Association of Future Science Educators
2005-2006 Academic Year Activities
AFSE is sponsored in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation   (DUE-0501326)

Science Fairs & Science Family Nights  LBUSD Elementary Science Specialists Shelley Fernald and Rauline Boland shared their expertise and insights with us. Family Science Night events can be a great way to build community and increase student (and family) involvement and enjoyment of science. Science Fairs are a great way to engage students in doing science. Either way, start with small steps and slowly build to a larger event. Handouts for the evening included a timeline for helping students navigate the science fair project.

Nature of Science and Scientific Inquiry CSULB alums Nikki Chambers, Tera Ciancaglini and Jill Grace presented lessons, demos and activities they do in their classrooms to help students better understand the nature of science and inquiry. Among the activities they did were the fortune telling fish, 3-hole bottle, a check activity, discussion of scientific models, linking nature of science to children's literature. Several of the activities can be found on the ENSI website.

Math & Science at a Magnet School  Rod Ziolkowski, physics teacher,  and three of his students shared their perspectives and insights about going to a math/science magnet school. Whitney High School, in ABC Unified, is a grade 7-12 school. While the students are exceptionally motivated and bright, they are normal adolecents. The school's Mission Statement reflects their commitment to help students find the best-match for post-secondary study.  Whitney High School is a single-purpose high school for grades 7-12, whose primary mission is to prepare academically proficient students for entrance to and success at their best-match university. The school emphasizes academics and appropriate co-curricular experiences that develop socially and academically successful students. Whitney High School represents the District's commitment to alternative education for high achieving students who are selected throughout the district. Their Vision Statement and long term goal is to be the best. We strive to be the best public college prep school in the world.  It would seem that they are on their way as the Educational Testing Services recently reported that Whitney High School was the best in the world for AP Physics and BC Calculus.
The three student panelists were articulate, bright and had many suggestions for the future science and math teachers in the audience.

This event was a joint AFSE and Future Math Teachers Association meeting.
The Cerritos College Teaching Secondary School Scholars Program participants joined us as well.

Who Done It? An evening of mystery and intrigue! We looked at fingerprints, lip prints, chromatography and more. Various curriculum related to forensic science was shared. Hand-outs for the evening included weblinks and activity worksheets.

FINGER PRINTS Arches, whorls or loops -- what kind of prints do you have? Students examined their own prints and then lifted prints off of plastic surfaces.

LIP PRINTS  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.

December 1, 2005 Landing a Teaching Job!
A panelist of principals, department chairs, human resource services personnel and the director of the Education Career Office provided insight and suggestions for succeeding in the job search. We've been doing this event every December and this was our best yet!

Panelists talked about the benefits of having a portfolio with you during the interview (and recommendations about how to use it to your advantage), professionalism and the importance of being prepared for the interview (know about the school and community - do your research!). Help with writing resumes, cover letters and interviews is provided by Judi Walker in the Education Career Services office at CSULB.

A great big thanks to our panelists!

Ruth Ashley - Long Beach Unified Human Resources
Roberta Berg - Principal, Pioneer High School - Whittier Union High School District
Jeff Orlinsky - Science Department Chair, Warren High School - Downey Unified School District
Jeannie Reynolds - Principal Birney Elementary School -Long Beach Unified School District
Judi Walker - Director Education Career Services, CSULB

We were pleased to have the Future Math Teachers Association join us for the event. A couple of Cerritos College's TS3P Scholars were with us as well. We hope they will join us again for future AFSE events.

November 14, 2005 NASA Education Night
Carlo Cayetano, Art Hammon, Dave Seidel from Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, a NASA center, joined 63 of us for an informative and enjoyable evening. They shared information about NASA educational materials, provided everyone with posters, teaching resources and the tools to find teacher materials on-line. In addition, we were able to try out some of the activities ourselves!
Scale & Size -- Trying to get students to understand the sizes and distances involved in the solar system is quite difficult. Textbook pictures confound the issue as they show planets and the distance between them using two different scales. It is not possible to have the distance between them drawn to scale and use that same scale to draw the planets and have it all fit on a page. David Seidel led us through a few activities to help us get a better sense of the size and location of planets. 

Balloons were blown up to show scaled models of Earth, the moon and Mars. They were then separated by the appropriate distances to show them accurately in space.
Rice grains and carnival tickets were used to model how far away from the sun each planet is. A handout and poster (with activities) supported these activities.

Carlo Cayetano shared a few websites (see below) with us before leading an activity on meteorites. 
Linking language arts and science, Meteorite Mysteries activity requires students to describe the inside of a chocolate bar without using any food words. This helps with scientific writing as well as helping students become better at describing what they see. Our presenters brought a copy of the entire Meteorite unit for each of us. You can get your own copy on-line.
Deep Space Network - This series of satellites, antennae and speakers allows NASA to be in constant contact with their various space craft. Using an umbrella and the beeper on a watch we were able to model the parabolic dishes sending out their signals to the depths of space.
Using the top portion of a 3-liter pop bottle you can make "dishes" for your ears! Art Hammon took us outside and showed us how to do this activity. Directions and background information can be found on the back of the poster he provided.

