May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

News from Region 2

Posted: Monday, November 1st, 2010

by Eric Lewis

(Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Benito, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano counties)

Region 2 News and Events

Greetings from our great region and home of the World Series Champions!  As usual, our area of California is full of wonderful events and resources for science teachers!

A free online database of high-quality science lessons from the Science and Health Education Partnership (SEP) at UCSF:

Each year, the teachers and volunteers involved in SEP programs, as well as the SEP staff themselves, design and pilot hundreds of high quality science lessons—lessons that actively engage learners in the processes of science.  These lessons have been captured and shared through SEP’s online lesson plan database, SEP Lessons (—an online resource of high quality, investigative lesson plans to benefit the K-12 science teaching community.  Classroom-tested partnership lessons are reviewed by SEP staff and then published on the free, publicly accessible site.  All lessons in the database can be printed as conveniently formatted lesson plans for classroom use.  In addition, many lessons in the database include attachments of supporting materials such as diagrams, student data sheets, etc., as well as web links and more traditional citations.

Chabot To Open Bill Nye’s Climate Lab on November 20th and 21st

Chabot Space & Science Center will be featuring a new permanent exhibition: Bill Nye’s Climate Lab.  This new exhibition in the science center will feature Emmy-award-winning Bill Nye the Climate Guy® as commander of the Clean Energy Space Station.  In the exhibit, visitors will be doing some hands-on activities to design and implement a mission to help stop climate change on our planet.  Visitors will explore air, water, and land galleries to discover how climate change affects the earth’s interconnected system and how we can use the energy from the sun, wind, land, and water to generate clean energy for our energy needs.

As part of the exhibit, visitors will ride a hot-air balloon and imagine diving into the ocean in an underwater research vessel.  Visitors will learn how scientists uncover our planet’s climate history through samples of ancient ice, trees, and mud.  Bill Nye’s humor and excitement for science education is a perfect match with Chabot’s hopeful, solutions-oriented approach to climate change education.  By focusing on solutions for a healthier planet, rather than focusing on the threats posed by climate change, visitors to this exhibit will take away tools to make smarter choices in their homes, their cars, and their lives.

To join in the opening weekend celebration November 20 and 21, check Chabot’s website, for a schedule of activities.

Expanding Your Horizons in Science & Mathematics(tm)
On Saturday, November 20, 2010 at San Francisco State University (8:30 AM – 2:45 PM), students will once again have the opportunity to attend the Expanding Your Horizons in Science and Mathematics(tm) conferences nurture girls’ interest in science and math courses to encourage them to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math. The mission of this conference is to encourage young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. The San Francisco Expanding Your Horizons Conference (EYH) will provide STEM role models and hands-on activities for middle school girls. Our ultimate goal is to motivate girls to become innovative and creative thinkers ready to meet 21st century challenges. The Keynote Speaker for the event will be Cathy Valentino, Author-in-Residence, Houghton Mifflin Company.

Please go to to get more information and to get students to register for the event!

The Exploratorium to move into new home at Piers 15 and 17 in SF by 2012

The Exploratorium, San Francisco‘s hands-on science museum, is preparing to move from the Marina for its new home along the Embarcadero in San Francisco.  While the museum has received over $90 million to help the move to happen, there is still additional fundraising to be done to get the job done.

While many people lament the move from the Palace of Fine Arts, it is clear that the move will bring the Exploratorium into the future.  The new site will not only be incredibly modern—especially when compared to its current home—but the move will also bring additional programs for local teachers, students, and the public at large.

To learn more about the Exploratorium programs and resources and to plan a visit to the museum while it’s still in the Marina, visit their website at

Excited about the World Series win?  Teach about the Physics of Baseball from our region’s resources

At KQED QUEST’s online site, you can find out about how UC Berkeley science undergraduates were experimenting with force, velocity, and aerodynamics.  Of course, to do their investigations they eschewed the laboratory and took up temporary residence at a baseball diamond.  The QUEST site has a link to the original television story, as well as additional links to teacher resources.  Check it out at:

After checking out the KQED QUEST site, head over to the Exploratorium’s award-winning website on the Science of Baseball.  This site has great links to experiments that you can do with your students, historical articles about baseball, and a variety of other great articles that help you to learn about the science of the game,

Finally, if you want a more personal feel to your baseball science, check out the Physics Teacher SOS site.  One of the major contributors to the site is a HUGE baseball fan—of the SF Giants to be specific—and he has created a variety of baseball themed activities and experiments for his students.  Once you go to the website, contact Paul Robinson about his work with baseball,

The 34th Annual BAEER Fair, with 75 exhibitors and numerous workshops for educators and parents with a special interest in wildlife, ecology, adventure, and much more, will take place on  Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 at the Marin Civic Center in San Rafael, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  Discover the latest in classroom materials, environmental education programs, and field trip sites. Attend workshops introducing conservation and wildlife education, transportation, and fuel use, plus strategies for fostering environmental awareness. General admission to the BAEER Fair is just $12.00; high school students and seniors $10; youth $8; children 6 and under are free. For more information, please call Ken Hanley at (510) 657-4847 or contact Ken via email at kenpacx@yahoo.comRead a personal story about how the BAEER Fair affected one science teacher.

Eric Lewis is high school area science support in the San Francisco Unified School District LEAD office and is CSTA region 2 director.

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.

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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:

Please contact Rosanne Luu at 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.