the overall Senior Division winner and Ryan Menefee, a student at Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy in Vallejo, was the Junior Division winner at the recent Solano County Science and Engineering Fair.
Gantt was also first in the Earth Science category, while Menefee was first in the Physical Science category. There was a Life Science category as well.
First-place winners are eligible to enter the California State Science and Engineering Fair that takes place April 29-30 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
Source: Vanden, Caliber students top Solano Science Fair competitions
By Maggie Avants
The 2019 Solano County Science and Engineering Fair was held Friday, March 29 in Fairfield. In hosting the annual event, the Solano County Office of Education aims to do its part in addressing a worker shortage in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“It was an excellent opportunity for our middle and high school students to apply science and engineering skills to investigate problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and develop conclusions,” said Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson. “We are confident this event inspired students to consider a career in science, engineering or a related field.”
Source: Winners Of Solano County Science, Engineering Fair Announced | Benicia, CA Patch
By Nick Sestanovich
Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) students at Vaca Pena Middle School got a glimpse at a potential career field — biotechnology — when they visited Solano Community College’s Vacaville campus Tuesday.
SCC biotech professor and Vacaville Unified School District trustee Michael Silva said that as part of the department’s outreach program, different elementary, middle and high schools throughout the area are invited to visit the biotech labs and often take part in different activities. The schools are not limited to just Solano County. Last week, students at Enoch High School in Modesto came to visit, and on Monday, a group of students from Calistoga High School stopped by.
“It goes to speak how valuable of a resource this biotechnology lab and curriculum is to the community, and really the whole region,” he said.
Source: Vaca Pena students learn biotech skills at Solano Community College – The Reporter
By Susan Hiland
Students from all over the district came out Friday to Armijo High School for a friendly bit of competition.
This was the fourth year for the Fairfield-Suisun School District Science Fair.
“It has grown over the years,” said Vigdis Asmundson, who works for the Solano County Office of Education. “It’s getting better with better projects each year.”
She is a former science teacher for Grange Middle School and saw the Science Fair get off the ground.“This year we have six schools participating,” she said.
Source: Fairfield-Suisun students share findings at science fair
By Joel Rosenbaum
Jumping into the waters of Ulatis Creek Monday, 18-year-old Vacaville High School senior Spencer Pihl remarked how cold his feet were getting.
But Pihl wasn’t complaining. It was all for science.
Pihl and about 90 of his fellow classmates in Erin Gordon’s Advanced Placement Biology classes at Vaca High were taking part in the 11th annual Solano County Biomonitoring Program, a hands-on science program run by the Solano Resource Conservation District.
Source: Getting Their Feet Wet For Science – The Reporter
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that the State Board of Education (SBE) voted to approve the first-ever instructional materials which incorporate California’s groundbreaking Next Generation Science Standards for grades K–8. “California is the first state in the nation to adopt a science framework and approve instructional materials based on the Next Generation Science Standards,” Torlakson said. “I am excited about the new standards, which train students to act like scientists by posing questions and developing their own experiments. In addition, they emphasize climate change and environmental literacy, along with engineering and strategies to support girls and young women in science.”This was the largest state adoption for a content area with 34 programs submitted for review. The SBE approved 29 programs. Districts will have many options of curriculum resources to meet the needs of their students. The approval of instructional materials comes after the Science Framework was approved by the SBE in 2016.
Source: Torlakson Announces Approval of NGSS Materials – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today announced that the California Department of Education (CDE) and the California History-Social Science Project (University of California, Davis) have won the American Historical Association’s Beveridge Family Teaching Prize for distinguished K–12 history teaching. The two organizations collaborated to create the groundbreaking History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools, which was approved by the State Board of Education in 2016 and published last year.
“California is leading the way in helping our students recognize the diversity of our great state and nation,” Torlakson said. “Thanks to the partnership between the California Department of Education and the California History-Social Science project, California students will learn from the latest research and have a deeper understanding of the important contributions and challenges faced by many individuals and ethnic groups that have sometimes been overlooked. These include every major ethnic group, as well as members of the LGBT community and people with disabilities.”
Among other things, this framework adds more detail on Latino history, the Armenian Genocide, the role Filipinos played in World War II, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and African American history—including slave narratives and firsthand accounts of uprisings, and protests during the Civil Rights movement.
Source: CA History-Social Science Frameworks Win Prize – Year 2018 (CA Dept of Education)
By Lillian Mongeau
Science could be considered the perfect elementary school subject. It provides real life applications for reading and math and develops critical thinking skills that help students solve problems in other subjects. Plus, it’s interesting. It helps answer all those “why” questions — Why is the sun hot? Why do fish swim? Why are some people tall and other people short? — that 5- to 8-year-old children are so famous for asking.