Useful Websites: -- find picutres of planets and other JPL images - you can find the meteorite curriculum and all other educationa materials here - science visualization studio, shows some great virtual zooming in and out for places on earth

October 19, 2005 Science & Literacy
We spent an evening looking at how tradebooks can be used as a springboard for activities. Various methods of using the text to initiate inquiry, serve as assessment, and serve as a starting point for writing assignments.

Here are two of the books we discussed.
Wendy Pfeffer's  Marta's Magnets
Publisher  Silver Press 
Related Science Topic   Magnetism
Plot Synopsis  Marta and her sister Rosa moved to a new neighborhood. Marta collects things, including magnets. Rosa thinks Marta's collections are "junk". Marta uses her collection of magnets to "attract" new friends and save the day by retrieving a key ring lost by a skeptical child. Marta’s magnets stuck to different metals, but not all metals. They also stuck through water.
Specific Connecting Points to Science in Story Some things are attracted to magnets and some aren't. Magnets don’t attract everything. Not all metals are attracted to magnets. Magnets work when surrounded by water. Not all magnets have the same magnetic force. Science occurs in the real world - good example of applications of science
Frank Asch   Bear's Shadow
Publisher Scholastic 
Related Science Topic  Light & Shadows
Plot Synopsis Bear goes fishing, his shadow scares away the fish.  Bear decides to find a way to get rid of his shadow.  He tries to hide it, bury it, run away from it, and nail it down.  After taking a nap he goes back out to fish. The sun is still out, but at a different place.  Bear reasons with his shadow - if you let me catch a fish I will let you catch one too.  Since the sun is in a different place his shadow does not interfere with his fishing and both Bear and his shadow get fish.

Specific Connecting Points to Science in Story What causes a shadow. The relationship between light and shadow. How the position of shadow is related to the object and light source.

It's one thing to be able to read fiction, it's quite another to make sense of nonfiction. We looked at explicit strategies to use when reading science books, how to link thinking to reading and how activities and demonstrations can reinforce and clarify what is read.

September 13, 2005 Inquiry Round Robin
CSULB Teaching Associates from Young Scientists Camp shared activies and demos that they did this summer during camp.
Noe Garcia showed us a working model of the human arm. Constructed from paper towel tubes, balloons, rubberbands and tape, the arm shows the muscles and bones of the arm. 

Peter LaBarbara helped us build models of the lungs. Using empty water bottles, balloons (or surgical gloves) and straw you can build a working model of the lungs. We were then able to simulate breathing by extending and contracting the diaphragm.

What happens to those lungs when you smoke? Vicky Rodriguez showed us the Smoky Joe experiment. 

Smoky Joe experiment

The “smoke in a bottle” or “smoky joe” really brings to light the effects of smoking to students of all ages.  This demonstration, if allowed at your school, must be done away from the children, if not allowed it can be performed ahead of time away from the school and brought in ready for student viewing.

 Materials: -    empty clear water bottle (6oz or smaller) 
- cigarettes (if possible no filter)
- tape (masking tape works best)
- lighter or matches 
- white cotton ball (optional)
- needle and thread (optional) 
Procedure: -    cut slit on cap of water bottle big enough to fit the cigarette
- place cigarette in the hole made on the cap with mouth piece toward the inside of the bottle – if cigarette has a filter remove the filter before taping it to the cap
- tape the cigarette securely on the outer part of the cap so as to prevent smoke from escaping 
- place cap back on bottle – close it tightly
- light the cigarette with a lighter or matches
- gently squeeze the bottle to simulate breathing
- continue squeezing until the cigarette is consumed
- moisten a white cotton ball
- with needle and thread, sew a 4.5 inch thread through the cotton – this will help pull out the cotton at the end of the demonstration 
- place the cap with cigarette tightly on the bottle while allowing a portion of the thread to hang out of the bottle 
- light the cigarette with a lighter or matches
- gently squeeze the bottle to simulate breathing
- continue squeezing until the cigarette is consumed

This demonstration is very powerful with junior and high school students.  Most often there is no need to remove the cotton ball because the smoke in the bottle is effective enough.  The cotton ball serves to demonstrate how tar attaches itself to the lungs but most student are “blown away” by the amount of smoke in the bottle – representing the smoke that remains in the lungs.

Jill Grace led us through an activity where we had to come up with ways to find out if the Fortune Telling Fish actually work. The fish will curl or twist when held in your hand. Does it do that in order to predict the future? What sorts of investigations can we do to find out if the fish really can tell the future? What really makes it work?

You can order the fish at Visit this site and search for "fortune fish" to find out what is really happening!  What a great way to introduce students to inquiry and the nature of science.

The Case of the Missing Camera
     Someone has stolen the classroom digital camera!  We received a ransom note this morning.  I think this ransom note was written by a student in the after school club using one of the ink pens on the teacher's desk.  We are going to use chromatography and try to determine which pen wrote the ransom note. We can then watch to see which students use each pen and make an educated guess about who stole the camera.
Directions on how to do chromatography amd how to set up an experiment.

Wendy Ewald led us to an underwater world where mammals, fish and other creatures live. She shared activities and demonstrations completed by the 6th grade campers who studied life at the edge of the sea. The role of blubber in keeping animals warm was made concrete as we were able to submerge our hands into icy cold water with and without blubber protection. Sometimes it's good to have blubber!

Lesson plan for Squid Dissection
Lesson plan for Gyotaku (Fish Painting)
Lesson plan for Blubber Glove