News and Events in Region 2
by Eric Lewis
Unbelievably, it’s already December and we’re practically half way through the school year. This is a great time of the year to take a minute to review all that you’ve accomplished so far this year and all that you still hope to accomplish. Of course, this is the time of the year when many teachers are starting to really struggle. I remember my own experience in my teaching program seeing the graph about teacher morale by the months of the year. Not surprising, we’re pretty much in the doldrums right now with a few higher morale moments expected during our holidays. However, with the Spring comes the hopes that our students will perform at the high standards that we expect (and the fact that summer is just around the corner)…
If you’re looking for a cool project to do with your students, I came across this project through a variety of my networks. The International Student Carbon Footprint Challenge was developed by Stanford as part of the Inquiry-to-Insight project, an international environmental science collaboration. This project leads to an additional virtual lab on Ocean Acidification.
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, email@example.com
Thursday, December 1, 2011, 6:00 PM
Cafe Borrone, 1010 El Camino Real, Menlo Park, CA
Meet up with rationalists, skeptics, and freethinkers south of San Francisco. Beers and Books is a social event co-hosted by the Center for Inquiry|San Francisco. We’ll meet at Cafe Borrone http://www.cafeboronne.com/ between Kepler’s Books and the British Banker’s Club! Look for the black balloon. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Free Day at Botanical Gardens
Thursday, December 1, 2011, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley, CA
Go Wild! Kids Nature Program
Friday, December 2, 2011, 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Martin Luther King Library, 150 East San Fernando Street, San Jose, CA
Did you know that there is a 30,000 acre wildlife refuge right here in the South Bay? That it is home to over 280 species of birds each year? Join us as we learn more about Don Edwards SF Bay National Wildlife Refuge with stories and fun activities.
For more information, visit our website at http://www.sjpl.org/event/friday-fun-go-wild-kids-nature-program.
The First Stars in the Universe
Friday, December 2, 2011, 8:00 PM
College of San Mateo, 1700 W Hillsdale Blvd, Planetarium (Bldg 36), San Mateo, CA
Modern cosmological observations imply that the first stars in the universe were unique objects that strongly influenced their environment, despite their brief existence. This talk will present the current data and theoretical ideas on these stars, and how future telescopes can detect them. Speaker: Dr. Aparna Venkatesan, University of San Francisco.
For more information, visit our website at http://www.smcas.com/events/meetings/upcoming_meetings/.
Marshlands of Dreams
Saturday, December 3, 2011, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Don Edwards Refuge Headquarters & Visitors Center, 1 Marshlands Road off Thornton Avenue, Fremont, CA
Join Paul Mueller on a 1-mile walk of the LaRiviere Marsh Trail to find traces of the past. Prior to marsh restoration, learn how Californians utilized the area for farming, quarrying, salt production, and transportation. There are opportunities for bird watching as well. For more information, call 510-792-0222 ext 363 or visit our website.
Plight of the Chinook Salmon
Saturday, December 3, 2011, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM
Bay Model Visitors Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA
Years later and many millions of dollars invested, the endangered Chinook population is not recovering in ways hoped. What have scientists recently discovered? Is it something in the water? Find out more and feel free to share information with Ranger Linda. For more information call (415) 332-3871 or visit our website.
Jazz under the Stars
Saturday, December 3, 2011, 8:00 PM – 10:00 PM
College of San Mateo, 1700 W Hillsdale Blvd, Planetarium (Bldg 36), San Mateo, CA
Visit our roof top observatory to see the first quarter moon and Jupiter thru telescopes. Dress warmly and come by anytime between 8 and 10 pm. ”Jazz” night is Saturday Dec. 3 from 8-10 PM. Free parking in Marie Curie Lot 5. No food or drinks in the observatory. Children are welcome and need to be attended at all times.
For more information, check out our website at http://collegeofsanmateo.edu/astronomy/jazz.asp.
