May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

News and Events in Region 2

Posted: Monday, December 3rd, 2012

by Eric Lewis

You can now start to submit your ideas for workshops for next year’s Education Conference in Palm Springs!  And as always, please let me know if there are things that you’d like to add to our Region’s offerings list. 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, at lewise2@sfusd.edu.

Upcoming Events in Region 2:

Abundance: A Lecture with Peter Diamandis, X-Prize/Singularity
Monday, 12/03/12, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
NASA Ames Conference Center, 234 S Akron Road, Bldg. 3, Mountain View
A free public lecture + book signing with Dr. Peter Diamandis, Executive Chair Singularity and CEO X-PRIZE, discussing how cutting edge technologies can solve global problems. For more info, contact Kathleen Burton at kathleen.m.burton@nasa.gov, call 650-604-1731 or visit their website at http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/researchpark/home/index.html

‘Blue Meridian’
Tuesday, 12/04/12, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Bay Model Visitors Center, 2100 Bridgeway, Sausalito
Blue Meridian is a journey along the Mississippi River that not only crosses the deep south, but the imagination of North America. Representing the complex relationship between place and identity, this film reveals a story of national identity undergoing radical transformation. The river both joins and separates people as well as real and imaginary places. Southern identity is tightly connected with the notion of home, and Blue Meridian seeks to discover what is left of that notion today.

Part of the Tiburon International Film Festival

For more information  call 415-332-3871 or visit their website at http://www.spn.usace.army.mil/bmvc/.

NASA’s Curiosity Rover: Four Months on Mars
Tuesday, 12/04/12, 7:00 PM
SETI Institute Colloquium Series, 189 Bernardo Avenue, Mountain View
NASA’s Curiosity Rover has been exploring its landing region at Gale Crater on Mars since August 5, 2012, searching for environments in early Mars’ history that may have been habitable, able to support microbial life.  Much of the first 90 sols have been dedicated to engineering checkouts and initial uses of the instruments.  The rover operations to date will be discussed, along with some initial scientific results regarding the geology, mineralogy, and environmental conditions at Gale Crater on Mars.

Speaker: Ashwin Vasavada, JPL
For more information email info@seti.org, call 650.961.6633 or visit their website at http://www.seti.org/talks.

Free First Wednesday at the Bay Area Discovery Museum
Wednesday, 12/5/12, 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Bay Area Discovery Museum, 557 McReynolds Road, Fort Baker, Sausalito
Free Museum admission all day.
For more information, email contact@badm.org or call (415) 339-3900.

Free Day at the Exploratorium
Wednesday, 12/5/12, 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Exploratorium. 3601 Lyon Street, San Francisco
Museum admission is free the first Wednesday of every month.
For more information, email visit@exploratorium.edu

Evolution of Ectomycorrhizal Symbiosis
Thursday, 12/06/12, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Bay Area Mycological Society, 338 Koshland Hall, UC Berkeley, Berkeley
Microbial symbioses have evolved repeatedly across the tree of life, but the genetic changes underlying transitions to symbiosis are largely unknown, especially for eukaryotic microbial symbionts. We used the genus Amanita, an iconic group of mushroom-forming fungi engaged in ectomycorrhizal symbioses with plants, to identify both the origins and potential genetic changes maintaining the stability of this mutualism. A multi-gene phylogeny reveals one origin of the symbiosis within Amanita, with a single transition from saprotrophic decomposition of dead organic matter to biotrophic dependence on host plants for carbon. Associated with this transition are the losses of two cellulase genes, each of which plays a critical role in extracellular decomposition of organic matter. However a third gene, which acts at later stages in cellulose decomposition, is retained by many, but not all, ectomycorrhizal species. Experiments confirm that symbiotic Amanita species have lost the ability to grow on complex organic matter and have therefore lost the capacity to live in forest soils without carbon supplied by a host plant. Irreversible losses of decomposition pathways are likely to play key roles in the evolutionary stability of these ubiquitous mutualisms.

This meeting is going to be a seminar led by Dr. Anne Pringle, Associate Professor of Organismic & Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University, on cutting edge research in her lab. We’re asking attendees to (pre)read and be ready to discuss a paper, published in July by Benjamin Wolfe, Rod Tulloss, and Anne Pringle, titled, “The Irreversible Loss of a Decomposition Pathway Marks the Single Origin of an Ectomycorrhizal Symbiosis.” This will be a very exciting learning experience for us all.

