September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Events in Region 1

Posted: Thursday, November 1st, 2012

by Valerie Joyner

GEMS Electric Circuits
November 3, 2012
8:30 a.m. –3:00 p.m.
SMUD’s (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) Energy & Technology Center,
6301 “S” St., Sacramento
Grades 4-8 or
Teachers will be lead through the GEMS (Great Experiences in Math and Science) Electric Circuits unit to further their understanding of electricity and electrical circuits.

Sonoma County Spring Science Showcase (May 14, 2013)
Informational Meeting
November 7, 2012
4:00 p.m. -5:00 p.m.
Sonoma County Office of Education
5340 Skylane Blvd., Santa Rosa
Grades 4-12  re: Spring Science Showcase
Sonoma County will host the first Spring Science Showcase for students who did not participate in the county’s Science Fair.  Learn how your students can participate in this event May 14, 2013. 

GEMS Hot Water, Warm Homes for Sunlight
November 14, 2012
4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
SMUD’s (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) Energy & Technology Center,
6301 “S” St., Sacramento
Grades 4-8 or
Teachers will learn about the GEMS (Great Experiences in Math and Science) Hot Water, Warm Homes for Sunlight unit through activities to understand that harnessing sunlight goes beyond solar electricity. Activities emphasize the effects of size, color, and numbers/types of windows in a home.

PG&E’s Bright Ideas Grants
November 16, 2012 deadline for submission
$1,000. – $10,000 grants to promote environmental stewardship.

Project WET
November 27&28, 2012
4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
SMUD’s (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) Energy & Technology Center,
6301 “S” St., Sacramento
Grades 4-8 or
Teachers will learn about Project WET, which engages students in learning about water resources water, water conservation, and related science concepts.  Participants will receive the new Project WET 2.0 guide.

Future Events and Deadlines:

San Francisco International Ocean Film Festival Student Competition (March 2013)
January 14, 2013 deadline for submission
Middle and high school students

Sonoma County Science Fair

February 23, 2013
Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park   re: science fair
Handbook and forms available at
Contact Mike Roa for additional information

Sonoma County Science Olympiad
March 27, 2013
Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park
Handbook and forms available at
Contact Mike Roa for additional information   re: science olympiad

Science Education in Sonoma County
By Mike Roa

Mike Roa, the Science Consultant for the Sonoma County Office of Education, would like for all Sonoma County CSTA members to be aware of the Grapevine, the science and environmental education newsletter for all schools in the county. The Grapevine is emailed monthly around the first of each month and contains information about resources, professional development and funding opportunities, and other science-related information.

Mike would also like to know if Sonoma County CSTA members would like to meet to discuss ways to improve and support science education in Sonoma County.

If you are interested in any of the above, contact Mike at

Written by Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner

Valerie Joyner is a retired elementary science educator and is a member of CSTA.

Leave a Reply


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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.