FREE public events at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fall Meeting 2011
Sunday December 4, 2011, 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Moscone Center South, 747 Howard St., San Francisco, CA
Join us for our three FREE public events at the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fall Meeting 2011: a lecture by Astronaut Drew Feustel, an afternoon of hands-on science with AGU Scientists at Exploration Station, and a children’s book reading by Author/Scientist Jeffrey Bennett. This event is open to everyone! Students, teachers, university faculty, AGU members, families, kids of all ages, and anyone else interested in the Earth and space sciences will find something that they enjoy!
For more information, go to: http://sites.agu.org/fallmeeting/events-activities/public-events/
Kepler’s Quest for New Worlds Public Talks (Catching Shadows and Songs of the Stars)
Tuesday, December 6, 2011, 7:00 PM
NASA Ames Research Center, Building 152, Moffett Field, Mountain View, CA
Catching Shadows: Kepler’s Quest for New Worlds
Humankind’s speculation about the existence of other worlds like our own turned into a veritable quest with the launch of NASA’s Kepler spacecraft in March 2009. The mission is designed to survey a slice of the Milky Way to identify planets orbiting other stars. It looks for the telltale dimming of light that occurs when an orbiting planet passes in front of the star thereby casting a shadow into space. The roster of exoplanets discovered by Kepler has reached close to 30 in number, including one world that is unquestionably rocky in composition, another with 6 transiting planets, and another in a circumbinary orbit. Moreover, the team has released a catalog of nearly one thousand stars showing the recurring dimmings of light that suggest the presence of a planet. The methods used to identify planets will be described in this talk as well as the discoveries that have been announced to date. Now in its third year of operation, Kepler is honing in on the answer to the question that drives the mission: are potentially habitable worlds abundant in our galaxy.
Speaker: Dr. Natalie Batalha,professor of physics and astronomy at San Jose State University and the deputy science team lead for NASA’s Kepler Mission.
Songs of the Stars: the Real Music of the Spheres
We humans are visual creatures. For us “seeing is believing.” The Pythagoreans 2,500 years ago believed in a celestial “music of the spheres”, an idea that reverberated down the millennia in Western music, literature, art, and science. Johannes Kepler (the namesake of the Kepler Mission) was so enamored with Pythagoras’ idea that in the early 1600s that he spent years trying to discover harmonic relationships among the periods of the planets in their orbits about the sun, finally, disappointingly (for him), proving otherwise. Now we know that there is a real music of the spheres. The stars have sounds in them that we can use to see right to their very cores. This multi-media lecture looks at the relationship of music to stellar sounds. You will hear the real sounds of the stars, and you will hear musical compositions where every member of the orchestra is a real (astronomical) star! You will also learn about some of the latest amazing discoveries from the Kepler Space Mission that lets us “hear” the stars 100 times better than with telescopes on the ground.
Speaker: Dr. Don Kurtz, professor of astrophysics at the University of Central Lancashire in the United Kingdom and a steering committee member of the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium. To register, please visit: http://keplerpublictalk.eventbrite.com/.
Pushing the Limits of Computational Imaging
Wednesday, December 7, 2011, 4:15 PM
Stanford University, Skilling Auditorium, Stanford, CA 94305
Computational imaging uses unconventional optics to capture a coded image, and an appropriate algorithm to decode the captured image. This approach of manipulating images before there are recorded and processing recorded images before they are presented has three key benefits. First, it enables us to implement imaging functionalities that would be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve using traditional imaging. Second, it can be used to significantly reduce the hardware complexity of an imaging system. Lastly, under appropriate imaging conditions, it allows us to break the limits of traditional imaging. In this talk, Professor Nayar will show recent examples of imaging systems that demonstrate these benefits and will conclude the talk with a brief discussion on the fundamental limits of computational imaging.
Speaker: Shree K. Nayar, T. C. Chang Professor of Computer Science, Columbia University. For more information visit http://www.stanford.edu/class/ee380/.
Meet Your Neighbors-One Cubic Foot Underneath the Golden Gate Bridge
Wednesday, December 7, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
David Brower Center, 2150 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA
Who lives beneath the Golden Gate Bridge? Hear from the group who spent the spring of 2011 surveying this local habitat, and learn how you can participate in local habitat restoration.
RSVP via email at email@example.com or phone at 510-809-0900, ext 116.