For more information, visit http://www.bayareamushrooms.org/.

Free Day at Botanical Gardens
Thursday, 12/6/12, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
UC Botanical Garden, 200 Centennial Drive, Berkeley, CA
There is free admission to the Botanical Garden on the first Thursday of each month.  For more information, email garden@berkeley.edu, call 510-643-2755 or visit our website at http://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/.

Houge Park Star Party
Friday, 12/7/12, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
San Jose Astronomical Association, Houge Park, Twilight Drive, San Jose
Meet with members of San Jose Astronomical Society for a Star Party, weather permitting.
For more information visit their website at http://www.sjaa.net/.

The City From the Valley
Saturday, 12/08/12, 3:30 PM
ZERO1 Garage, 439 S 1st Street, San Jose
Fundamental shifts are underway in the relationship between San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Historically, workers have lived in residential suburbs while commuting to work in the city. For Silicon Valley, however, the situation is reversed: many of the largest technology companies are based in suburbs. Thus, an alternate transportation network of private buses threads daily through San Francisco, completing a daily cycle of picking up workers at a series of unmarked bus stops, and then carries them via the commuter lanes of the 101 and 280 freeways to and from their tech campuses.

What does this flow tell us about Silicon Valley, and the city it feeds? Is San Francisco becoming the new bedroom community for Silicon Valley? What are the effects of this alternate transportation network, and can public mass transit remain flexible enough to fulfill changing transportation and commuting needs?

Join us as a panel of artists, activists and transportation professionals discuss the future of transportation in Silicon Valley. This panel grew out of the project The City From the Valley, a research project by Stamen Design that visualizes the growing phenomenon of private buses transporting workers between San Francisco and Silicon Valley that is currently on view as part of the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial’s hub exhibition, Seeking Silicon Valley.

Fore more information check out their website at http://www.spur.org/events/calendar/city-valley.

San Mateo County Astronomical Society Star Party
Saturday, 12/8/12, 5:00 PM
College of San Mateo, Building 36, 1700 W Hillsdale Road, San Mateo
The City of San Carlos Department of Parks and Recreation and the San Mateo County Astronomical Society have open Star Parties twice a month.

Reasons to Attend:
1. If you have kids interested in space or planets bring them here for a real life view of planets, nebula, star clusters and galaxies.
2. If you are thinking of buying a telescope or want help using a telescope you own, come here to talk with experienced users.
3. If you think you might have an interest in astronomy come and talk to experienced amateur astronomers.

Setup will begin at sunset and observing about one hour after sunset.  In the event of inclement weather (rain, clouds, fog or excessive wind) the star party will not to be held. Because each astronomer makes his or her own decision about bringing their telescope, there is no official cancellation notice.

If you would like help with setting up a telescope or would like to learn about telescopes, come at sunset.  If you would just like to see the universe through a telescope, come at about one or two hours after sunset.

For more information visit their website, email SMCAS@live.com or call 605-862-9602.

Free Sunday at the California Academy of Sciences
Sunday, 12/9/12, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
California Academy of Science, 55 Music Concourse Drive, San Francisco
The Academy is changing its free day policy to target more working families, who were previously unable to come on the Wednesday free days. We hope that this change to weekend dates will allow a wider range of people to attend.

For more information, email info@calacademy.org or call 415-379-8000.  You can also visit their website for more information.

The Program in Human Biology at 40 years: What made this start-up so successful?
Tuesday, 12/11/12, 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Stanford University, Tresidder Memorial Union, 459 Lagunita Drive, Stanford (Oak West Lounge)
Early faculty from the Program in Human Biology will discuss the idea behind the founding of Stanford’s largest interdisciplinary, inter-school program, the process that led up to the founding and their view of the reasons why HumBio has been so successful over the past 40 plus years. Come join Professors Sandy Dornbusch, Paul Ehrlich, Shirley Feldman, Herant Katchadourian, and Don Kennedy in a panel discussion moderated by Professor Carol Boggs. The evening will also feature clips from a video about the history of the program, including other faculty founders. There will be time for audience questions and discussion.

