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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz County

April 26, 2012

Suki: The (Un)Importance of STAR Tests in the Grand Scope

"Physics for Future Presidents" [and other laymen] & "Instant Physics"

What is Science

Viva: Yearning to Travel?

Science Fun with Christine: Moonrise - Our Universal Illusion
This Week
Join us for the 8th annual Day in the Sky, Watsonville
Click to view our Business Directory
 

(Photos General) RichardMueller.jpgThis is Dr. Richard Muller who teaches physics at UC Berkely.  Do you agree that he looks like a fun teacher? He is a popular and entertaining professor and his books reflect his enjoyment of physics and his ability to explain complex concepts in terms the rest of us can understand.

Dr. Bill Wattenberg [KSCO 1080AM M-W noon to 2pm] recommended two of his books on physics for those of us who are not scientists. They are most entertaining and informative.  

We share more about his books on physics in this newsletter because we believe parents in the Santa Cruz community are committed to quality education for their children and that no matter where your children are receiving their education, home, public or private school, the responsibility for education begins in the home.  If you buy the books, after reading them, they would make a great gift for a teacher. 

I was present at a recent gathering of parents at a local school and was profoundly impressed by the quality of parents' involvement.  Let me paraphrase one of their points, "I send my child to school here and she loves it, comes home excited about what she is learning.  The school is excellent but I am responsible for her education; I provide her with access to additional learning situations.  I am very involved and I only have a few more years to enhance her learning."

Have a great weekend! Parmalee

  Suki: The (Un)Importance of STAR Tests in the Grand Scope

(Photos General) SukiRedHead_138.jpg

It's that happy season again, STAR testing time, when kids across California sit in a room and fill in bubbles with #2 pencils. The kids think they just have pencils in their hands. But in this era of NCLB, students actually hold the fate of their teachers, schools, and districts in their sweaty little palms.

Parents fret that kids think these tests are too important. Teachers fret that their students might not take them seriously enough. District officials fret if the mix of skin colors that show up for the test tilts too far to one side, and hope that the parents from the wealthy side of their school's neighborhood haven't decided to keep their kids home "sick."

I have strong memories from my years of standardized tests ...continued>>>

Visit Suki at Avant Parenting for more perspectives on parenting.

 

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  "Physics for Future Presidents" [and other laymen] & "Instant Physics"

(Books/Products) Book_PhysicsforFuturePresidents.jpgPhysics for Future Presidents 

"What drew me to this book was not so much its title, although it is quite intriguing, but its author. I had read a couple of Professor Muller's books in the past and found them to be very engaging as well as models of clarity. This book is no exception. Using logical scientific reasoning, the author addresses various topics that a future president would likely need to deal with.

 

The topics are: terrorism, energy, nuclear matters, outer space and global warming. Removing any mythology and misinformation that may be associated with these issues, the author carefully analyzes them from a physics perspective; this is to help any future presidents in making solid well-informed decisions. The contentious matter of global warming is dealt with particularly well; in fact, it is one of the fairest and most level-headed discussions of this matter that I have read thus far. ... The writing style is very clear, accessible, authoritative, friendly and quite engaging. This informative book can be enjoyed by anyone, especially those interested in the use of a logical scientific approach to address important world issues.

Richard Mueller returns to educate all of us on the most crucial conundrum facing the nation: energy.


(Books/Products) Book_TheInstantPhysicist.jpgThe Instant Physicist

"Wine is radioactive? Organic foods have more poison in them than those grown with pesticides? Best-selling author Richard A. Muller enlightens us.

In The Instant Physicist he shows his ability to entertain ... by presenting the best of the scientific curiosities he has assembled over his distinguished career. Assisted by award-winning cartoonist Joey Manfre, who has created an original color cartoon for each "physics bite," Muller will have readers chuckling while they're absorbing more science than they ever thought possible.

From the surprising (chocolate has more energy in it than TNT) to the scary (even kids can make a bomb), this book contains a revelation on every page. Once finished with this page-turner, readers will be the stars of their next cocktail party.

