2021 California Science Education Conference

Focus Speakers

Included in Registration


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Focus speakers are highly regarded scientists and education experts who present 90-minute, in-depth sessions on subjects relevant to science teaching. The focus speaker series allows you to expand your understanding in a wide range of critical topics.

Friday, October 21, 2016

12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

California Science Curriculum Framework - A Tool for Teachers in CA-NGSS Implementation

Join the lead writer (Matthew d’Alessio) and California Department of Education staff for an engaging and in-depth view of the soon-to-be-adopted California Science Curriculum Framework (set for action by the State Board of Education in November, 2016). This incredible document has been written, re-written, reviewed, and examined many times over the past 18 months by many hundreds of science educators – all with the end goal of helping California educators implement the California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS). Learn how to navigate/approach the document, about the various course models for middle school and high school, recommendations for implementing CA-NGSS in the early grades, instructional strategies for ALL grades, TK-12, and more. Lots of time for Q&A will be provided. Come prepared with your questions: review the draft Curriculum Framework at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/sc/cf/ (not required for participation).

2:30 pm - 4:00 pm

Inspire STEM Girls Through Gender Equitable Teaching Strategies in STEM

Sandy Marshall

Sandy Marshall, Founder/CEO, Project Scientist

Join Project Scientist Founder/CEO and Leija Irvin, 8th grade math and science teacher at Edgewood Academy and Project Scientist Academy teacher as they introduce you to gender equitable teaching strategies in STEM through SciGirls. SciGirls is an Emmy award-winning PBS Kids TV show, website, and outreach program designed to change how millions of girls think about STEM. Videos and hands-on activities work together to spark excitement and inspire STEM learning and participation for all girls (ages 8-13). Participants will experience the SciGirls Seven, research-based strategies to engage girls in STEM, as they complete team-based challenges and explore SciGirls’ extensive free resources for classroom and informal settings.

Project Scientist is a non-profit dedicated to serving girls in STEM through six-week summer STEM Academies on university campuses and year-round STEM Expeditions.

Project Scientist

4:20 pm - 5:50 pm

The Promise of NGSS: Inspire, Motivate, and Educate

Stephen Pruitt, Kentucky Commissioner of Education

Attend this inspiring and informative presentation by one of the nation’s top NGSS experts. Now the Kentucky Commissioner of Education (an NGSS-adoption state), Stephen Pruitt was once at Achieve leading the development of the Next Generation Science Standards. Glean information about lessons learned in Kentucky’s journey to implement NGSS. Gain a deeper understanding of the conceptual and instructional shifts that the NGSS call for, and the promise that these standards hold for our students' futures. As a teacher, you are the most critical player on the NGSS implementation team – join us for inspiration, motivation, and education.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

8:00 am – 9:30 am

When Do I Tell Them the Answer?

Alan Colburn

Alan Colburn, Professor of Science Education, CSU Long Beach

“When do I tell students they are wrong? What if they still have misconceptions? When do I give the right answer?” Teachers struggling to navigate NGSS’s demands often hear inaccurate thinking, especially when engaging students in the open-ended activities that come with inquiry-based instruction. The temptation to simply correct this thinking is overwhelming. This presentation focuses on how and why sometimes it’s better to let students confront their misconceptions and construct their own meanings, waiting until students are confident in their conclusions or need more information. Facilitate that process, take “teacher telling” off the table for awhile, and transform your students’ science experiences.

CSULB Faculty Website

10:00 am - 11:30 am

NGSS: What Is the Role of Computational Thinking, Modeling, and Simulation? CANCELLED

CSTA regrets that this presentation has been cancelled. Please follow the links provided for information on this topic.

Alice Steinglass

Alice Steinglass, VP of Product and Engineering at Code.org

Irene Lee

Irene Lee, Director, Project GUTS; Research scientist, MIT Scheller Teacher Education Program

Trish Williams

Trish Williams, Member and Liaison to NGSS and CS, CA State Board of Education

12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

NASA's Orion Capsule Parachute System — A View from the Inside

Elsa Hennings

Elsa Hennings, Senior Systems Engineer in NAWCWD's Escape, Parachute and Crashworthy Division

The Orion Capsule parachute system is presented, from the developmental testing through the installation into the Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1) spacecraft, to the Pacific Ocean recovery operation for EFT-1. The presenter is Elsa Hennings, the Navy's Chief Engineer for parachutes, who has been a consultant to NASA since the beginning of the Orion parachute program and has been involved with the system each step of the way.

NASA News: Orion Parachute System Withstands Failure Test

3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Chemistry: The 3 Stooges and Tattoos

John Stenger-Smith

John Stenger-Smith, Chemistry Professor and DoD Researcher, Cerro Coso Community College, Ridgecrest, CA

Ever wonder how these are related? Please come join me as I speak about my experiences in life, chemistry and comedy. I'll talk about the path that lead me to my current career from the moment three gentlemen (not the 3 Stooges) made a mistake in the UPENN Chemistry Research Laboratory to the present, warts, "C"s and all. I'll also speak about my past experiences as a Chemistry teacher at a community college and give very frank opinions on some latest education related topics, and a discussion about hands-on laboratories in science. The 13-year journey of "The Tattoo" will be explained. Interspersed with this information will be interesting information about the 3 Stooges, questions and lab safety. Questions are encouraged. I will also sing "Happy Birthday" to whomever has a birthday in October.

4:45 pm - 6:15 pm

Introduction to NGSS Evidence Statements – Translating the NGSS into Lessons

Rita Januszyk

Rita Januszayk, Writer for the NGSS; and Member of the NGSS Diversity and Equity Team

One of the writers of the NGSS and NGSS Evidence Statements presents an introduction to NGSS Evidence Statements intended to inform participants of their structure and function. Participants analyze a sample Evidence Statement in order to understand how it articulates the use of a practice and a crosscutting concept to demonstrate the understanding of the DCI. Applying the understanding of Evidence statements to specific lesson examples demonstrates the utility of Evidence Statements in instructional and assessment design. Participants are encouraged to bring an evidence statement from their grade or discipline accessed online.

Evidence Statements


Upcoming Conferences

  • 2023 Conference
    October 20-22, 2023
    Palm Springs, CA

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