September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

News and Events in Region 2

Posted: Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

by Eric Lewis

While the glow from being around over 1,400 science teachers from across California is still pretty bright, I’m finding myself missing Pasadena and the myriad workshops that I didn’t get to attend.  If you’re like me, you might be wondering about all the things that you missed.  Well, be sure to continue looking under the science conference tab on the CSTA homepage.  If you click on the Sessions with Handouts you will be able to access some of the resources that were created and used for the conference.  Sure it would have been better to see the workshop in person, but I’ll take whatever I can get.

Upon returning to the Bay Area, I was greeted with more and more news about the Bay Area Science Festival.  Just in case you missed this announcement last month, the science festival will span 10 days – it started on October 29 – and will incorporate science and technology activities throughout the entire Bay Area from Santa Rosa to San Jose.  There will be all sorts of science events from lectures, debates and exhibitions, to concerts, plays, workshops, and even a science-themed pub-crawl in the Mission District of San Francisco (really, there will something for EVERYONE).  The festival’s FREE grand finale will be at AT&T Park in San Francisco on Sunday, November 6, 11:00 am to 4:00 pm.  There will be over 170 hands-on interactive science activities for students, families and the community at large to enjoy.  For the complete program schedule visit  Kudos to UCSF for choreographing this awesome series of science events!

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.

Eric Lewis,

Events in Region 2:

SFPUC Lunchtime Talk: Introduction to Residential Graywater Systems in San Francisco
Thursday, November 17, 12:00 pm -1:00 pm
1155 Market St, 6th Floor Conference Room

Don’t let good water go to waste! Come learn about the potential to reuse graywater in your San Francisco landscape. Local expert Laura Allen will give an overview of where and when to install residential graywater systems for outdoor irrigation.  The presentation will cover laundry-to-landscape and branched drain systems, as well as more complex systems.  To learn more about the SFPUC’s graywater programs:

To RSVP for the lunchtime talk, send an e-mail to: Please note that this is a brownbag presentation. You will need to bring your own lunch.

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Open House

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Alex Pitcher Room
Southeast Community Facility
1800 Oakdale, San Francisco

Thursday, November 17, 2011
6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Mission Bay Visitor Center
255 Channel, San Francisco

Each Open House will present information so that you can:

  • Learn about local water supply planning and how recycled water helps sustain our city.
  • Find out about your role in helping shape the eastside recycled water project.
  • Be eligible for a door prize.

Watershed Tool Workshop

SFPUC is again sponsoring a workshop geared towards teaching teachers, educators, and parents hands-on activities, art projects and scientific investigations they can use with children to learn about our watershed and pollution prevention at home and at school.

Name: Watershed Tool Workshop
Hosted by: The Watershed Project
Sponsored by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
When: Saturday, November 5, 2011, 9am-4pm
Where: Alice Fong Yu Alternative School
1541 12th Ave, San Francisco 94122
Cost: Free!
Registration, call (510) 269-7TWP

UC Landscape Architecture Environmental Program lecture series

All talks are on Monday evenings, beginning at 6:30pm in Room 112 Wurster Hall.
November 7, 2011: “Community, Sustainability, and Public Space: Urban Design after the Arab Spring” – Amir Gohar, Urbanics, Cairo.
December 5, 2011: “The Inclusive City:  Planning Policy and Design Solutions” – Dan Iacofano, MIG, Berkeley

Annual Creeks and Watershed Conference
This year’s conference is titled “Healthy Creeks/Vibrant Bay”.

The conference will take place on November 5, 2011 and with run from 8:00 am – 3:30 pm. It will be held in the beautiful conference room at Linkedin in Mountain View at 2025 Stierlin Court, Building 3.

During the conference, the Creek Advocate of the Year award will be presented to Florence & Phillip LaRaviere  and the Watershed Steward of the Year award will be presented to David Lane.

The keynote speaker will be The Honorable Sally Lieber, former State Assembly Member for the 22nd District & Candidate for State Senate.

Talks this year include two panel discussions relating to Creeks and the San Francisco Bay and an update on the status of Steelhead in the South Bay area.

Special guests include: Ron Blatman from KQED’s Special, “Saving the Bay” & Sam Schuchat, Executive Officer of the State of California Coastal Conservancy.

Advanced Registration is now open for the event which is FREE but we do suggest a donation of $10.00 this year to help us with the cost of lunch.

Heron’s Head Park
Upcoming workday is November 12, 2011.

The activities will last from 9:00 am-12:00 pm and may include planting, weeding, and general care of HHP.  All tools and safety gear are provided. Please wear layered clothing that can get dirty and don’t forget a refillable canteen for water.

The Bay Area Science Festival: Unleash Your Inner Scientist
The Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP) at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) is pleased to lead the inaugural Bay Area Science Festival, whose mission is to engage Bay Area residents in a region-wide celebration of its scientific wonders, resources, and opportunities by exploring the role of science, engineering, and technology locally and in the world!  The 10 day festival, scheduled October 29 – November 6, will provide a wide range of science and technology activities – lectures, debates, exhibitions, concerts, plays, workshops, etc. – at a variety of locations throughout the Bay Area.

Young people will understand that science is fun, exciting and important, encouraging them to pursue careers in science; parents will feel more confident about supporting their kids’ interests in science; and teachers will have new resources to get students thinking about science outside of the classroom. Here is a sampling of some of the exciting events!

For students, families and teachers:
Encourage your students to attend free Discovery Days Events! 
Each will be packed with hands-on activities, performances, interactive demonstrations and family-oriented science entertainment.

Saturday November 5, 2011: In­fineon Raceway in Sonoma, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm
Sunday November 6, 20-11: AT&T Park in San Francisco, 11:00 am – 4:00 pm

Bay Area Science Festival Star Party
Saturday evening, Nov. 5, 2011
Organized by Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College and Astronomical Society of the Pacific)
A “star party” is an occasion to view the night sky together, with our eyes, binoculars, or telescopes. As part of the Bay Area Science Festival, we are throwing a regional star party at over 20 different sites. Colleges, schools, observatories and science centers around the Bay Area will be open, and both professional and amateur astronomers will be on hand to offer telescope viewing and observing tips. If the sky is cloudy, many sites will still offer indoor astronomy activities. Some institutions will also have astronomy talks and events that evening, regardless of the weather. Join us for a stellar evening and meet local astronomers at a dozen star party sites across the Bay Area.

Locations are throughout the bay area, so check out the latest information at:

Educator Give Away! Just for teachers. 
Sponsored by BABEC, PROBE, SCCBEP, and CCSF’s BIO-LINK Depot, the give aways, for educators only, will provide free excess stock/equipment/materials from labs/companies across the area.

Pre-registration is required.

SF/Peninsula Giveaway: at the BIO-LINK Depot near SFO airport on Saturday, November 5, 10:00 am -12:00 pm.
Educator Events at the Tech Museum and the California Academy of Sciences.
On Saturday, November 5, 2011, both the Educator Extravaganza at California Academy of Sciences (1:30-5:30 pm) and the Teacher Open House with an Astronaut at The Tech Museum of San Jose (9:30 am-1:00 pm) will be hosting special educator events with free admission and educational activities that can be used in the classroom.

These are just a few of the many activities and events planned for the Bay Area Science Festival. Complete details can be found at Help spread the word! Check out the flyer at:

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.

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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.