Muller distills information from his Physics for Future Presidents (2008) and his university physics course into a lively little book. It's simply laid out: on left-hand pages, there are brief examinations of interesting or little-known facts; on right-hand pages, there are Joey Manfre's humorous illustrations based on those facts.

Readers will learn a lot from the book: you can outrun a tsunami; plutonium is 1,000 times less toxic than Botox; antimatter isn't science fiction; organically grown foods have more carcinogens than foods sprayed with artificial pesticides. Oh, and Muller reveals the truth behind the world-famous 1947 crash of those mysterious flying disks in Roswell, New Mexico (it's not what you might think). Very entertaining and very informative-a winning combination. --David Pitt"

About the Author

Richard A. Muller is a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the best-selling author of Physics for Future Presidents and The Instant Physicist. He lives in Berkeley. Joey Manfre is an award-winning illustrator/cartoonist. He lives in Berkeley, California." 

Reviews from Amazon -edited for brevity

 

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  What is Science
by Irvin Lindsey

(Graphics) ScienceSign.jpgWhy Science? Is trying to get science at your school worth it? Compared to other states and even to other advanced countries our schools are still well below average. Some schools are not at all able to teach this favorite and crucial subject, and specialized experts outside of school systems even with extraordinary teaching abilities and qualifications can find school management decidedly unfriendly. Except for quelling a child's natural curiosity (and less lifetime income) you might not notice. How do we know trying to help improve science in a school is worth it?

Few of us can tell if it is taught well since our own science classes might not have been not taught well when we were in school. These example questions might reveal a little about your science awareness. Why is the clear sky blue and our blood never is? What is the connection between suction cups and vacuum cleaners, and why do neither suck? Did you know elementary kids can learn to balance chemistry equations, but will likely miss out until college? Even very recent questions arise as we try to understand why a squid that lives in the black ocean depths would have huge eyes, how an event can be hidden in time, or how someone who rejects science can be a presidential contender.

What makes a good science program is a contentious subject even among educators who you might think would know. We could all probably make a list of important qualities for a science program which might include plenty of good materials that are proven effective for active learning, a good classroom setting with access to a good outdoor environment, a supportive school management, and the good science teacher. If this seems like a dream, remember it's for the kids, that it's possible, and that the more we do the better we all benefit. Few things can help a school more than its parents.

Oh, and what is a good science teacher? We might talk all day about that and still not agree. It is one of those things where we know it when we see it. But we have also seen educators in the classroom and in management who are not good. Instead of noting questions about job culture or low standards, let's look for qualities that might show a good science teacher. It is more than experience, degrees and credentials, though those can be a start. It is just a good person practicing to be better, genuinely putting kids first, and having concern, subject mastery, passion, discipline, occasional altruism, and some exemplary personality traits. But what might show the genuine quality of a real educator more than just about anything else? Perhaps the ability to stand on their own and earn students. An educator so good they successfully offer what they do to families and children, and year after year stay proficient and effective with a vast majority. It might be interesting to see how many of us know an educator like that. I'd like to meet them.

And remember your homework assignment is to remember how wonderful you are.

Irvin Lindsey is a Master Teacher of Sciences and Director of the nonprofit Outdoor Science Exploration and its Classroom Science Fun.  info@osefun.com 831-423-5925 

 

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Order dinners online or call 479.1390
Pick up at 1601 41st St, Capitola!

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  Viva: Yearning to Travel?

(Photos General) VivaGravatar.jpg

Lonely Planet’s 5 of the USA’s Best Trips is free right now on Amazon.  I haven’t read this book yet but I do like Lonely Planet’s books in general, as they give very specific advice about where to find the best lodging, food, and fun at every price level.  It’s an Amazon Kindle ebook, but even if you don’t own a Kindle you can still enjoy it by downloading it for free to your computer (PC or Mac), iPhone, or iPad. The instructions for doing so are included under the “Buy Now With 1 Click” button. PLEASE BE AWARE that the price is currently $0.00 but that could change at any time, so always check the price before clicking Buy Now.  Let me know what you thought of this book! continued>>>

Visit Viva at the Daily Citron for more frugal tips and finds.

