May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

CSTA Region 2 Events for November, 2014

Posted: Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

by Minda Berbeco

CSTA’s Region 2 includes: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Solano Counties.

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

Highlighted Events in November:

Dynamics and Diagnosis of Tick-Borne Diseases in a Changing Landscape
Tuesday, 11/4/14 12-1pm
Sonoma State University – Biology Colloquium, Rohnert Park
Speaker: Dr. Andrea Zwei, Department of Biology, San Francisco State University
For more information, visit their website

Lakes, Fans, Deltas, and Streams: Geomorphic Constraints on the Hydrologic History of Gale Crater, Mars
Tuesday, 11/4/14 12-1pm
SETI Institute Colloquium Series, Mountain View
It has been proposed that in Gale Crater, where the Curiosity rover landed in August 2012, lakes developed to various depths after the large central mound (informally referred to as Mt. Sharp) had evolved to a form close to its current topography. Using a combination of CTX and HiRISE imagery and CTX, HiRISE and HRSC topography, we have documented a sequence of rising and falling lake levels, thereby providing a possible relative timeline of the hydrologic events within Gale crater.
For more information, visit their website

The Birth of Suns
Sunday, 11/8/14 8pm
San Jose Astronomical Society
We normally think of space as empty, but it’s not. The space between the stars in our Galaxy contains, on average, about 1 atom per cubic centimeter. That’s a better vacuum than the best vacuum chamber we know how to make, but there are a lot of cubic centimeters in interstellar space, and the mass between the stars of our Galaxy adds up to about 10% of the mass of all the stars. It is from this interstellar medium that new stars are continually born, at a rate of about 1 new Sun per year. In this talk I will describe our current understanding of the gas in interstellar space, and how and why it condenses to make new stars.
For more information, visit their website

30 Ways to Be a Shorebird
Tuesday, 11/11/14 7-9pm
St. Albans Parish Hall, Albany
The Bay hosts an ever-changing array of 30 different species of shorebirds, living by the seasons and tides, moving and feeding in patterns that reflect their physical attributes. Meet these fascinating, varied, and beautiful neighbors – some stay-at-home, some from half a world away – in a talk by Bay Area birding teacher and leader Rusty Scalf. Rusty also will discuss how the Bay’s shorebird populations are likely to have changed through the past, how they seem to be changing now, and what the future may hold.
For more information, visit their website

Hayward Fault Walking Tour
Saturday, 11/15/14 9:30-11am
Fremont Earthquake Exhibit, Fremont CA
Over the last million years, the natural beauty of Fremont has been shaped by the Hayward Fault. Instructors will be leading these ‘ground breaking’ tours and exposing the science and beauty of the Hayward Fault. This fault is one of several active faults in the world actually creeping at 5 mm/year. The tour will take place at Central Park (Lake Elizabeth) and explores dramatic faulting effects in both natural and urban environments. Even view the floor of a building that reveals dramatic evidence of this fault activity. (Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult) Tours begin at the Fremont Community Center. Cost: $15
For more information, visit our website

Northern California Bats: Demystifying and Discovering these Amazing Animals
Saturday, 11/15/14 10-2pm
UC Botanical Garden, Berkeley
Come learn about the local bats with Director of NorCal Bats Corky Quirk. In her presentation you will learn about bats and discuss the harmful myths that surround these animals. You’ll also learn the importance of bats in our environment. Live bats will be presented for viewing and discussion.
For more information, visit their website

Up the Ladder: Women Pursuing Careers in Science and Technology
Monday, 11/17/14 6pm
Commonwealth Club, San Francisco
How and why do women decide to pursue careers in science and technology? What is the reaction of their family, friends, teachers and others? This panel of three women at three different points in their careers – early, middle and advanced – will discuss the experiences that have supported and challenged their career pursuits. Come learn from their stories and hear ideas about how to attract more women to areas of science where they are still greatly under-represented, such as engineering and mathematics.
For more information, visit their website

Climate Change and Physiological Genomics
Tuesday, 11/18/1412-1pm
Sonoma State University – Biology Colloquium
Speaker: Dr. Sean Place Department of Biology, Sonoma State University
For more information, visit their website

Fall Colors
Tuesday, 11/18/14 7pm
Fremont Main Library, Fremont
Learn about why leaves change their color. Explore the different types of plants and why some do not change color.  Compare different types of trees in Fremont.
 Reading: The Colors of Fall.
For more information, visit their website

The Extreme Life of the Sea
Wednesday, 11/19/14 6:30pm
Romberg Tiburon Center, Tiburon
Speaker: Stephen Palumbi, Director, Hopkins Marine Station
For more information, visit their website

Science Saturday: Monarch Magic
Saturday, 11/29/14 11-3pm
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
Welcome the monarch butterflies back to Pacific Grove! Create a monarch chrysalis pin, view live butterflies, explore the Museum’s Monarchs Come Home exhibition, and get your face painted while you discover what makes our monarch butterflies special. Special guests will provide even more activities, music, and information. Join us for a day filled with monarch magic!
For more information, visit their website

And coming up in January…

The Stanford Brain Bee
The Stanford Brain Bee will take place on Saturday, January 10, 2015 on Stanford campus. This is a local qualifying round of the International Brain Bee (IBB), a neuroscience competition exclusively for high school students ages 14-18. The Stanford Brain Bee involves both a written component and a live oral Q&A session. In addition to the competition, students will have the opportunity to attend a presentation by a Stanford neuroscientist and speak with Stanford professors and students from the medical, biosciences, and neuroscience fields. There is no charge to register and compete.

The IBB motivates students to learn about the brain, captures their imaginations, and inspires them to pursue neuroscience careers in order to help treat and find cures for neurological and psychological disorders. There are currently about 150 Local Brain Bee coordinators in 30 countries worldwide that conduct competitions annually. The winner of each Local Bee is invited to attend the National Brain Bee (NBB) competition in his or her own country, and the winner of each NBB is invited to compete in the International Brain Bee Championship.  Click here for details

Written by Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco was the Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education and is now the Director of the Sierra Club San Francisco Chapter.

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

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