Association of Future Science Educators
2004-2005 Academic Year Activities

We had another great year at AFSE. More than 350 different students participated in our events. Come join us next year for more great activities, lectures and resources!

AFSE is the CSULB Student Chapter of the National Science Teachers Association
AFSE is supported in part by a grant from the
Metropolitan Water District

NASA Educational Materials Night! 
May 3, 2005
More than sixty people showed up to learn about NASA's educational materials. Our guest presenters, David Seidel, Art Hammon and Carlo Cayetano - all from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory - led us through activities.

Just How Big is the Solar System? Trying to incorporate scale into models of the solar system can be daunting. What most students don't realize is that any model which has planets to scale will not have the distances between them to scale. Using balloons, grains of rice and other common materials we were able to get a sense of how big things are and how far away they really are. This lesson integrates math standards and concepts.

Robots & Humans Just how do robotic arms work? This activity had us making a model of the "gripper" at the end of robotic arms which are used in space to grab equipment. A simple device shows students how they are made and function.

available at:

Carlo Cayetano does NASA Educational Outreach in the form of school visits for teachers and students. Please contact him if you are interested in finding out how to have him come to your school!

Reading, Writing & Rings We all know elementary teachers are urged to teach language arts, often times at the expense of science. This set of activities integrates science and language arts, successfully meeting standards for both content areas. The curriculum has been highly successful with ELL students and very popular with teachers. The activity we discussed was the student book about Saturn. With the NASA websites posting new images of Saturn daily your students can be learning science while it happens!

available at:

Thanks to our generous friends at JPL, a copy of the curriculum and an associated DVD is available for your review in the Science Education Resource Library -- FO5-118.

In addition to doing activities we learned where to find educational materials. Teachers (and teachers-to-be) can get educational materials from any NASA Educational Resource Center (ERC). The nearest ERC for us is in Pomona at 1460 East Holt Blvd., Suite 20, Pomona.  (909)397-4420  Materials can also be found on-line. Virtually all materials are available on the web.  Great one-stop shopping is Spacelinks ( From here you can order or down load modules, lithographs, posters and videos.

JPL has put together a "quilt" of educational materials. This site is advertised as a 3-click site. It will only take you 3 clicks to go from grade level to content standard to educational product. The quilt is based on the National Science Education Standards, not California's, so some minor adjusting for grade level will be needed. You can find the quilt at <>. THIS IS A REALLY GREAT RESOURCE, BE SURE TO EXPLORE IT!!

Marine Sciences in the K-12 Classroom
April 5, 2005 @ Aquarium of the Pacific
A group of 30 students spent the evening at Long Beach's Aquarium of the Pacific. The focus of the evening was marine education and how marine sciences can be incorporated into the K-12 classroom while teaching science standards. John McCord, the Education Manager, took us on a tour of the aquarium, pointing out key features of the aquarium and interesting information about the various inhabitants. We then spent a few hours in the Splash Zone classroom. CSULB alums Tari Mok and Jill Grace shared marine biology lessons that they have used in their own classrooms. Mrs. Grace's lesson was about ocean resources. Ms. Mok's was about grunions and included hatching grunion eggs. John McCord then told us how the aquarium can be used to support classroom instruction. The last activity of the evening was about how pollution in the ocean food chain has a multiplying effect. Special thanks to Metropolitan Water District for the grant which financed this event and to our presenters - Mrs. Grace, Ms. Mok and Mr. McCord.

Just Add Water!
March 17, 2005

Presented by Benita Horn, Metropolitan Water District

Fourty-five students gave up green beer and other St. Patrick's Day traditions to attend AFSE on Thursday, March 17th. Benita Horn, a member of the Metropolitan Water District's Education Unit, spent an evening with us sharing information about.... WATER! Students walked away with an understanding of the need to conserve water and to be stewards of the water on our planet.

After a short United Nations video about water and water quality issues we got to work doing water related activities and learning water facts. A highlight of the evening was playing with magic sand, a hydrophobic substance which defies expectations. For those of you who missed this event you can see a short video showing the properties of magic sand on-line. Magic sand can be purchased at Education Innovations in 1-pound bags.

Ms. Horn told us about resources provided by the Metropolitan Water District for schools and teachers in their service area (most of southern California).

Click here to learn about MWD's Educational Resources.