Young children are “super curious,” said Matt Krehbiel, director of science for Achieve, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students graduate high school ready to start college or to pursue a career. “We want them to be able to harness that curiosity to help them make sense of the world around them.”
Source: Will New Standards Improve Elementary Science Education? | MindShift | KQED News
By Richard Bammer
Some say “throwing money at schools” makes little or no difference in student achievement outcomes, but American educators generally would argue the exact opposite, asserting that money, indeed, can make a real difference and often does.
To that end, the Solano County Office of Education will use a recently received $50,000 grant to support K-5 math and science standards in area schools.
“We are excited and look forward to working with our school districts to develop model math and science lessons that are engaging and aligned with math and science standards,” Lisette Estrella-Henderson, superintendent of county schools, said in a press release about the County Implementation Award Program (CIAP). “We look forward to supporting our educators who work so hard on behalf of the students they serve.”
Source: Solano County Office of Education lands $50K grant to support math, science
By Daily Republic Staff
The Solano County Office of Education received a $50,000 grant from the County Implementation Award Program (CIAP) to support K-5 math and science standards implementation, according to a press release.
“We are excited and look forward to working with our school districts to develop model math and science lessons that are engaging and aligned with math and science standards,” said Solano County Superintendent of Schools Lisette Estrella-Henderson in a statement. “We look forward to supporting our educators who work so hard on behalf of the students they serve.”
A pilot team of K-5 teachers from participating school districts will collaborate to develop model lessons that will be available to all teachers by December 2018. The team will engage in a process of developing, pilot-testing, and refining these lessons in their classrooms.
Source: SCOE receives grant to support math, science
By Daily Republic Staff
Students from across Solano County completed their participation in a two-day science showcase Friday that saw projects from elementary schoolchildren to high schoolers take over the gym at Vanden High School.
The annual Solano County Science/STEM Fair opens the door for qualifying students to enter the California State Science Fair next month at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
Solano County’s science fair was open to sixth- through 12th-graders.
It’s a competition based on the quality of experiments presented through exhibits, according to event organizers. The event is designed to stimulate an active interest in science, provide a quality educational experience, and to give public recognition to talented students for the work they have done in the field of science.
Source: Students showcase scientific chops at Solano science fair
By Reporter Staff
Will they learn to how to make their own “volcano”? What about building a soap-powered model boat? Like a magician, will they figure out how to “bend water” with static electricity?
They might, if they attend the city of Suisun City’s Spring Break Science Camp.
The six-day camp, from March 26 to April 2 (no camp on Saturday and Sunday) and sponsored by the city’s Recreation & Community Services Department, is open to children in grades one to six and will be held at the Anson G. Burdick Center, 1101 Little Rock Circle, in Suisun City. Daily hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Organizers say the camp will be a fun and educational experience for the children, as they learn how the world works through field trips to Rush Ranch Open Space, the Imagine That! Museum in Vacaville, and through experiments and other activities.
Source: Science fun for kids during holiday week
By Carolyn Jones
Days after Congress passed a budget that mostly preserves funding for science education, President Donald Trump released a new budget proposal for 2019 that would eliminate many of those same programs.
Trump’s budget proposal, released on Monday, was drawn up before Congress passed its two-year deal last week. Although Congress already approved a budget, Trump’s proposal can offer funding priorities within approved budget caps, and it lays out his overall vision for the country. It calls for a $26 billion increase in defense spending next year, but $5 billion in cuts to non-defense programs, including a 10.5 percent cut to the Department of Education.
Source: Science education funding still in Trump’s crosshairs, despite being saved by Congress | EdSource
By Daily Republic Staff
High school students are invited to participate in the Solano County 4-H Science, Engineering and Technology program, which offers a chance for teens to engage in community service, learn new skills and experience teaching firsthand.
Program participants will be trained to teach science in teams to elementary-age children in after-school programs.
Training will take place from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday and Monday at the 4-H office, 501 Texas St. Teens must attend both days. The deadline to register is Friday.
Source: Solano 4-H SET program offers teens training workshop
By Richard Bammer
They are pint-sized versions of Thomas Edison, Benjamin Franklin and Lyda D. Newman, inventors all, of the incandescent light bulb, bifocals, and the improved modern hair brush, respectively.
They also possessed several traits common to successful inventors four and five times their age, not necessarily genius but, chief among them, persistence in the face of repeated failure, what Edison called “1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.”
As they showed off their inventions Tuesday at the Dan O. Root Health and Wellness Academy, where the Suisun City campus held its first Invention Convention, fourth-graders in three classes proudly explained their projects in the multipurpose room.
Source: Fourth-graders at Dan O. Root Academy show off at Invention Convention