May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 2 June Events

Posted: Thursday, June 4th, 2015

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

Super-cool Science Parties and lectures:

Nerd Nite East Bay, Last Monday of the month

Nerd Nite San Francisco, Third Wednesday of the month

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

Café Inquiry, Firth Thursday of the month, 6pm, at Café Borrone, Menlo Park

Action for California Condors

Wednesday, 06/03/15 6:30 PM Oakland Zoo

For more than 20 years, and through joint efforts, Ventana has lead the way to save the California Condor from extinction by treating them for lead poisoning caused by ingesting food shot by lead-based ammunition. Oakland Zoo is now one of only a few zoos that partner with the California Condor Recovery Program to medically treat wild condors. Come learn how Ventana Wildlife Society and Oakland Zoo take action to help.

For more information: http://www.oaklandzoo.org/Lectures.php

Solar Eclipse Chasing and Astronomical Tourism

Friday, 6/05/15 8:00 PM College of San Mateo

Solar eclipses have been observed by humans for thousands of years and have been recorded in the archives of the ancient Egyptians, Babylonians, and Chinese going back 4000 to 4500 years ago.  Precise predictions of their occurrences in space and time only date from the 19th Century when the dimensions and dynamics of the solar system became well characterized.  Once precise prediction was proven to work, people began making expeditions to observe eclipses.

For more information: http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=14547

SkeptiCal

Saturday, 6/06/15 8:30 AM – 06:00 PM Asian Cultural Center

SkeptiCal is the Northern California conference of science and skepticism, a day-long event with speakers, panels, and discussions on a wide array of subjects.

For more information: http://www.skepticalcon.com/

Hayward Fault Walking Tour

Saturday, 6/06/15 9:30 AM – 11:00 AM Tule Ponds at Tyson Lagoon

Over the last million years, the natural beauty of Fremont has been shaped by the Hayward Fault. Instructors will be leading these ‘ground breaking’ tours and exposing the science and beauty of the Hayward Fault. This fault is one of several active faults in the world actually creeping at 5 mm/year. The tour will take place at Central Park (Lake Elizabeth) and explores dramatic faulting effects in both natural and urban environments. Even view the floor of a building that reveals dramatic evidence of this fault activity. (Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult)

For more information: http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=14322

June LASER Event – Stanford

Thursday, 06/11/15 7:00 PM – 9:30 PM LASER Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous

The LASERs are a national program of evening gatherings that bring artists and scientists together for informal presentations and conversation with an audience. See the program for the whole series. The event is free and open to everybody. Email me if you want to be added to the mailing list for the LASERs. Like previous evenings, the agenda includes some presentations of art/science projects, news from the audience, and time for casual socializing/networking.

For more information: http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=15023 or http://www.scaruffi.com/leonardo/jun2015.html

5th annual, Green Kids Conference

Saturday, 6/13/15 10:30 AM – 03:30 PM

This is a conference dedicated to children ages 5 to 18 years. Come with your family and friends, explore your passion, and be inspired to take action! Come prepared to learn and have fun; there are lots of hands-on-activities and information that is sure to keep adults and kids of all ages curious and interested.

For more information: http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=14540

Maker Saturdays

Saturday, 6/20/15 and 6/27/15 12:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Join us for our Summer Maker Series.  Come make, share and learn with hands-on activities. Bring your creativity and ideas, we’ll supply enough projects to keep you busy making things all summer. This free, family-friendly series for all ages is hosted by Bon Air Center and Marin Maker Mobile.

For more information: http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=15059

The Top Tourist Sights of the Solar System: Where Bill Gates’ Great-Granddaughter Will Go on Her Honeymoon

Saturday, 06/20/15 8:30pm Mountain Theater, Mill Valley

Using spectacular images from space probes and the world’s largest telescopes, explore the most intriguing future “tourist destinations” among the planets and moons in our cosmic neighborhood.  Among our stops will be the 4,000-mile lava channel on Venus, the towering Mount Olympus volcano on Mars, the awesome Verona Cliffs on the moon Miranda (,the tallest “lover’s leap” in the solar system), and the recently discovered steam geysers on Saturn’s intriguing moon Enceladus.

For more information: http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=14764

How to Clone a Mammoth–The Science of De-Extinction

Thursday, 6/25/15 6pm Commonwealth Club

Could extinct species, like mammoths and passenger pigeons, be brought back to life? The science says yes. Beth Shapiro, evolutionary biologist and pioneer in “ancient DNA” research, will discuss the astonishing and controversial process of de-extinction. From deciding which species should be restored, to sequencing their genomes, to anticipating how revived populations might be overseen in the wild, Shapiro explores the extraordinary cutting-edge science that is being used to resurrect the past. Journeying to far-flung Siberian locales in search of ice age bones and delving into her own research – as well as those of fellow experts such as Svante Paabo, George Church and Craig Venter – Shapiro considers de-extinction’s practical benefits and ethical challenges. Would de-extinction change the way we live? Is this really cloning? What are the costs and risks? And what is the ultimate goal? Shapiro’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Nature and Science, and she is a 2009 recipient of a MacArthur Award

For more information: http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2015-06-25/how-clone-mammoth-%E2%80%93-science-de-extinction

The Buzz about Bees

Saturday, 6/27/15 1:00pm Common Ground Grow Biointensive Garden, Palo Alto

From the White House to our local communities, there is a growing concern for the health and well-being of our honey bee populations, which pollinate one-third of the crops we depend on. Learn tips and techniques that will help you transform your garden into a safe oasis for honeybees, native bees, birds and other pollinators.

For more information: http://www.bayareascience.org/calendar/index.php?eID=14736

Written by Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco

Minda Berbeco is the Programs and Policy Director at the National Center for Science Education and is CSTA’s Region 2 Director.

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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.