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.

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or

New Information Now Available On-line:

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.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 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.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. 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 California NGSS k-8 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.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy:

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.