September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

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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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.