September 2016 – Vol. 29 No. 1

Region 2, April 2014

Posted: Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

by Eric Lewis

April has arrived, and with it warmer weather and excitement about summer! Of course, we’re lucky to be in this part of our state: not only do we have amazing places to hike, swim and paddle, but we have incredible places to further our passions in science and technology. We’re fortunate to have so many incredible opportunities to further our science knowledge in our local communities. Be sure to take advantage of this month’s total lunar eclipse on April 14th (peak time is 12:45 am) and National Park Week (April 19-27 in a National Park near you!).

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. Make sure that you participate in our upcoming elections; we will be electing many new board members in the coming year (including a new one for Region 2!).

There are many, many science opportunities in the Bay Area. Please visit here to see a year round calendar of events in our area. Some events to remember:

Free Entry Days at:

Bay Area Discovery Museum, First Wednesday of the month

UC Botanical Gardens, First Thursday of the month

Oakland Museum of California, First Sunday of the month

California Academy of Sciences, Quarterly free days: The next is June 1st, 2014

Exploratorium, Free Days, Selected days: May 11th, September 28th, October 12th

Star Parties:

Houge Park Star Party, April 18th, 8:45 pm

Starry Nights Open Space at Rancho Cañada del Oro Open Space Preserve, Morgan Hill: April 19th, 9pm

Super-cool Science Parties:

Night Life, Thursdays, 6-10 pm, at the California Academy of Sciences

After Dark, First Thursday of the month, 6-10 pm, at the Exploratorium

Highlighted Event/s in April:

Seeds of Hope: Wisdom and Wonder from the World of Plants

Friday, 4/4/14, 2:00 PM

Dominican University of CA, Angelico Hall, 50 Acacia Ave, San Rafael

Renowned naturalist and bestselling author Jane Goodall examines the critical role that trees and plants play in our world. In her new book, Goodall blends her experience in nature with her enthusiasm for botany to give readers a deeper understanding of the world around us. Long before her work with chimpanzees, Goodall’s passion for the natural world sprouted in the backyard of her childhood home in England, where she climbed her beech tree and made elderberry wine with her grandmother. The garden her family began then, she continues to enjoy today. “Seeds of Hope” takes us from England to Goodall’s home-away-from-home in Africa, deep inside the Gombe forest, where she and the chimpanzees are enchanted by the fig and plum trees they encounter. She introduces us to botanists around the world, as well as places where hope for plants can be found, such as The Millennium Seed Bank, where one billion seeds are preserved. She shows us the secret world of plants with all their mysteries and potential for healing our bodies as well as Planet Earth. Looking at the world as an adventurer, scientist, and devotee of sustainable foods and gardening – and setting forth simple goals we can all take to protect the plants around us – Jane Goodall delivers an enlightening story of the wonders we can find in our own backyards. Jane Goodall is the world’s foremost authority on chimpanzees and an internationally renowned conservationist. She is the founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and has received many distinguished awards in science. Dr. Goodall is also the author of many acclaimed books, including the bestseller Reason for Hope.

* This event will be facilitated by Gail Hudson. Gail Hudson has worked in the publishing industry as a freelance writer, as well as a newspaper and magazine editor. Her features and personal essays about natural health, spiritual growth, and parenting have appeared in numerous publications, including Self, Utne, Natural Health, Parents, Body & Soul, and Good Housekeeping. For many years Gail was Spirituality Editor at Hudson co-authored this book, along with Goodall’s other works, Harvest for Hope and Hope for Animals and Their World. She teaches classes and workshops on personal narrative and memoir writing. She lives with her husband and two children near Seattle.

Cost: $35 (includes signed book)

You will need to reserve a space in the lecture by clicking here. You can also find the lecture listed on Cal Academy’s Lectures and Workshops site.

Berkeley Bay Festival

Saturday, 4/12/14, 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Berkeley Marina, 201 University Avenue, Berkeley

This wonderful FREE event first happened 77 years ago when the Marina first opened in 1937. The Bay Festival now showcases activities and environmental education that are available here at the Marina and all around the region. Come celebrate the Earth and our Bay by listening to Music, eating wonderful food, and enjoying a day by the Bay. There will be entertainment for all ages.

For more information, visit their website here, or email them directly at NATURECENTER@CITYOFBERKELEY.INFO.

Reengineering Your Science Curriculum – STEM Conference at the Exploratorium

Sunday, 4/13/14, 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Exploratorium, Pier 15, San Francisco

Wondering how to integrate the NGSS for engineering into your middle- or high-school classroom? Join the Exploratorium’s Teacher Institute for this daylong conference, which features hands-on workshops, and activities you can use in the classroom to engage your students and meet the Standards (you’ll leave with handouts of the activities). Lunch and an evening cocktail social at the Exploratorium are included.