Panel:

  • Sandy Dornbusch, Reed-Hodgson Professor in Human Biology and Professor of Sociology, Emeritus
  • Paul Ehrlich, Bing Professor of Population Studies and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment
  • Shirley Feldman, Former Professor of Human Biology
  • Herant Katchadourian, Professor of Human Biology, Emeritus
  • Don Kennedy, President, Emeritus, and Bing Professor of Environmental Science, Emeritus
  • Carol Boggs, Bing Director in Human Biology (moderator)

For more information visit their website.

Ten Days To The End of the World?
Tuesday, 12/11/12, 7:00 PM
SETI Institute Colloquium Series, 189 Bernardo Avenue, Mountain View
David Morrison, Ed Krupp and Andy Fraknoi will discuss the topic of the end of the Mayan Calender in 2012 and how this has been treated by the media. The negative effect of this millennial meme will also be explored, as well as ways of promoting a successful scientific message on the topic in the YouTube era.

Panel: David Morrison, SETI Institute. Ed Krupp, Griffith Observatory, Southern California. Andy Fraknoi, Foothill College

For more information email info@seti.org, call 650.961.6633 or visit their website at http://www.seti.org/talks.

December Leonardo Art/Science Evening Rendezvous (LASER) Series Event
Wednesday, 10/10/12, 6:45 PM – 8:55 PM
Stanford University, History Corner (Building 200) Room 305, Stanford
Schedule: 7:00-9:00: Presentations

* Jennifer Parker (UC Santa Cruz) will present new works created by artists and scientists from the UCSC OpenLab Network
* Jennifer Dionne (Stanford Univ) will discuss a nanofuture of invisible objects and teleportation
*Deborah Gordon (Stanford) on “TBA”
*Mark Wagner (Street painter) will explain how street painting can create community through impermanent art.

For more information, visit their website: http://events.stanford.edu/events/346/34601/

San Mateo County Astronomical Society Star Party
Saturday, 12/15/12, 5:00 PM
College of San Mateo, Building 36, 1700 W Hillsdale Road, San Mateo
The City of San Carlos Department of Parks and Recreation and the San Mateo County Astronomical Society have open Star Parties twice a month.

Reasons to Attend

1. If you have kids interested in space or planets bring them here for a real life view of planets, nebula, star clusters and galaxies.

2. If you are thinking of buying a telescope or want help using a telescope you own, come here to talk with experienced users.

3. If you think you might have an interest in astronomy come and talk to experienced amateur astronomers.

Setup will begin at sunset and observing about one hour after sunset.  In the event of inclement weather (rain, clouds, fog or excessive wind) the star party will not to be held. Because each astronomer makes his or her own decision about bringing their telescope, there is no official cancellation notice.

If you would like help with setting up a telescope or would like to learn about telescopes, come at sunset.  If you would just like to see the universe through a telescope, come at about one or two hours after sunset.

For more information visit their website, email SMCAS@live.com or call 605-862-9602.

Houge Park Star Party
Friday, 12/21/12, 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
San Jose Astronomical Association, Houge Park, Twilight Drive, San Jose
Meet with members of San Jose Astronomical Society for a Star Party, weather permitting.
For more information visit their website at http://www.sjaa.net/.

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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Participate in Chemistry Education Research Study, Earn $500-800 Dollars!

Posted: Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

WestEd, a non-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the US Department of Education to test a new molecular modeling kit, Happy Atoms. Happy Atoms is an interactive chemistry learning experience that consists of a set of physical atoms that connect magnetically to form molecules, and an app that uses image recognition to identify the molecules that you create with the set. WestEd is conducting a study around the effectiveness of using Happy Atoms in the classroom, and we are looking for high school chemistry teachers in California to participate.

As part of the study, teachers will be randomly assigned to either the treatment group (who uses Happy Atoms) or the control group (who uses Happy Atoms at a later date). Teachers in the treatment group will be asked to use the Happy Atoms set in their classrooms for 5 lessons over the course of the fall 2017 semester. Students will complete pre- and post-assessments and surveys around their chemistry content knowledge and beliefs about learning chemistry. WestEd will provide access to all teacher materials, teacher training, and student materials needed to participate.

