September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

Events for February 2014

Posted: Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

Free Entry Days at:

Bay Area Discovery Museum, First Wednesday of the month
UC Botanical Gardens, First Thursday of the month
Oakland Museum of California, First Sunday of the month

Super-cool Science Parties and Lectures:

Nerd Nite East Bay, Last Monday of the month

Nerd Nite San Francisco, Third Wednesday of the month

Night Life, Thursdays, 6-10 pm, at the California Academy of Sciences

After Dark, First Thursday of the month, 6-10 pm, at the Exploratorium

Café Inquiry, First Thursday of the month, 6pm, at Café Borrone, Menlo Park

Highlighted Events in February:

Bird Walk Hike at Lake Merritt in Oakland

Saturday, 2/07 & 2/17 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Lake Merritt, Oakland

January is the perfect time to observe wintering waterfowl. Join the Lindsay Wildlife Museum for a morning of birding with experienced birdwatchers from the Mt Diablo Audubon Society. Bring your binoculars and learn how to tell the difference between a tern and a gull. Bird walk hike will be at Oakland’s Lake Merritt. Map and directions will be sent after registration is completed.

Click here to register online

Salamander Search – Family Science Safari at YSI

Saturday, 2/07 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Sanborn Science and Nature Center

Unravel the secrets of our unique newt population among the redwoods of the Santa Cruz Mountains! Join us at the YSI Garden in Sanborn County Park to meet and touch some of our native Animal Ambassadors. Learn what they look and feel like, decipher their camouflage, and discover how to spot them in the wild. Then we’ll venture into the newt’s ecosystem to try to locate these and other native animals in their natural habitat.
To register online visit our website

An Evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson

Tuesday, 2/10 07:30 PM

Orpheum Theater, SF

Join us for an evening with Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson, award winning- astrophysicist, author, and host of FOX’s Cosmos for an evening of engaging conversation on science, exploration and the world as we know it.

Click here for more information:

AAAS Family Science Days

Saturday & Sunday, 2/14 – 2/15

San Jose Convention Center

Explore interactive science exhibits, learn about cool science jobs, and have your questions answered by scientists! Family Science Days are FREE and open to all, and features hands-on demos, shows, talks by scientists, and other activities appropriate for K-12 children and their families. This free community science showcase is brought to you by AAAS, in partnership with the Bay Area Science Festival. The event also features a broad range of educators and scientists engaging the public in current science topics.

Click here for more information

Low Tide Walk

Saturday, 2/14 12:30 PM – 02:30 PM

Marine Science Institute

MSI takes to the tidepools for a treasure hunt of nature’s beautiful intertidal secrets. We’ll spend our time taking advantage of the low tide to reach the outer edges of Pillar Point, while taking in spectacular vantages as we slowly retreat to shore. Will we find crabs, sea stars, eels an octopus!? This is a great all-ages, family event. Space tends to fill up for these events quickly, so please RSVP soon.

For more information, click here

Fragile Waters

Tuesday, 2/24 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM

Bay Model Visitors Center

There’s one chance to save the Southern Resident killer whales from extinction and that moment is right now. Blaine residents and documentary filmmakers Rick Wood and Shari Macy teamed-up with Orca Network to create a groundbreaking documentary film about the resident orcas, Chinook salmon and the environment they live in. The film tells the untold story about the decline of both the killer whales and Chinook salmon in the Salish Sea. Through interviews with the world’s leading orca experts, fishermen, hatchery 

Speakers: Rick Wood and Shari Macy, Producers

For more information,  click here

5 Tools You Can Use to Find the Elusive Gray Fox

Saturday, 2/28 2:00 PM – 3:30 AM

Don Edwards Refuge Headquarters & Visitors Center

Do you sometimes see paw prints in mud, or scat (poop) on the trails and assume that a dog left it? It could be from something else. Come along with me and I will show you how to distinguish and identify the markings of a gray fox. Gain some insights into the fox’s nature and their behavior during the walk. By the time we are through, you will have a set of “tools” you can use to identify the presence of foxes in any area that you are in. Bring a hat, binoculars, and good walking shoes.  Led by Bill Leikam, the Fox Guy.

Written by Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco is the Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education and is CSTA’s Region 2 Director.

Leave a Reply


California Science Assessment Update

Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.

At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at 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.

Some ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in your classroom

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

by Carol Peterson

1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. 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.

2016 Award Recipients – Join CSTA in Honoring Their Accomplishments

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference  on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!

Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

John Keller

John Keller

The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” 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.

NGSS: Making Your Life Easier

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Peter A’hearn

Wait… What?

NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?

The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Celestial Highlights, September 2016

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt 

Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.