Rock On!
Feb. 15, 2005

Flavor Station for the toothpaste making activity

Dr. Sue Pritchard, a 20 year veteran middle school teacher from La Habra, shared some geology teaching tips and activities for the elementary classroom. In addition to testing minerals for hardness (participants all got their very own Moh's hardness kit) we also made toothpaste (from rocks!). The evening provided a nice review of some geology concepts, a few hands-on activities, a rock cycle song, and some good teaching tips! Attendees also received a CSTA (Calif. Sci. Teachers Assoc) bag filled with CSTA journals and a luggage tag reminder of the upcoming conference in Palm Springs. Thanks to Dr. Pritchard for sharing her expertise and passion for science.

Shake-shake-shake activity

Job Searching Tips & Strategies

December 1, 2004

Interviewing tips, does & don'ts were the talk of the night as we heard from a panel of experts. LBUSD's Joe Pistoia (Human Resources), David LaCharite, Shelley Arnold (LBUSD teachers/dept chair), Amy Edmundson (Centralia School District) and Judi Walker (Educational Career Placement Services @ CSULB) all gave their insights.

Some of the top tips -- dress appropriately, remember you are ALWAYS making an impression (so take your SERVE hours and field work responsibilities seriously), practice your answers, avoid "filler" words such as like, uhm, you know, etc. and bring evidence to support your claims (a portfolio of your best work).

Judi Walker gave suggestions on how to handle your placement file. Resume and cover letter tips can be found on her website along with information about upcoming job fairs.

Science & Literacy
 November 11, 2004

download tonight's agenda & handouts
coming soon - powerpoint presentations about Cornell Notes
Cornell Notes Power Point by the LACOE AVID team
Interactive Science Journals by Anne Maben, LACOE AVID/AP Science Coach

Susan Garcia with a 
CSULB banner which 
she can display in her 
7th grade science
classroom at Colin 
Powell Academy.

88 future teachers showed up to learn some strategies for helping students read non-fiction and fiction text. Susan Garcia, 7th grade science teacher at Colin Powell Academy (LBUSD) taught us about Cornell Notes, PQRST strategies and reverse Cornell Notes. She shared some samples of her student work and told us about how this strategy has helped improve student achievement and engagement.

Laura Henriques shared some strategies for using fictional text as a springboard for science investigations. The three books highlighted were Bear's Shadow (3rd grade physical science standards), Marta's Magnets (4th grade physical science) and Porker's Taxi (all levels - Nature of Science).

Forensic Science in the K-12 Classroom
October 25, 2004

CSI hits CSULB! 61 folks joined us for an evening of solving mysteries. There were four stations, each with its own mystery.
Someone stole the video camera and left a ransom note requesting $250. Using chromatography you can find out whose pen was used to write the note!
Couple this with hand writing analysis and fingerprinting and you've got even more compelling data!
Was there poison in the cola? Is that how Felix died? If so, who put it there? Using pH we can find out if the cola has been tampered with. We could use fingerprints and lip prints to make the mystery more complex!  Red cabbage juice makes a great acid/base indicator!
Arches, whorls or loops -- what kind of prints do you have? Students examined their own prints and then lifted prints off of plastic surfaces.
Like fingerprints, lip prints are unique. 
The study of lip prints is called cheiloscopy.  The use of lip prints in criminal cases is limited because the credibility of lip prints has not been firmly established in our courts.
In addition to the stations club members learned about how clues can be put together to solve a more complicated case. The Mystery Festival from Young Scientists Camp was discussed along with some of the other crime solving strategies (blood splatter, foot prints, fiber analysis, DNA and more). Roland Chhun did a DNA rap for the group to end the evening.
Thanks to our presenters - Roland Chhun, Joy Taylor and Jim Kisiel for helping lead the evening.

Download the handouts!

Roland Chhun doing
the DNA rap.
Lyrics in the handouts.

Inquiry Round-Robin
Sept. 15, 2004
The evening had a variety of inquiry activities for the 50 participants to try. Led by 2004 Young Scientists Camp staff, the 50 students attending AFSE participated in a trio of activities related to Newton's Laws, tested rocks and minerals, and learned about making biomes out of 2-liter soda bottles. 
Tom McCabe and Jill Grace led participants through the Newton's Laws stations.
Genevieve Finch showed us how to make bottle biomes.
Shelley Arnold took students through a couple of activities related to rocks and minerals.

Thumb wrestling can be used as an ice breaker as well as an introduction to scientific investigations and variables! Tom McCabe and his trusty lab assistants showed us how!

Handouts for the evening included a copy of an NSTA journal (free with your membership), instructions for making bottle biomes, Newton's Law station activities, rock & mineral testing and applications of minerals in our everyday life, and an example of a closed ended and open ended lesson plan for activities related to genetics. In addition, participants got a calendar of upcoming events and a flier about opportunities in Science Education.

Thanks to our presenters for a great evening!