 

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  Science Fun with Christine: Moonrise - Our Universal Illusion

There is an illusion that is shared throughout the world.  Scientists as well as cave-dwellers have seen the same illusion.  When the moon rises, it looks much bigger closer to the horizon than when it is higher up in the sky.  Why? 

Short answer - nobody knows.

(Photos General) Moonrise_Seattle.jpgThis photo from nasa.gov shows time-lapsed photos of the moon over Seattle.  Clearly the size doesn't change.  Our eyes tell us otherwise.  Even scientists who study the issue can't make their brain believe that the moon doesn't change size.


I love this.  For those who think that science knows everything, there are still lots of things to discover.  Understanding something simple, like why the moon seems bigger near the horizon may solve much bigger problems.

More posts at Science Fun with Christine Cockey, local scientist and mom.

  This Week

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Click on our EVENT CALENDAR for more!

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School Corner

 

 

 

 

Coastal Community Preschool, Family Day 4/28

 

Mount Madonna Pre-12, Campus Tour 5/7

 

Santa Cruz Waldorf K-8, A Walk Through the Grades 5/8

 

Santa Cruz Children's School K-6, Open House  5/1

 

Linscott School K-6, Apple Blossom Run 5/6

 

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 Join us for the 8th annual Day in the Sky, Watsonville

(Logos Event Calendar) DayintheSky_Logo.jpgDay in the Sky
Watsonville Airport
50 volunteer pilots take 750 children with disabilites & family/friends FLYING for FREE
Saturday, 4/28 from 9:00am to 4:00pm


2000+ person ground festival at the airport with 100+ nonprofit groups hosting booths. FREE BBQ for all attendees, free parking, free attendance, tons of fun stuff to do.


Great for ALL ages. The festival will also include music provided by a local DJ, clowns and face painters, accessible sports equipment demos, visits with live animals, free barbeque lunch will be served between 11:30 and 2:00, refreshments, and much more.


(Special Event Images / Graphics) DayintheSky_Girl.jpg9am: Festival / Open House Gates Open
* Everything is free, so come down and check us out.
* First flight school starts.

9:30am:  Welcome to the Airport.
* Ribbon Cutting.
* Special Aircraft tours all day.
* Demos from nonprofit organizations and vendors all day.

11:30am: Free BBQ
12 noon: Break for Speeches and Thank-yous (3 minute "speeches" max)
1:00pm: Festival continues

4:00pm: Gates close

Physics for us!
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  Physics for us!
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Physics for us!
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Physics for us!
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Physics for us!
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Physics for us!
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Physics for us!
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Physics for us!
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Spring Planting Day
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  Spring Planting Day
State Park Wilder Ranch
Date: 04/28/2012 from 11:00am to 3:00pm
Details: Imagine yourself at Wilder Ranch in the early part of the 20th century;
Special Instructions: 2 mi north of SC on Hwy 1
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831)426-0505 view all details >>
     
Physics for us!
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  Physics for us!
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Rock and Gem Show
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  Rock and Gem Show
Santa Cruz Mineral and Gem Society
Date: Every day (Apr 28-Apr 29) from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Ages: Children of all Ages
Details: 60th Annual Rock and Gem Show
Special Instructions: Children under 12, and Scouts in uniform (when accompanied by an adult) have free admission
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 479-9176 view all details >>
     
Physics for us!
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  Physics for us!
Date:
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Rock and Gem Show
click to view website
  Rock and Gem Show
Santa Cruz Mineral and Gem Society
Date: Every day (Apr 28-Apr 29) from 10:00am to 5:00pm
Ages: Children of all Ages
Details: 60th Annual Rock and Gem Show
Special Instructions: Children under 12, and Scouts in uniform (when accompanied by an adult) have free admission
City: Santa Cruz Phone: (831) 479-9176 view all details >>
     
Physics for us!
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  Physics for us!
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Physics for us!
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Physics for us!
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