The Search for Habitable Exoplanets in the Kepler Era and Beyond
Wednesday, December 7, 7:00 PM
SETI Institute Colloquium Series, 189 Bernardo Ave, Mountain View, CA
For centuries people have wondered, “Are we alone?” With hundreds of planets now known to orbit other stars, we are finally able to begin answering the ancient questions, “Do other Earths exist? Are they common? Do any have signs of life? NASA’s Kepler space telescope will soon tell us the statistical numbers of Earth-size planets orbiting sun-size stars. Beyond Kepler is the search for potentially habitable worlds around nearby, sun-like stars. Professor Seager will discuss how astrobiology and space engineering research will come together to enable us to discover and identify other Earth-like worlds.
Speaker: Sara Seager, Planetary Science and Physics, MIT
Free Day at the Exploratorium
Wednesday, December 7, 2011, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
At the Palace of Fine Arts, 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco, CA
There is free admission to the museum on the first Wednesday of each month; however, due to capacity limits, groups of 10 or more are required to make reservations or they will not be admitted. Check out our website for more information.
Compassion and Altruism from an Integrated Evolutionary Perspective
Thursday, December 8, 2011, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Stanford University, School of Education, 485 Lausen Mall, Cubberley Auditorium, Stanford, CA
David Sloane-Wilson is an evolutionist who studies all aspects of humanity in addition to the biological world. He manages a number of programs designed to expand the influence of evolutionary theory in higher education (EvoS), public policy (The Evolution Institute), community-based research (The Binghamton Neighborhood Project), and religion (Evolutionary Religious Studies). He communicates to the general public through his ScienceBlogs site and his trade books, including Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives and The Neighborhood Project: Using Evolution to Improve my City, One Block at a Time.
For more information, call (650) 721-6142 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tracking Ongoing Kilauea Eruptions — Fissures…Fountains…and Flows
Thursday, December 8, 2011, 7:00 PM
USGS Evening Public Lecture Series, 345 Middlefield Road, USGS Conference Room A, Bldg 3, Menlo Park, CA
Spectacular Kilauea eruptions have produced a summit lava lake, roiling for several years, and a flank eruption recently sending lava flows downslope to threaten residential areas. How do USGS scientists monitor and track subsurface molten rock movement, measure the state of volcanic unrest, and forecast eruptions? Find out more about how Hawaiian volcano “plumbing systems” force deep molten magma into subsurface reservoirs, through eruptive fissures, and onto the surface to form large lava flows.
Speaker: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory geologist Matthew Patrick
For more information call 650-329-5000 or visit our website at http://online.wr.usgs.gov/calendar/.
Getting Comfortable with Global Warming
Friday, December 9, 2011,12:00 PM – 12:45 PM
The Presidio of San Francisco, 105 Montgomery Street at Lincoln Boulevard in San Francisco, CA
What emotional state are you in about global warming? Shock, denial, anger, depression… or acceptance and readiness for action? Bring a brown bag lunch and help move through the “grieving process” and toward action. Meet Ranger Will Elder at the Temporary Visitors Station. Reservations required by calling (415) 561-4323.
Total Lunar Eclipse
Saturday, December 10, 2011, Starts at 4:00 AM
Chabot Space and Science Center, 10000 Skyline Blvd, Oakland, CA
Get up early and come to Chabot to catch the last Total Lunar Eclipse until the year 2014! Our Observatory Deck will be open for anyone who would like to enjoy the spectacle in good company. Chabot staff and volunteers will be on hand to talk about the eclipse as it happens. A total lunar eclipse is a rare meeting of the full Moon and the long shadow the Earth casts into space. The Moon will begin to enter the Earth’s full shadow (umbra) starting at 4:46am, and will be totally engulfed by 6:06am. Totality will last 41 minutes, followed shortly after by moonset.
Center will not be open, enter through Observatory gate.
Gold Fever: How the Gold Rush Forever Changed San Francisco Bay
Saturday, December 10, 2011, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Bay Model Visitors Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA
In 1848 gold was discovered in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, luring people by the thousands to California. Join Ranger Tammi to find out how this event forever changed San Francisco Bay. For more information call (415) 332-3871 or check out their website.
