May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Region 2 News and Events

Posted: Saturday, January 1st, 2011

by Eric Lewis

Begin the new year with resolve to get personal and professional development in 2011.  Build your experiences in science education at NSTA’s National Conference on Science Education in San Francisco.  Scheduled for March 10-13, more than 2000 sessions will be offered-hands-on workshops, seminars, and symposia will increase your content knowledge, performance strategies, and techniques in the classroom.  Nationally-known presenters will inspire and inform.  Thousands of your peers will share ideas, experiences, and challenges. Invest in yourself, your career, and your future.  Register before Jan. 14 to save the most.

  • Featured Presentation: Ira Flatow, President and Executive Producer, NPR’s Science Friday
  • Giving Elementary Science Teachers the Confidence, Skills, and Experience to Teach Chemistry. (lesson plans, strategies, and rubrics are the take-away’s.)
  • Shaping Children’s Views of Science by Doing and Knowing About Inquiry. Elementary, (research-based techniques)
  • Linking Assessment to Teaching: Ideas and Evidence. Middle School
  • From Cells to Sea Ice: Analyzing Data from Digital Images. Middle-High
  • Developing Literacy and Addressing Content Standards Through Issue-oriented Science. Middle-High
  • Variation, Selection, and Time. (Natural selection) Middle-High
  • Hands-On Learning Activities for AP Biology. High School
  • NASA Brings You Newton’s Laws of Motion. 20 hands-on investigations. Middle-High
  • Featured Presentation: Deeply Digital Science Teaching, Chad Dorsey, Pres, CEO, The Concord Consortium
  • Featured Presentation: Dr. Art’s Planet Earth Show. Art Sussman, Sr Project Director, WestEd
  • Exhibit Hall-test and try the most cutting edge products from companies across the nation. Bring an extra tote for giveaways.
  • Field trips (ticketed) for real discovery. USS Pampanito, Lawrence Hall of Science, the Match Science Nucleus, Wes Gordon Fossil Hall, the Tech Museum, RAFT, and more.

sciencepalooza! Judges Needed

You are cordially invited to be a judge at the 12th annual sciencepalooza! to be held on Saturday, March 5, 2011 in San Jose.  Judges arrive by 8:30 am and can be done by 11:30 am.  As before, the event will be held at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, just off Highway 101 in San Jose.  Breakfast is provided and parking is free for judges.  sciencepalooza! has grown to become one of the largest competitive science fairs in California.  Please make a difference, donate a Saturday morning and register at the Synopsys Outreach Foundation website via this link:

January 22, 2011, Oakland, CA
Bay Nature’s 10th Anniversary “Nature at Home” Gala

Great local food, wine, and beer, followed by inspiring presentations from Bay Nature cofounder Malcolm Margolin, poet Robert Hass, naturalist/performer Claire Peaslee, artist/naturalist Jack Laws, and musicians Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum. Doug McConnell of Bay Area Backroads and OpenRoad TV will be the MC. Now is the time to get your ticket; they won’t be sold after January 17 or at the door. Event tickets are $100 per person, and proceeds benefit the Bay Nature 10th Anniversary Fund. Pre-registration can be found here:

January 22, 2011, San Rafael, CA
34th Annual Bay Area Environmental Education Resource (BAEER) Fair

Discover the latest in classroom materials, environmental education programs, and field trip sites. Attend workshops introducing conservation and wildlife education, transportation & fuel use, plus strategies for fostering environmental awareness. General admission to the BAEER Fair is $12, high school students and seniors $10, youth $8, and children 6 and under are free. At the Marin Civic Center from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Contact Ken Hanley at or 510-657-4847 for more information.

February 7-9, 2011, San Francisco, CA
Assessing for Learning

Offered by the Exploratorium Institute for Inquiry. For a detailed workshop brochure, visit For questions, call 415-561-0397.

Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association’s Teacher Workshop Series

These free workshops are fantastic professional development and are a great way to access programs for students; teachers who come to the January and/or March programs would then be able to have their students (middle school, high school, and college) participate in LiMPETS (Long-term Monitoring Program and Experiential Training for Students)

LiMPETS Introduction to Rocky Intertidal Monitoring

Saturday, January 29, 9:00 am 3:00 pm, Half Moon Bay and Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, San Mateo County

Participate in this in-depth science education program for students.  Participants receive the new five-unit LiMPETS curriculum, learn to correctly identify algae and invertebrates, and practice the monitoring methods used in the field.

