September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

News and Happenings in CSTA’s Region 1 – Fall 2017

Posted: Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

by Marian Murphy-Shaw


This month I was fortunate enough to hear about some new topics to share with our entire region. Some of you may access the online or newsletter options, others may attend events in person that are nearer to you. Long time CSTA member and environmental science educator Mike Roa is well known to North Bay Area teachers for his volunteer work sharing events and resources. In this month’s Region 1 updates I am happy to make a few of the options Mike offers available to our region.

First of all, if you are really close to Mike in Sonoma or neighboring counties he wants to hear from science educators are interested in volunteering at activity tables at the North Bay Science Discovery Day on Saturday, October 28, 2017. The purpose of the event is to get kids excited about science in general, and as a career more specifically, especially being science teachers who get to do science stuff all the time! The focus of the table would be hands-on activities for kids. But the people “working” at the table would look for opportunities to encourage people to think about science teaching as a STEM career path. If you contact him directly at

Second, for those in the greater Region 1 area, Mike produces a free monthly e-newsletter, The Grapevine. It includes information on events, resources, grants, training, job openings, and other information of interest to both formal and non-formal science and environmental educators in the North Bay Area and beyond. In addition to receiving information, subscribers can post information about their events, ask for ideas, materials, or other assistance, and share information that would be of interest to the over 800 Grapevine subscribers.

For information, or to receive a sample Grapevine, contact Mike Roa at You can also talk with Mike at the Project Learning Tree table at the CSTA Conference in October.

Registration Ad CCS


Two sites can help you locate Maker Faires and Science Festivals in your area. These events are intended to raise awareness and enthusiasm about science, engineering, technology, design and creative thought across communities, going beyond the classroom.

Science Festival Alliance

Maker Faire

CSTA Region 1 has so much going on! Join the fun! Teachers can send the word home to your student’s families, volunteer to be part of an event near your community, let organizers know about the community partners you value. Celebrate STEAM!

Here are some Region 1 events…

Rogue Valley Mini Maker Faire: September 23, 2017

The Rogue Valley Mini Maker Faire, in Ashland Oregon, is a family friendly showcase of invention, creativity, and resourcefulness. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning. Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. They are of all ages and backgrounds.

The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community. Southern Oregon has long been a hotbed for technology, innovation, creativity, and the entrepreneurial spirit. The Rogue Valley Mini Maker Faire will bring together a diverse audience of all ages interested in technology, engineering, arts, crafts, food, music, science, and sustainability. Whether your company is local or international, you will reach the right mix of technologists, creatives, and enthusiasts. These families, educators, engineers, entrepreneurs and more are looking to learn more about the Maker movement and companies that support it. The Faire provides access to some of the brightest young minds in the Southern Oregon area and their parents.

Rocklin Mini Maker Faire: October 14, 2017

Featuring both established and emerging local “makers,” the Rocklin Mini Maker Faire, held at Sierra College, is a family-friendly celebration featuring rockets and robots, digital fabrication, DIY science and technology, urban farming and sustainability, alternative energy, bicycles, unique hand-made crafts, music and local food, and educational workshops and installations. The Rocklin Mini Maker Faire follows the “big” Maker Faire model of celebrating invention, creativity, and resourcefulness, but is smaller in scale and will showcase the wonders of Placer and Sacramento counties and beyond!

North Bay Science Discovery Day: October 28, 2017

Returning for its seventh year, the free North Bay Science Discovery Day will be held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa on Saturday, October 28, 2017, from 10 to 4. This year’s one-day attendance is expected to exceed 15,000, as the successful and exciting day has grown in the past from 4,000 to over 14,000.

It will feature over 100 hands-on science games, experiments and other activities to spark kids’ curiosity about all fields of science from astronomy to zoology, and including health, medicine, engineering, technology, biotechnology, climate science, botany, entomology, and many other areas. Children will learn about Bluetooth technology, operate a variety of robots, make SLIME, touch tide pool critters, use microscopes, build gravity powered cars, dissect a squid, learn about protecting endangered wildlife, and climb inside a jet cockpit, among many other fun and interesting activities.

This year’s Discovery Day will include several booths at which visitors with a passion for science will be encouraged to consider a career in science teaching. If you would like to know more about those – and possibly help out, or about the Discovery Day in general, you are welcome to contact CSTA member Mike Roa at

For information on the North Bay Science Discovery Day, go to

The North Bay Science Discovery Day is part of the Bay Area Science Festival, which runs from October 26 to November 11. For information, go to

Bay Area Science Festival: October 27 – November 5, 2017

Organized by the Science & Health Education Partnership (SEP) at UC San Francisco (UCSF) in partnership with local scientific, cultural, and educational institutions, the Bay Area Science Festival (BASF) is an annual celebration of the unique science and technology of the Bay Area. With over 50 events from Santa Rosa to San Jose, the Bay Area Science Festival reaches more than 50,000 people each year. Our mission is to celebrate the Bay Area’s scientific wonders, resources, and opportunities by exploring the role of science, engineering, and technology locally & in the world. Attendance has averaged well over 70,000, making BASF one of the largest science festivals in the country. BASF specializes in large-scale events for adults, multiple hands-on family expo events in different geographic regions, and intimate tours of scientific facilities, normally off limits to the public.

Details coming soon for the newest Region 1 Science Festival – May 2018 in Siskiyou County! Interested volunteers or collaborators may contact the Sisson Museum at

In Fall of 2018 look for the Shasta County Mini Maker Faire offered every-other year.

As always let me know what you have to share with our region or questions you have about resources needed by the many unique districts and schools in CSTA Region 1.

Written by Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw

Marian Murphy-Shaw is the student services director at Siskiyou County Office of Education and is CSTA’s Region 1 Director and chair of CSTA’s Policy Committee.

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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.