August 2015 – Vol. 27 No. 12

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.

Leave a Reply

LATEST POST

Where California K-12 Science Teachers Go for NGSS

Posted: Friday, August 14th, 2015

RegisterNowMedNow is the time to register for the 2015 California Science Education Conference presented by the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA).  Attending the CSTA 2015 conference is a great way to gain professional development, and network with other science teachers from across the state, and obtain new classroom ideas, in one place over three days!

The California Science Education Conference is your best source of information on implementing NGSS in your classroom.

The California Science Teachers Association hosts this conference to focus on what California science educators need to know to hone their craft, stay updated on standards, and apply best practices gleaned from experts throughout the state. 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.

What Is the Role of Lecture in NGSS?

Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

by Peter A’Hearn

Is there a role for lecture in NGSS classrooms? Anyone who has spent much time working on the NGSS knows that NGSS is learner centered, more about helping students to develop the tools to investigate the world than about teachers supplying knowledge. The traditional teaching style of the teacher talking and students taking notes seems to be opposite of this vision.

This vision is supported by research indicating that traditional lecture is not an effective way to teach science. Nobel Prize winning physicist Dr. Carl Wieman makes a strong case against lecture as a way to teach science.  Click here to read a summary of his findings. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Middle School Integrated Science – Getting Over It!

Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

by Peter A’Hearn

6th graders design bionic hands as they study how body systems work together in a unit that was moved to 6th grade this year- photo by Peter A’Hearn

6th graders design bionic hands as they study how body systems work together in a unit that was moved to 6th grade this year- photo by Peter A’Hearn

Last spring I wrote an article/blog post that addressed the growing discussion about the decision to teach middle school integrated or discipline specific science. The article gives the rationale for the change and also some different models that were considered for how to transition.

There was a lot of feedback to that post: strongly supportive, deeply skeptical, and many follow up questions. Now that Palm Springs USD has finished the first year of the transition, I thought it would be a good time to look back and see how it went.

The middle school teacher leaders who helped to make the decision chose the “fast” transition plan below. Year 2 was what we just finished. 6th grade teachers (and kids) were introduced to structure and function in living things. 7th graders tried chemistry for the first time, and 8th graders played with waves. Everyone tried a little (or a lot) of engineering. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Staying Connected by Volunteering

Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

by Lisa Hegdahl

As an 8th grade science teacher in a district that is participating in the CA NGSS Early Implementation Initiative, I spent much of my summer break training with members of other Early Implementer districts (see NGSS Blog- Middle School Integrated Science- Getting Over It! By Peter A’hearn. Just as our students want to feel connected to each other (see Starting the School Year Right, by Joanne Michael) teachers also seek opportunities to connect and collaborate with other educators – even more so now with NGSS implementation actively happening in California. Perhaps connecting with others is the reason why, this year, the California Science Teachers Association had a record number of its members volunteer to serve on its committees. Teachers know that we are stronger when we come together to overcome our challenges. Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl

Lisa Hegdahl is an 8th grade science teacher at McCaffrey Middle School in Galt, CA and is President for CSTA.

Where to Go in Sacramento: Field Courses for the CSTA Conference

Posted: Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

by Peter A’Hearn

When it comes to conferences I’m pretty much a workshop guy. You get lots of great ideas in a short time, lots of choices, and you are hearing it straight from teachers. But looking at the field studies being offered at the 2015 California Education Conference in Sacramento this October, I’m thinking I might just spend the whole conference learning science on the amazing field courses being offered.

Here are your choices:

AHearn_Field_Course_Photo_1The Science in Your Beer: Chemistry, Microbiology, and Sensory Analysis at Sudwerk Brewery – Visit with the scientists at the UC Davis Brewing Program, the yeast geeks at White Labs, and the brewers of Sudwerk Brewery to learn about the biochemistry and microbiology that goes into the beer you love to drink. We will share NGSS aligned activities (classroom appropriate) on reaction rate and population biology. You will also explore the chemistry of beer flavor and learn how to make taste testing scientifically rigorous! Learn More…

Powered By DT Author Box

Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.