Cost: $45 (fee includes lunch).

Click here to register.

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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California Science Assessment Update

Posted: Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

by Jessica Sawko

In June 2016 California submitted a waiver application to discontinue using the old CST (based on 1998 standards) and conduct two years of pilot and field tests (in spring 2017 and 2018, respectively) of the new science assessment designed to support our state’s current science standards (California Next Generation Science Standards (CA-NGSS) adopted in 2013). The waiver was requested because no student scores will be provided as a part of the pilot and field tests. The CDE received a response from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on September 30, 2016, which provides the CDE the opportunity to resubmit a revised waiver request within 60 days. The CDE will be revising the waiver request and resubmitting as ED suggested.

At its October 2016 North/South Assessment meetings CDE confirmed that there will be no administration of the old CST in the spring of 2017. (An archive of the meeting is available at 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.

Some ways to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in your classroom

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

by Carol Peterson

1) To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Google has put together a collection of virtual tours combining 360-degree video, panoramic photos and expert narration. It’s called “The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks” and is accessible right from the browser. You can choose from one of five different locales, including the Kenai Fjords in Alaska and Bryce Canyon in Utah, and get a guided “tour” from a local park ranger. Each one has a few virtual vistas to explore, with documentary-style voiceovers and extra media hidden behind clickable thumbnails. Ideas are included for use in classrooms. 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.

2016 Award Recipients – Join CSTA in Honoring Their Accomplishments

Posted: Thursday, September 22nd, 2016

CSTA is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 CSTA Awards for Distinguished Contributions, Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award, 2014 and 2015 PAEMST-Science recipients from California, and the 2016 California PAEMST Finalists. The following individuals and organizations will be honored during the 2016 California Science Education Conference  on October 21- 23 in Palm Springs. This year’s group of awardees are truly outstanding. Please join us in congratulating them!

Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award

John Keller

John Keller

The Margaret Nicholson Distinguished Service Award honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to science education in the state and who, through years of leadership and service, has truly made a positive impact on the quality of science teaching. This year’s recipient is John Keller, Ph.D. Dr. Keller is Associate Professor, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Co-Director, Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In her letter of recommendation, SDSU science education faculty and former CSTA board member Donna Ross wrote: “He brings people together who share the desire to make a difference in the development and implementation of programs for science teaching. Examples of these projects include the Math and Science Teaching Initiative (MSTI), Noyce Scholars Program, Western Regional Noyce Initiative, and the Science Teacher and Researcher (STAR) program.” Through his work, he has had a dramatic impact on science teacher education, both preservice and in-service, in California, the region, and the country. He developed and implemented the STEM Teacher and Researcher Program which aims to produce excellent K-12 STEM teachers by providing aspiring teachers with opportunities to do authentic research while helping them translate their research experience into classroom practice. SFSU faculty member Larry Horvath said it best in his letter:“John Keller exemplifies the best aspects of a scientist, science educator, and mentor. His contributions to science education in the state of California are varied, significant, and I am sure will continue well into the future.” 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.

NGSS: Making Your Life Easier

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Peter A’hearn

Wait… What?

NGSS is a big shift. Teachers need to learn new content, figure out how this whole engineering thing relates to science, and develop new unit and lesson plans. How could NGSS possibly make life easier?

The idea that NGSS could make our lives easier came to me during the California State NGSS Rollout #1 Classroom Example lesson on chromatography. I have since done this lesson with high school chemistry students and it made me think back to having my own students do chromatography. I spent lots of time preparing to make sure the experiment went well and achieved the “correct” result. I pre-prepared the solutions and organized and prepped the materials. I re-wrote and re-wrote again the procedure so there was no way a kid could get it wrong. I spent 20 minutes before the lab modeling all of the steps in class, so there was no way to do it wrong. Except that it turns out there were many. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the K-12 science specialist in the Palm Springs Unified School District and is Region 4 Director for CSTA.

Celestial Highlights, September 2016

Posted: Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

by Robert C. Victor. Twilight sky maps by Robert D. Miller. Graph of evening planet setting times by Dr. Jeffrey L. Hunt 

Our evening twilight chart for September, depicting the sky about 40 minutes after sunset from SoCal, shows brilliant Venus remaining low, creeping from W to WSW and gaining a little altitude as the month progresses. Its close encounter within 2.5° N of Spica on Sept. 18 is best seen with binoculars to catch the star low in bright twilight. The brightest stars in the evening sky are golden Arcturus descending in the west, and blue-white Vega passing just north of overhead. Look for Altair and Deneb completing the Summer Triangle with Vega. The triangle of Mars-Saturn-Antares expands as Mars seems to hold nearly stationary in SSW as the month progresses, while Saturn and Antares slink off to the SW. 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.