September/October 2017 – Vol. 30 No. 1

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.

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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.