LiMPETS Introduction to Sandy Beach Monitoring

Saturday, March 26, 8:30 am 2:30 pm, Sanctuary Office and Crissy Field Beach, San Francisco

Get involved in this exciting science education program for students.  Participants receive the new five-unit LiMPETS curriculum and are trained to survey the distribution and abundance of the Pacific mole crab (Emerita analoga) at one of many monitoring sites along the coast.

Advanced LiMPETS: Data Analysis Activities for the Classroom

Saturday, April 16, 9:00 am 1:00 pm, Sanctuary Office, The Presidio, San Francisco

LiMPETS teachers, learn about our NEW online tools and data analysis activities.  Participants will receive curriculum and practice classroom activities designed to help your students interpret data and look for patterns and changes over time.

Teachers/educators MUST register beforehand.  The online registration can be found at:

Get students excited about electricity and magnetism with PEAK

Learn how to make the science of energy more engaging.  Teach students how to become eco-conscious energy users.  PEAK Student Energy Actions is a comprehensive standards-based curriculum for 3rd-7th grade students.

Benefits of PEAK include teacher training and ongoing support, an easy-to-follow guidebook with hands-on activities, a toolkit with everything that teachers need to teach the science labs, fun, interactive software and easy-to-use online resources, and visits from PEAK’s energy-saving superhero, Bulbman.

Best of all, PEAK is provided at no cost to schools in the San Francisco Bay Area.  All teachers need to do is to attend one of our daylong Teacher Trainings (PEAK will even pay a $100 stipend or reimburse for your substitute teacher).

Upcoming PEAK Teacher Orientation and Trainings:

• Tuesday, January 25 in San Francisco

• Thursday, February 17th in Oakland

• Your chosen date at your school (Contact PEAK now to register or for more information.)

Trainings usually take place from 9 am – 3 pm and include a catered lunch.

Please RSVP one week prior to reserve your spot.  Email Elise Noland:, or call: (510) 444-5060 ext. 11.  Visit PEAK online at

Exciting Programs Available from The Marine Mammal Center

You may have heard about the Bay Area treasure located in the Marin Headlands near Rodeo Beach—the Marine Mammal Center.  It has grown and transformed into a world-class rehabilitation hospital, research and educational center.  Since 1980, tens of thousands of Marin school children have enjoyed their programs.  The new facility and specially designed programs (that correlate to California state science standards) offer students a unique educational opportunity to learn and become inspired by marine mammals and the ocean.  Reservations for the entire 2010/2011 school year are now being taken for all programs. You are invited to participate in the following educational opportunities:

mammal center

Tours and Classroom Programs at The Marine Mammal Center: Bring your class to the Center.  New interactive programs in the marine science classroom include unique themes and activities, including specimen touch, for different grade levels.  Guided tours allow students to view seal and sea lion patients, watch volunteer animal care crews in action, look at exhibits, and hear stories about current patients.  Combine both a tour and program for a complete experience (two hours) and receive a discount on each.

The Whale Bus at Your School: If you can’t bring your group to the Marine Mammal Center, then the Whale Bus van can come to your school!  The Whale Bus brings exciting programs about local marine mammals and real specimens such as bones, pelts, and baleen that transform your classroom into a marine mammal museum.  Up to four presentations can be taught in one day—the more we do, the lower the cost per presentation.Whale bus

Sea Lions in the City (at Pier 39 in San Francisco): Bring your students to observe California sea lions up close in the wild at Pier 39 in San Francisco.  A Center educator will meet your class and guide their observations.  Students learn about sea lion natural history, behavior, and conservation.  This one-hour program includes exploration with seal and sea lion pelts.

Please check out the “Education” section of the website for The Marine Mammal Center:, for a reservation form and more detailed information. You may also contact them by phone:  (415)289-7330, or email:

Eris 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.

Leave a Reply


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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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…

Powered By DT Author Box

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.