September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

CSTA Member Selected to Explore the Ocean with Titanic Discoverer Dr. Robert Ballard’s Nautilus Exploration Program

Posted: Friday, June 29th, 2012

[San Francisco, CA] – Twelve educators from across the United States have been selected from a competitive pool of applicants by the Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) to participate in the 2012 Nautilus Exploration Program. The selected Educators at Sea hail from schools and museums in seven states and represent ten school districts, including San Francisco Unified School District. CSTA member and region 2 director Eric Lewis, the Secondary Science Content Specialist for the SFUSD, has been selected as a 2012 Nautilus Exploration Program Educator at Sea.

For the past five years, Eric Lewis has been supporting high school science in SFUSD as a teacher on special assignment. Prior to this, Mr. Lewis was a teacher and department chair at Mission High School where he taught Biology, Earth Science, Physiology and Health Careers since 1999. Mr. Lewis will be aboard the Nautilus from June 28th through July 16th where he will be contributing to the research on the Southern Black Sea.

“I’m incredibly honored to be able to participate in this kind of research. Not only will I be able to experience the excitement of discovery first-hand, but I will also be able to share this excitement – and the various kinds of science that I’ll be doing – with students throughout SFUSD.”

The 2012 Educators at Sea will embark in July and August on Dr. Robert Ballard’s ship of exploration, E/V Nautilus, as his team explores the geology, biology, archaeology and chemistry of the Black Sea and Mediterranean Sea. As part of the Corps of Exploration aboard Nautilus, educators will participate in daily science operations and live interactions with shore-based audiences on and at the Nautilus Live Theater at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut. The Educator at Sea Program is sponsored in part by Bechtel.

“We’re very excited to provide educators with a direct experience of pure exploration,” said Expedition Leader and OET Vice President, Dr. Katherine Croff Bell, “While our Nautilus Live website provides real-time video of our expedition to teachers and students all over the world, we also have the unique opportunity to invite our Educators at Sea on board Nautilus as fully integrated members of our Corps of Exploration.”

Prior to going to sea, educators will also participate in an intensive training workshop attend sessions hosted by scientists, engineers and science communicators from June 25-28 at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography, where Dr. Ballard is professor of oceanography. Ballard is best known for his discovery of RMS Titanic.


About the Nautilus Exploration Program


The Nautilus Exploration Program was founded in 2008 by Dr. Robert Ballard and is a joint ocean exploration initiative of the Ocean Exploration Trust, the Institute for Exploration and the URI Center for Ocean Exploration. This international program centers on scientific exploration of the seafloor launched from aboard the Exploration Vessel Nautilus, a 64-meter research vessel currently based in Istanbul, Turkey. In addition to conducting pure scientific research, the Nautilus Exploration Program offers ocean telepresence to explorers on shore via live video, audio and data feeds from the ship. The Program also includes an education component that brings educators and students on E/V Nautilus expeditions. The 2012 Nautilus Exploration Program is sponsored by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Ocean Exploration Trust, the Sea Research Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, National Geographic Society and private donors.



Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

One Response

  1. What an amazing opportunity, Eric. Congratulations! I look forward to hearing more about your deep sea adventure.

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State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Announces 2017 Finalists for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching

Posted: Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson today nominated eight exceptional secondary mathematics and science teachers as California finalists for the 2017 Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST).

“These teachers are dedicated and accomplished individuals whose innovative teaching styles prepare our students for 21st century careers and college and develop them into the designers and inventors of the future,” Torlakson said. “They rank among the finest in their profession and also serve as wonderful mentors and role models.”

The California Department of Education (CDE) partners annually with the California Science Teachers Association and the California Mathematics Council to recruit and select nominees for the PAEMST program—the highest recognition in the nation for a mathematics or science teacher. The Science Finalists will be recognized at the CSTA Awards Luncheon on Saturday, October 14, 2017. Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Thriving in a Time of Change

Posted: Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

by Jill Grace

By the time this message is posted online, most schools across California will have been in session for at least a month (if not longer, and hat tip to that bunch!). Long enough to get a good sense of who the kids in your classroom are and to get into that groove and momentum of the daily flow of teaching. It’s also very likely that for many of you who weren’t a part of a large grant initiative or in a district that set wheels in motion sooner, this is the first year you will really try to shift instruction to align to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). I’m not going to lie to you, it’s a challenging year – change is hard. Change is even harder when there’s not a playbook to go by.  But as someone who has had the very great privilege of walking alongside teachers going through that change for the past two years and being able to glimpse at what this looks like for different demographics across that state, there are three things I hope you will hold on to. These are things I have come to learn will overshadow the challenge: a growth mindset will get you far, one is a very powerful number, and it’s about the kids. Learn More…

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Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace is a Regional Director for the K-12 Alliance and is President of CSTA.

If You Are Not Teaching Science Then You Are Not Teaching Common Core

Posted: Thursday, August 31st, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn 

“Science and Social Studies can be taught for the last half hour of the day on Fridays”

– Elementary school principal

Anyone concerned with the teaching of science in elementary school is keenly aware of the problem of time. Kids need to learn to read, and learning to read takes time, nobody disputes that. So Common Core ELA can seem like the enemy of science. This was a big concern to me as I started looking at the curriculum that my district had adopted for Common Core ELA. I’ve been through those years where teachers are learning a new curriculum, and know first-hand how a new curriculum can become the focus of attention- sucking all the air out of the room. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Tools for Creating NGSS Standards Based Lessons

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Elizabeth Cooke

Think back on your own experiences with learning science in school. Were you required to memorize disjointed facts without understanding the concepts?

Science Education Background

In the past, science education focused on rote memorization and learning disjointed ideas. Elementary and secondary students in today’s science classes are fortunate now that science instruction has shifted from students demonstrating what they know to students demonstrating how they are able to apply their knowledge. Science education that reflects the Next Generation Science Standards challenges students to conduct investigations. As students explore phenomena and discrepant events they engage in academic discourse guided by focus questions from their teachers or student generated questions of that arise from analyzing data and creating and revising models that explain natural phenomena. Learn More…

Written by Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke

Elizabeth Cooke teaches TK-5 science at Markham Elementary in the Oakland Unified School District, is an NGSS Early Implementer, and is CSTA’s Secretary.

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw


This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region. Learn More…

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.