September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

Region 2, May 2014

Posted: Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

by Eric Lewis

For many of you, summer is nearly here! In the San Francisco Unified School District, our last day is May 30, so we can really feel summer’s approach. As I reviewed all of the amazing events that are happening in our region this month, I realized how many great opportunities there are to get more professional development for your personal science content knowledge AND your classroom pedagogy. This month, we are focusing California Classroom Science on earth and ocean sciences (and physics!). There are so many new and exciting science experiences to have in our region that can support your learning and your students’ experiences in your classroom. Be sure to share relevant opportunities with other teachers, students, and parents.

Don’t forget to encourage your colleagues to join CSTA. I’m hoping that we’ll have the opportunity to grow our organization and expand to meet your needs and your colleague’s needs. To that end, please feel free to email me directly so that I can represent your questions and concerns with the CSTA board as a whole.

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There are many, many science opportunities in the Bay Area. Please visit here to see a year round calendar of events in our area. Some events to remember:

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
California Academy of Sciences, Quarterly free days. The next is June 1st, 2014
Exploratorium, Free Days, Selected days: May 11th, September 28th, October 12th

Star Parties:

Houge Park Star Party, May 2, 9pm–11pm, May 23, 9:15pm-11:15pm
Starry Nights Open Space at Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve, Morgan Hill: May 17th, 9pm – 11pm

Super-cool Science Parties:

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

Highlighted Events in May:

The Cosmic Cocktail: Three Parts Dark Matter
Monday, 5/5/14, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco

The ordinary atoms that make up the known universe, from our bodies and the air we breathe to the planets and stars, constitute only 5% of all matter and energy in the cosmos. The remaining 95% is made up of a recipe of 25% dark matter and 70% dark energy, both nonluminous components whose nature remains a mystery. Speaker Katherine Freese will recount the hunt for dark matter, from the discoveries of visionary scientists like Fritz Zwicky, the Swiss astronomer who coined the term “dark matter” in 1933, to the deluge of data today from underground laboratories, satellites in space, and the Large Hadron Collider. Theorists contend that dark matter consists of fundamental particles known as WIMPs, or weakly interacting massive particles. Billions of them pass through our bodies every second without us even realizing it, yet their gravitational pull is capable of whirling stars and gas at breakneck speeds around the centers of galaxies, and bending light from distant bright objects. In this talk Freese will provide an overview of this cosmic cocktail, including the evidence for the existence of dark matter in galaxies. Many cosmologists believe we are on the verge of solving this mystery and this talk will provide the foundation needed to fully fathom this epochal moment in humankind’s quest to understand the universe.

Speaker: Katherine Freese, Professor of Physics, University of Michigan
Cost: $12 General, $8 Members, $10 Seniors
For more information, visit their website, email info@calacademy.org or call (415) 379-8000.

The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present and Future of Rising Sea Levels
Monday, 5/12/14, 8:00 PM
Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts, 500 Castro Street, Mountain View

Trained as an archaeologist and anthropologist, Brian Fagan’s interests have shifted in recent years to an historical investigation of climate change and rising sea levels. His latest book, The Attacking Ocean: The Past, Present and Future of Rising Sea Levels, describes how earlier societies adapted to rising water and how the increase in sea levels today impacts the lives of city dwellers and farmers around the world.

Individual tickets available 2/1. Click here for series ticket information.
Cost: $22
For more information, visit their website, email here or call 650-903-6000.

The Golden Shore – California’s Love Affair with the Sea

Tuesday, 5/20/14, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Bay Model Visitors Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito

The Golden Shore has also been named one of the ‘10 Best Literary Travel Books of 2013′ by Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association.

The Pacific Ocean significantly defined California’s storied history, from the San Francisco Bay to Monterrey to San Diego. Helvarg will discuss how Californians have related to the Pacific over time through commerce, national defense, energy and exploration. Helvarg will trace California’s progress from a late maritime frontier where people exploited and polluted the ocean to a world leader in coastal protection, marine science, innovation and wildlife restoration, and will discuss how – or if – the modern California model for living well by the sea can be exported around the world. In addition to being an award-winning author, Helvarg is the founder of the ocean conservation group Blue Frontier.

Speaker: David Helvarg, Author
Cost:$5 recommended donation towards student research grants
For more information call (415) 332-3871 or visit their website.

Written by Eric Lewis

Eric Lewis

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office.

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LATEST POST

CSTA Is Now Accepting Nominations for Board Members

Posted: Friday, November 17th, 2017

Current, incoming, and outgoing CSTA Board of Directors at June 3, 2017 meeting.

Updated 7:25 pm, Nov. 17, 2017

It’s that time of year when CSTA is looking for dedicated and qualified persons to fill the upcoming vacancies on its Board of Directors. This opportunity allows you to help shape the policy and determine the path that the Board will take in the new year. There are time and energy commitments, but that is far outweighed by the personal satisfaction of knowing that you are an integral part of an outstanding professional educational organization, dedicated to the support and guidance of California’s science teachers. You will also have the opportunity to help CSTA review and support legislation that benefits good science teaching and teachers.

Right now is an exciting time to be involved at the state level in the California Science Teachers Association. The CSTA Board of Directors is currently involved in implementing the Next Generations Science Standards and its strategic plan. If you are interested in serving on the CSTA Board of Directors, now is the time to submit your name for consideration. 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.

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.