Mad Science: Magnificent Magnets
Saturday, December 10, 2011, Starts at 3:00 PM
Berryessa Branch Library, 3555 Noble Ave, San Jose, CA
Investigate the powers and daily uses of magnets. Explore magnetic fields and their relative strengths and properties. Take home your own floating magnets. Join us for this entertaining and educational program with Mad Science! Attendance is limited to the first 30 children. Grades: K-2. For more information, please email: email@example.com or call (408) 808-3050.
Glimpsing the Edge of the Universe: Results from the Hubble Space Telescope
Saturday, December 10, 2011, Starts at 8:00 PM
San Jose Astronomical Association, Houge Park, Twilight Drive, San Jose, CA
Speaker: Dr. Bruce Margon.
The Hubble Space Telescope has circled the Earth 15 times every day for more than 16 years. Dr. Margon describes the most important discoveries made with the telescope and how it can show us new details of the universe from the solar system to the most distant reaches of space. In addition, he briefly discusses the future of the Hubble and some interesting public reactions to it. Check out their website for more information!
The Salt Marshes: Then and Now
Sunday, December 11, 2011, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Don Edwards Refuge Headquarters & Visitors Center, 1 Marshlands Road, off Thornton Avenue, Fremont, CA
Approximately 85% of San Francisco Bay’s wetlands have disappeared over the last 200 years due to industry and development, impacting the wildlife that lived in and around them. Some of the plants and animals have made a comeback. Learn the history of the salt marshes and the plant and animal life affected by the changes. The presentation includes a slideshow followed by an optional walk (approximately 45 minutes, weather permitting) to view a salt marsh and the remains of a salt evaporation pond. Led by Gregg Aronson. Call 510-792-0222 ext. 363 for reservations.
DREAM Lunar Science Institute Team Seeks High School Teachers and Students to Participate in 2012 Lunar Extreme Program and Workshop
Applications are due on or before December 12, 2011. Participants will be notified of their acceptance by December 16, 2011.
DREAM – Dynamic Response of the Environment At the Moon (http://ssed.gsfc.nasa.gov/dream) – is one of several teams comprising the NASA Lunar Science Institute (http://lunarscience.nasa.gov). The purpose of DREAM is to investigate the response of the lunar environment to the harsh and ever-changing conditions in space, including extreme events such as solar storms and impacts. DREAM is looking for 2 teams of high school teachers and students (approximately 4-6 students per teacher) who would like to participate in the Lunar Extreme Program from January-June 2012, culminating in participation at a Lunar Extreme Workshop with DREAM scientists from June 18-22, 2012 at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA. The target audience for involvement in the Lunar Extreme Program is high school students who have already been exposed to physics, Earth science, chemistry, or computer modeling and the teachers of these subjects. Teachers will be provided with small stipends for their time and participation. To learn more and to access the application materials, visit: http://ssed.gsfc.nasa.gov/dream/DREAM/lunarextremeprogram.html
Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
Tuesday, December 13, 2011, 11:30 AM
Evergreen Branch Library, 2635 Aborn Road, San Jose, CA
The Open Space Authority presents Docent Teri and her enthusiasm for all things creepy and crawly. Come learn the ant secret handshake or discover if bees have their own version of dancing GPS! Bring your questions and your sense of adventure and come have some fun! Everyone is welcome.
For more information, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 808-3060
San Mateo County Astronomical Society (SMCAS) Star Party
Saturday, December 17, 2011, just before sunset
Crestview Park, San Mateo, CA 94070
Come out and bring the kids for a mind-expanding look at the universe.
Setup of telescopes begins around sunset, with observations beginning about 1 hour later.
If you have any questions, please email SMCAS@live.com or call 605-862-9602.
Sunday, December 18, 2011, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
Marin Headlands Visitors Center, Fort Barry, Sausalito, CA 94965
Just like people, there are “snowbirds” in the avian world and the Marin Headlands is one of the spots to which they flock during winter.
Join docent Jane Haley on an easy walk to discover our winter residents and visitors.