Participating teachers will receive a stipend of $500-800. You can read more information about the study here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HappyAtoms

Please contact Rosanne Luu at rluu@wested.org or 650.381.6432 if you are interested in participating in this opportunity, or if you have any questions!

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.

2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption Reviewer Application

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

The California Department of Education and State Board of Education are now accepting applications for reviewers for the 2018 Science Instructional Materials Adoption. The application deadline is 3:00 pm, July 21, 2017. The application is comprehensive, so don’t wait until the last minute to apply.

On Tuesday, May 9, 2017, State Superintendent Tom Torlakson forwarded this recruitment letter to county and district superintendents and charter school administrators.

Review panel members will evaluate instructional materials for use in kindergarten through grade eight, inclusive, that are aligned with the California Next Generation Science Content Standards for California Public Schools (CA NGSS). 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.

Lessons Learned from the NGSS Early Implementer Districts

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

On March 31, 2017, Achieve released two documents examining some lessons learned from the California K-8 Early Implementation Initiative. The initiative began in August 2014 and was developed by the K-12 Alliance at WestEd, with close collaborative input on its design and objectives from the State Board of Education, the California Department of Education, and Achieve.

Eight (8) traditional school districts and two (2) charter management organizations were selected to participate in the initiative, becoming the first districts in California to implement the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Those districts included Galt Joint Union Elementary, Kings Canyon Joint Unified, Lakeside Union, Oakland Unified, Palm Springs Unified, San Diego Unified, Tracy Joint Unified, Vista Unified, Aspire, and High Tech High.

To more closely examine some of the early successes and challenges experienced by the Early Implementer LEAs, Achieve interviewed nine of the ten participating districts and compiled that information into two resources, focusing primarily on professional learning and instructional materials. 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.

Using Online Simulations to Support the NGSS in Middle School Classrooms

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

by Lesley Gates, Loren Nikkel, and Kambria Eastham

Middle school teachers in Kings Canyon Unified School District (KCUSD), a CA NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative district, have been diligently working on transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) integrated model for middle school. This year, the teachers focused on building their own knowledge of the Science and Engineering Practices (SEPs). They have been gathering and sharing ideas at monthly collaborative meetings as to how to make sure their students are not just learning about science but that they are actually doing science in their classrooms. Students should be planning and carrying out investigations to gather data for analysis in order to construct explanations. This is best done through hands-on lab experiments. Experimental work is such an important part of the learning of science and education research shows that students learn better and retain more when they are active through inquiry, investigation, and application. A Framework for K-12 Science Education (2011) notes, “…learning about science and engineering involves integration of the knowledge of scientific explanations (i.e., content knowledge) and the practices needed to engage in scientific inquiry and engineering design. Thus the framework seeks to illustrate how knowledge and practice must be intertwined in designing learning experiences in K-12 Science Education” (pg. 11).

Many middle school teachers in KCUSD are facing challenges as they begin implementing these student-driven, inquiry-based NGSS science experiences in their classrooms. First, many of the middle school classrooms at our K-8 school sites are not designed as science labs. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the NGSS Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

Celestial Highlights: May – July 2017

Posted: Monday, May 8th, 2017

May Through July 2017 with Web Resources for the Solar Eclipse of August 21, 2017

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graphs of planet rising and setting times by Jeffrey L. Hunt.

In spring and summer 2017, Jupiter is the most prominent “star” in the evening sky, and Venus, even brighter, rules the morning. By mid-June, Saturn rises at a convenient evening hour, allowing both giant planets to be viewed well in early evening until Jupiter sinks low in late September. The Moon is always a crescent in its monthly encounters with Venus, but is full whenever it appears near Jupiter or Saturn in the eastern evening sky opposite the Sun. (In 2017, Full Moon is near Jupiter in April, Saturn in June.) At intervals of 27-28 days thereafter, the Moon appears at a progressively earlier phase at each pairing with the outer planet until its final conjunction, with Moon a thin crescent, low in the west at dusk. You’ll see many beautiful events by just following the Moon’s wanderings at dusk and dawn in the three months leading up to the solar eclipse. Learn More…

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Written by Robert Victor

Robert Victor

Robert C. Victor was Staff Astronomer at Abrams Planetarium, Michigan State University. He is now retired and enjoys providing skywatching opportunities for school children in and around Palm Springs, CA. Robert is a member of CSTA.