December 2014 – Vol. 27 No. 4

News and Events in Region 2

Posted: Monday, August 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

It’s unbelievable that August is already upon us. In San Francisco Unified, school starts in just two weeks; so much for summer!

As you are all gearing up for the coming school year, take some time to think about what parts of your curriculum you’re hoping to improve and what parts of your curriculum you’re going to throw away! I know we are all guilty of reusing some of our old activities and labs – and we should, since much of it is great. That said it’s our duty as teachers to meet the needs of our students. Sometimes that means putting ourselves into situations where we’re the learners and our students are the experts.

When possible - and appropriate - use some new technology in your classroom. I’m not just talking about using a video projector or a document viewer. I mean to actually create an assessment for students based on a video that they created. KQED QUEST’s media-making toolkit could help out with planning this kind of thing! Or, have students participate in creating blogs or in making slideshows to illustrate their knowledge. Of course, our schools provide us with only so much allowance for materials, and we only have so many computer labs to use…but, how are we going to create the learners, problem solvers and creative thinkers of tomorrow if we’re still assessing students on facts and skills that are based on last year’s (or last century’s) technology?

Please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our region’s offerings! Also, 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.

Good luck with the start of your school year! I look forward to seeing you all down in Pasadena for our next CSTA conference from October 21 – 23!

Eric Lewis, lewise2@sfusd.edu


Fintastic! Sharks Program at SF Main Library w/ QUEST
Tuesday, August 02, 2011 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm at the SF Public Library Main Branch

QUEST’s Emmy-award winning “Great White Shark: Meet the Man in the Gray Suit” will be screening at the SF Public Library as a part of a special program put together by Kati Schmidt, at the Aquarium of the Bay. Chris Bauer, the producer of the segment, will be a panelist. He’ll also be at the kids program.

Aquarium of the Bay’s Fintastic! Shark Discovery Program
Tuesday, August 2: Main Library Branch Special Program!

  • 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Kids programming at the Children’s Center
  • 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm: Film screening and discussion surrounding threats to sharks and Assembly Bill, AB 376

Museums on Us® Weekend at the Chabot Space & Science Center
Through Chabot’s participation in the Museums on Us® program, Bank of America Cardholders receive free admission during the first full weekend of every month (August 6 and 7). Present your valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card at the Visitor Services desk for one free admission.

  1. Each Bank of America cardholder is allowed one free general admission on any eligible MOU day.
  2. Admission is non-transferable and for the cardholder only.
  3. Any valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card is acceptable. Photo ID is required along with the card.
  4. The program applies only to the first full weekend (consecutive Saturday and Sunday) of every month
  5. Not to be combined with other offers

Exploratorium Free Day
There is always free admission to the Exploratorium on the first Wednesday of each month (August 3); however, due to capacity limits, groups of 10 or more are required to make reservations or will not be admitted.  The Exploratorium is located in San Francisco in the landmark Palace of Fine Arts building in San Francisco’s Marina district, off Highway 101 near the Golden Gate Bridge.


Enjoy Nature in the Bay Area – go on a hike!
There are so many amazing places to hike in the bay area. Check out these websites to get inspired!

http://www.bahiker.com/kids.html

http://sanfrancisco.about.com/od/environmentnature/tp/Free-Nature-Walks-in-SF.htm

http://www.ebparks.org/node/58

http://www.bahiker.com/northbayhikes/ringmountain.html (this is one of my personal favorites up in Marin!)


Free EXCELLENT Science Lessons and Other Resources
If you’re hoping to add a few new labs or activities this year, be sure to check out SEP Lessons. This is a great free resource that is maintained by SEP at UCSF and has contributions from many teachers and scientists.


Also, be sure to check out the Exploratorium’s Educator Resources. The Exploratorium is always adding on new resources so you never know what you’ll be able to find. Check out one of my personal favorites: The Secret Lives of Flowers.

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office and is CSTA region 2 director.

Written by Eric Lewis

Eric Lewis

Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office and is CSTA region 2 director.

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Who Else Wants to Share Their Great Idea?

Posted: Friday, December 12th, 2014

by Lisa Hegdahl

Colleagues Helping Colleagues

I have been to so many California Science Education Conferences over the years that I cannot be certain which ideas I obtained in which year, but I do know that most of what my lesson plans contain came from ideas I acquired at those conferences.  Destroying Water, Domino Derby, Student Periodic Squares, Buggy Car Physics, Valence Shell Ping Pong Balls, Vinegar/Baking Soda Conservation of Matter, Stellar Distances, just to name a few, were all given to me by colleagues that were willing to take the time to share a piece of their classrooms.

