September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Events in December 2014 and early January 2015 in CSTA’s Region 2

Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

by Minda Berbeco

Opportunities abound in CSTA’s Region 2, which includes Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, and Solano counties.

Mid-Late December 2014:

Kitchen Chemistry: The Science Of Food
Saturday, 12/13/14 3-4pm
Chabot Space and Science Center
Everyone’s a chemist in the kitchen! It’s time to play with your food and explore the microbiology, nanoscience, physics, and chemistry of the edibles we love.  Enjoy demonstrations and hands-on experiments on everyday treats and ingredients – from yogurt to yeast, oobleck to ice cream! For more information, visit their website at: https://14884.blackbaudhosting.com/14884/page.aspx?pid=196&tab=2&txobjid=c245e802-3550-49eb-b1dd-1a840aa1061d

The Science of (Holiday) Light Walking Tour (Preview tour)

Sunday, 12/14/14 6:30-8pm
Dolores Park
Join us on this festive trek and gain a new appreciation for some of the city’s most spectacular light displays. We’ll stroll along San Francisco stairways, side streets, and scenic vistas, admiring the local holiday handiwork while doing experiments with color mixing and animation, and talking about light. Learn about the history of holiday lights, enjoy some seasonal treats, and bask in the glow that lights the winter’s night. For more information, visit their website at: http://www.discoverystreettours.com/

It’s Ptough to be a Pteropod!
Saturday, 12/20/14 1-2:30pm
Bay Model Visitors Center
Visitors will measure and observe changing chemistry in an ocean-like environment, explore the complex food web, and discuss potential solutions to slow that change. Target Audience: 4th grade and up. For more information, visit their website at:
http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/BayModelVisitorCenter.aspx

Early January 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

Point Reyes National Seashore Fungus Fair
Sunday, 01/04/15 10:00 AM – 04:00 PM
Point Reyes National Seashore
Mushrooms will be on display at the Bear Valley Visitor Center. Visitors are invited to attend free lectures in the auditorium.
For more information, visit their website at: http://www.bayareamushrooms.org/calendar.html

Introduction to the Next Generation Science Standards:  A Paradigm Shift in Teaching and Learning
Wednesday, 01/07/15, 8:30 am – 3:00 pm
Solano County Office of Education (Fairfield)
This full-day workshop will highlight the many shifts required of both teachers and learners under the Next Generation Science Standards.  In the morning session, participants will engage in an overview of the NGSS and its Three Dimensions.  During the afternoon sessions, participants will be invited to experience either a K-5 or 6-12 session.  Each of these sessions will further explore the NGSS with an emphasis on the impact it will have within K-5 and 6-12 classrooms. http://www.cascd.org/event-calendar/ngss—fairfield—1_7_15.php

Bird Walk Hike at Lake Merritt in Oakland
Saturday, 01/10/15 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Lindsay Wildlife Museum
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. To register online: http://wildlife-museum.org/cart/registration/4108
For more information, visit their website at: http://wildlife-museum.org/

The Venus Fly trap and other Amazing Carnivorous Plants
Saturday, 01/10/15 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
UC Botanical Garden
John Bartram was the first to introduce the Venus Fly Trap into cultivation. Family members of all age are invited to discover some of the fascinating and beautiful plants that can eat insects. Get up close with the amazing leaf adaptations as you learn more
about them.
For more information, visit their website at: http://events.berkeley.edu/index.php/calendar/sn/bot.html?event_ID=83269&date=2015-01-10

2015 Stanford Brain Bee
Saturday, 01/10/15 12:00 PM – 05:00 PM
Hewlett Teaching Center Stanford University
The Stanford Brain Bee 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.

The IBB motivates students to learn about the brain, captures their imagination, 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.

Deadline to register December 27, 2014. More details at http://oso.stanford.edu/programs/125-stanford-brain-bee

For more information, visit their website at: http://oso.stanford.edu/programs/125-stanford-brain-bee

Groundwater: California’s Real Buried Gold
Tuesday, 01/13/15 7:00 PM – 09:00 PM
St. Albans Parish Hall, Albany
California stores far more water than falls as rain or snow, or can be held in reservoirs. But this hidden treasure has been treated first-come, winner-take-all. California’s new Sustainable Groundwater Management Act and just-passed Proposition 1 bring opportunities to use groundwater more wisely. Environmental attorney Tina Cannon Leahy, Principal Consultant to the California Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife, and the Assembly’s primary water law and policy expert, outlines the value and complexity of groundwater, along with opportunities.

For more information, visit their website at: http://www.fivecreeks.org/calendar.shtml

Check back in early January 2015 for more!

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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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

Cal

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.