We will meet at the Marin Headlands Visitor Center. Please bring field guides and binoculars. This event is appropriate for ages 8 and older. Please: No dogs! Rain will cancel the event, so please plan accordingly.
For reservations, call (415) 331-1540.
Free Wednesday at Cal Academy
Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 9:30 am to 5:00 pm
California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Dr., San Francisco, CA
Free admission is available to visitors on the third Wednesday of every month, through the generosity of The Bernard Osher Foundation. Admission is on a first come, first served basis, and early arrival is recommended due to the likelihood of high demand. Also, please note that final entry to the museum on free days is 4pm and, finally, that there will be no members-only entrance on Free Wednesdays.
The SOFIA Science Mission
Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 7:00 PM
Randall Museum, 199 Museum Way, San Francisco, CA 94114
Erick Young, a widely recognized authority on infrared astronomy, is Science Mission Operations Director for SOFIA. Most recently, Young was responsible for developing the far-infrared detector arrays on the Spitzer Space Telescope’s Multiband Imaging Photometer for Spitzer (MIPS). The instrument provided both imaging and spectroscopic data at far-infrared wavelengths.
Speaker: Erick Young, SOFIA Science Mission and Operations Director
For more information about The San Francisco Amateur Astronomers, check out their website!
Discover “E” 2012
Hosted by: Silicon Valley Engineering Council
When: February – March 2012
Application Deadline: January 31, 2012
What: During February and March of 2012, as an adjunct to National Engineers Week, engineers from local corporations will begin visiting classrooms to share the excitement and rewards of being an engineer. Engineers can also visit classrooms after March. The engineers will discuss careers in engineering with the students and can involve students in hands-on activities. Following this, there can be question-and-answer periods. Engineers will be glad to tailor their presentations to particular teachers’ needs and can bring posters, bookmarks, and brochures to hand out to promote Discover “E.” For more information and an application, please visit http://www.svec.org/DiscoverE/teachltr.html.
Eris Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office and is CSTA region 2 director.
by Michelle French
Since the public reviews of the Next Generation Science Standards have come to a close, like many primary teachers, I’ve been wondering what science will look like in kindergarten, first, and second grade classrooms. Learn More…
“SOL Grotto, 2012. 1368 glass tubes, paint. Fabrication: Matarozzi Pelsinger, Rael San Fratello Architects. SOL Grotto is a contemporary take on a grotto or Throeau’s cabin – a spartan retreat that is a space of solitude and close to nature – where one is presented with a mediated experience of water, coolness and light. The SOL Grotto also explores Solyndra’s role as a company S#@t Out of Luck. 1,368 of the 24 million high tech glass tubes destined to be destroyed as a casualty of their bankruptcy, are used in the installation. The tube’s original role as a light concentrating element is extended to transmit cool air into the space via the Venturi effect, to amplify sounds from the adjacent waterfall via the vibrations of the tubes cantilevering over the creek, and to create distorted views of the garden. The form of the electric blue array evokes Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where shadows, light and sounds can call reality into question.”
Responses from Readers:
Peter A’Hearn: Rush hour in little blue circle land.
by Valerie Joyner
Congratulations to CSTA member and STEM Educator, Katherine Schenkelberg, of West High School, in Torrance, CA! Katherine was recently awarded one of the 2013 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. An appointed panel of experts selected her for her innovative use of data-collection technology. “The use of data-collection technology in the classroom helps foster students’ interest in STEM education and provides them with engaging, hands-on opportunities for scientific investigation,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. “For ten years Vernier and NSTA have recognized innovative STEM educators through this award and this year’s winners are no exception – their projects and programs truly utilize the power of data-collection technology as part of the teaching and learning process.” Learn More…
by Tim Williamson
Members of the California Science Teachers Association are now in the process of voting for qualified CSTA members to fill the seven openings on the CSTA Board of Directors for the 2013-2015 term.
The election is being conducted electronically and opened for voting on April 16, 2013. Voting will close on May 16, 2013. All CSTA members were sent links to the online ballot. Members for whom we do not have current email addresses or who request a paper ballot have been mailed a ballot and candidate statements. Learn More…