Your Great Idea

You know you have it.  That lesson that never fails to engage students at a high level of learning; that teaching strategy that works every time; or that technology application that brought your classroom into the 21st century.  Why keep it to yourself?  Share it with your colleagues at the California Science Education Conference, October 2-4, 2015 in Sacramento.  CSTA is now accepting workshop and short course proposals from classroom teachers, informal educators, university professors, education professionals, and other members of the education community.  Sharing our best practices with each other helps to make high quality Science education a reality for all students in California. Learn More…

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Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is president-elect of CSTA.

The E Word

Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

by Jill Grace

There’s so much excitement lately in the world of NGSS. There is an energy I haven’t felt since I was a new teacher. It’s palpable. Teachers are once again the learners, outside our comfort zones trekking along a new path, making new discoveries, trying new things. Some of these new experiences are fantastic and fill us with a new sense of purpose and inspiration. Some end up being things we profusely apologize to our students for, “Sorry guys, that pretty much didn’t work out at all, let’s try this instead”. No doubt this is an exhaustive process, mentally and even sometimes physically, and on some days we might wish we could crawl up on our couches under that super fluffy blanket (insert comforting beverage of your choice) and forget that change is upon us. But it’s also exhilarating. It makes you feel alive again.

Given all of the changes, I have been feeling pretty comfortable. I thrive in “big idea land” and love weaving multiple layers into my instruction, so the whole 3D aspect to NGSS is gratifying to me (3D = the blending of Science and Engineering Practices, Disciplinary Core Ideas, and Cross Cutting Concepts). I love the challenge of getting my students to the point where they have their “ah ha!” moment and see it all come together. With my background in marine biology, a very “integrated” field, I’ve had an easier time wrapping my head around the middle school progressions and seeing the connections in a way that I can tell is harder for many of my colleagues. I’ve been feeling pretty great about it all. Except for one tiny little thing.

Engineering. Learn More…

Written by Jill Grace

Jill Grace

Jill Grace teaches 7th grade science at Palos Verdes Intermediate School and is the Middle School/Jr. High Director for CSTA.

Season’s Greetings

Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

by Laura Henriques

Happy December! I am exhausted but really happy after the Long Beach Conference. It was great to see so many CSTA members! With more than 5,200 people in attendance (most from California), this was one of the biggest NSTA regional conferences ever. Sessions were packed, some to the point of overflowing. I applaud NSTA’s efforts to extend the conference into Saturday afternoon and I thank the conference presenters who were willing to repeat their workshop on Saturday. (To get handouts from the sessions please visit the NSTA Conference site, browse sessions and select the session(s) of interest. If the presenter has uploaded handouts you will find them posted with the session information.) Learn More…

Written by Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques

Laura Henriques is a professor of science education at CSU Long Beach and president of CSTA.

CSTA Night at the Aquarium – A Good Time Was Had by All!

Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

by Jill Grace and Laura Henriques

Close to 700 science educators enjoyed an evening of Science, Engineering and STEM at the Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific on Thursday, December 4th. This great CSTA event was co-hosted by Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific and CSTA and sponsored by Chevron.

In addition to having the entire aquarium to ourselves, there were five scientists who gave talks, two dozen table-top STEM/Engineering showcase presentations and the LBAOP’s Science on a Sphere. After eating dinner, glowstick-clad attendees visited the penguins, jellies, and other exhibits representing marine life of the pacific. 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.

Support CSTA and Take the Deduction on Your 2014 Taxes

Posted: Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

by Jessica Sawko

CSTA is so fortunate to have so many hard-working and dedicated members. CSTA membership dues support the production and distribution of this newsletter, CSTA’s state-level policy activities, including NGSS implementation activities, the CSTA website, and a small portion of dues go to support our state-level legislative activities. 2014 is a special year for CSTA, as it marks the 50th anniversary of the filing to CSTA’s Articles of Incorporation. Many volunteer leaders were involved in that process 50 years ago and to this day it is volunteers that do much of the work of CSTA.

CSTA is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and accepts donations to support our leadership programs, such as our leadership event held at the annual conference and designed to help nurture, inspire, and support California’s emerging leaders in science education.

As the end of the year approaches and you consider making contributions to charities and non-profits that support you and your values as a science educator, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to CSTA’s 50th anniversary fund. This fund was established at the beginning of 2014 and the monies donated to this fund support CSTA’s leadership development program. Donors who donate $50 or more will receive a commemorative 50th anniversary pin. Donations to this fund are tax deductible (please check with your tax-preparation specialist). Click here to donate online today.

If a donation to CSTA’s 50th anniversary fund is not a match for you this year, I hope you will consider supporting CSTA as you shop for holiday gifts (and year-round). Learn More…

Written by Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko

Jessica Sawko is CSTA’s Executive Director.